A birthday party centred on an activity like painting, cooking or construction can be a wonderful way to celebrate your child and what they love. This type of party requires thoughtful preparation, but you can usually pull it off in a more personalised way and for a smaller cost than the packaged activity parties you can buy.
It’s hard to predict exactly what your guests will enjoy. Sometimes the activities you think will engage the children for half an hour, only last five minutes. Be prepared for this and go with the flow on the day. Let the children set the pace.
Some good back-up activities are classic party games like running races, musical chairs, statues or favourites you can have ready but don’t require a lot of preparation. Setting out your toys in an attractive way can be all that is required as additional fun.
Sometimes it’s necessary to let your guests expend a whole lot of energy before you ask them to sit quietly and work on something, so be prepared. Think about the different ages you will have, and their concentration spans and interests. Smaller children are happy on a rug with a bucket of new toys, or a sandpit to explore.
Try and walk through all the steps of the creative process, from how best to set up the work stations, what tools and supplies they will need, how your guests will stay clean and dry during the process, how the creations will dry (or cool down, if cooking) safely, how your guests will transport their creations home and how you will pack up the area quickly and easily on the day.
Violet’s painting party
Violet asked for a ‘painting party’ for her third birthday and we decided it would be best to do this at home where noise, mess and running around were all options if guests tired of the painting. We went with bright rainbow colours and designed simple rainbow striped name tags, bottle tags, take home tags etc. using Microsoft Word and printed on A4 stickers at a local print shop.
We scoured $2 shops and The Warehouse for the best-priced items we needed like painting shirts and paint. Each child had a small canvas to paint, as well as the first letter of their name (made from MDF). Josh made stamps of the children’s names with PVA glue and off-cuts of wood and we provided paper, shells and wood to paint as well. We had a dedicated clean up area outside, a drying area inside away from everyone, a bucket for used painting shirts and paper bags for each child to take home their creations once dry. The day worked really well but we were certainly grateful for our sandpit and the other activities we had planned for the children.