There are a wealth of parties for children available out there these days, with lots of different themes. So I thought I’d take a look this week at parties with an art theme, or ‘arty parties’. There are a number of suppliers out who will create a party of this kind for you, but often they’re quite expensive. However if you have the space to do it, a garden you could use, or a hall you can hire, you can do it yourself much more cheaply. Generally, this kind of party is probably best for small numbers of children, perhaps up to about 10 – there’s nothing to stop you having more, but from my own experience of running workshops etc. it’s a lot easier with larger groups if you have lots of adult helpers on hand. Meticulous preparation also becomes essential, and this is where professional providers are perhaps worth having. You can get the birthday child involved in advance of the party by designing and producing their own invitations, and by choosing activities and themes. Anyway, if you do fancy having a go at your own, here are just a few ideas for activities you might try:
Decorating a Castle/Wendy House – with this idea, the birthday child’s friends get to help decorate a cardboard castle/princess castle playhouse or wendy house for them. These are available in kit form white or brown cardboard in different sizes, and provide a great activity for smaller parties. Of course you don’t just have to use these for parties with an art theme, they’re also good for princess and knight themed parties too. I’ve added a few different kinds to the Artful Adventures Store as I think they’re a brilliant idea if you have the space for them.
Decorate your own T-shirt/bag/mug etc. - with this idea, each child gets to take something away with them. All you need is several packs of cheap white T-shirts or other plain item, and a few packs of the special crayons or pens. The image can be fixed easily later at home, using a domestic iron. Of course there are a whole wealth of suppliers who will supply kits in bulk for all kinds of art and craft activities, with items that can be decorated, from mugs and plates, to hats and bags. Or why not try using shrink plastic to make some badges or key rings, as described here in one of my earlier projects?
Create a Canvas – with this idea, rather like that of the castle, the birthday child gets to keep a lasting momento of their friends, and their party which they can put on the wall. I came across this idea over at Maternal Tales from the South Coast last year. It was created with 1 canvas, 5 paints, 11 children, 1 paintbrush and lots of wipes,and take home .
Instead of, or in addition to working on their own individual projects, children could also work together to create a Mural – the birthday child can decide in advance upon a theme for the picture. You can go as big as you like with this idea, depending upon the size of your group and what you want to do with the finished artwork – either use a large white flat bedsheet, a roll of banner paper, several larger sheets stuck together, or simply supply a roll of wallpaper and some felt pens for each child to draw with. For older children, if you want to get really messy (and this is something you could probably do in the garden on a lovely sunny day, wearing old clothes, and using washable paints) you could fling the paint around a bit more, and produce your own ‘graffiti’ or Jackson Pollock style art.
A cross between the ‘individual’ artwork and the mural, is this idea for a patchwork mural where the individual pieces each child creates can be tied together at the corners to create a large hanging. This is just one of a whole range of craft ideas they have available at Yellow Moon, which are great for parties, and can also be purchased in bulk, offering savings in cost and making it really easy to provide arty activities for groups. I also like the crown templates they supply, that are designed for customising with felt-tips, stuck on ‘jewels’, feathers and stickers. Or, for variety, the black ‘scratch art’ versions. Though of course there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from making your own from sheets of card, or even newspaper. This is also an activity that would tie in particularly well with decorating one of the cardboard castles. The website also offers tips for organising and hosting a successful art & craft party.
For additional fun, you might even add a few traditional party games to the mix, giving them an arty twist such as an irreverent ‘pin the moustache on the Mona Lisa’, or an art themed treasure hunt. You could even dig out the old games of Pictionary
or Rapidough, both of which will provide some creative entertainment.
These are just a few suggestions, but there are lots of other potential ideas. How about you? Does anyone elseout there have any experience of great arty party activities?