My Story: Children's Art Birthday Party

contributed by Lorraine

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When my daughter was in elementary school, we didn't have a lot of money to spend on the popular party spots, which then typically cost $11 plus per guest with a minimum of 10 kids. So, I put on the parties. One year we had an Art Party for about 12 guests. Invitations were hand-decorated artists palettes on construction paper. I covered tables with newspaper or plastic and set up stations in the basement with materials, many of which I already had a supply of at home. There was a table with paper, paint, crayons, brushes and cups of water. There was a table with dough made from flour, salt and water and tools like cookie cutters, rolling pins, plastic knives and paper plates to dry on. There was a table with odds and ends like yarn, fabric, construction paper, magazines, scissors and glue. You could have any number of stations and materials. The rotations lasted about 20-30 minutes. The art was signed and cards were made for each piece identifying the artist and title of the piece.

While the pieces had a chance to dry a bit, we went upstairs and decorated homemade, pre-frosted cupcakes with tubes of frosting and assorted edible decor and then had the food part of the party with ice cream and a beverage. Then the children placed their masterpieces on wardrobe boxes we had saved from a move, but you could use any tall boxes. Pictures were hung with pushpins on the box sides along with the name card. Sculptures were placed on top with the name card propped up against it. When it was time for the guest artists to be picked up, parents visited the Art Gallery, had refreshments of juice and cookies and "shopped" for their children's masterpieces. The Art Gallery concept was detailed on the invitation and parents were reminded when dropping off so they would be sure to have some time to spend there.

Goodie bags consisted of brown lunch bags with a "Thank-you for sharing my birthday with me" note pre-written on it by my daughter and filled with inexpensive paintbrushes, watercolors, crayons and some candy. The party was a huge hit with her guests and their parents.

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