Father Of The Blog

A Journey Through Fatherhood and Parenting

Father of the Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Crafts’

Ideas and Hosting an Arts and Crafts Party

Getting Crafty at Birthday Parties

Second born Hailey recently turned seven and attempting to follow in the footsteps of what her older sister had just done, originally she asked to have a Sleep-over party. Kim and I were quick to block her intent on this. Our argument was that only half the kids her age would be able to spend the night, which was an educated guess at best, but plausible enough for Hailey to switch themes to a Birthday Craft Party.

She wanted to do at least three arts and crafts projects and we brainstormed together. Since Halloween was just around the corner Hailey suggested pumpkin carvings. An ambitious project for a dozen seven year-olds, I scaled it back to mini pumpkin paintings. Thinking inexpensive, I suggested decorating wooden picture frames and then printing a party-pic from our inkjet during the celebration to insert in each deco frame. Hailey liked that idea. For the third project I thought tie dye shoe laces would be fun and easy but Hailey wisely noted that only one friend wears shoes with laces. Kim chimed in with tie dye socks which was perfect being that Silly Sock Day was the following week at the elementary school. Hailey also wanted to do pizza and a scavenger hunt. Kim and I agreed to these plans as well. We decided three hours would be just enough time to get it all in.

A week before the party I stopped at the craft store to purchase all the supplies. We needed quite a bit. Three packs of paint brushes at one dollar a pack. And six big bottles of tempura paint, (two white, two black and two purple) at two dollars a bottle. That was all we needed for the tiny pumpkin paintings. I also bought sixteen wooden frames, (a few extra for future projects) at one dollar a piece. A fresh pack of 50 markers for ten dollars. A jumbo canister of multi-color, multi-pattern foamy letter stickers for five dollars and a small pack of foamy glitter heart shaped stickers for one dollar. All for the deco picture frames. I stumbled upon a tie dye kit that had everything we needed; six different color dyes, rubber-bands, gloves, tarp, six squeeze bottles and instructions. The kit was $40 but I had a 40% off coupon.

Kim picked up a couple six-packs of inexpensive white socks for the tie-dye project and a rock and roll guitar themed cupcake-cake that Hailey had picked out from Walmart. The mini pumpkins came from local supermarket. Three giant pizzas from Sam’s Club.  Everything combined we spent $150ish. Not too bad.

A few hours prior to the celebration, I had setup two folding tables in our living room to serve as a work area and Kim draped trash bags over them. An hour before the party began I scattered all the new craft supplies throughout the house, inside and out leaving a clue on each as to where to find the next set of supplies. The party attendees were held responsible for finding all craft supplies or there would be no art projects. Everyone had fun playing detective.

Once all the supplies were rounded up we started the first project; pumpkin paintings. There was just enough workspace and plenty of paint and brushes. A make-shift drying area was setup on the front porch. After everyone had finished painting. Kim and I quickly cleaned up and prepared the second project while the party moved into the backyard for crazy play.

Next we did tie dye socks. I preformed a quick demonstration for all the little people; twisting, folding and rubber-banding the socks. I had to assist a few of the girls with this part of the project and because of the permanency of the dye, I ended up applying the colors on each pair of socks and zip-locking the finished product. For the parents; I printed then highlighted the dye setting time and washing instructions. The socks turned out fabulously, Hailey proudly wears hers every other day.

Kim and I did a quick cleanup of the tie dye project, then tossed a big salad and prepared 3 huge cheese pizzas for consumption, ok so all we did was remove them from freezer, un-box and place ‘em in preheated oven. The pizzas warmed up while the girls completed the third project; decorating unfinished 5×7 wooden picture frames with markers and foamy stickers and before the little partiers later departed I slipped a photo in the frame as a keepsake.

Hailey Party 2011

A Few Party Girls

Right after the feeding frenzy there was just enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” and devoured the cupcake-cake. We managed to squeeze it all in under three hours. As the children’s parents popped in for pickup we bagged up all the projects as party-favors recieving many thanks and complements on a great idea for Hailey’s birthday. While sweeping up the last of the foamy sticker scrap peelings from the floor and stored-away the folding tables, Kim and I congratulated ourselves for another smooth, disaster free party.

No Strings Attached

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 04/01/07 

Three months straight, Olivia repetitiously pleaded for a pair of her own scissors. Having tons of practice cutting at preschool and various activity centers she was definitely ready. But there was one little problem, Kim and I were concerned that Hailey’s lack of sheering dexterity combined with her strong determined nature could be a dangerous combination. At what point do you sacrifice the learning experience of an older child while protecting the younger sibling from possible physical harm or mental anguish? We figured that close supervision would be the key, so Kim bought two identical training scissors and surprised the girls.

For the past few months Olivia has been methodically producing new and exciting artwork. She has evolved into a multi-media genius. Experimenting with papers, ribbons, string, yarn, cloth, anything clipable, also playing with several different tacking mediums, glue stick, tape, glitter glue, paints, hot glue gun (with my assistance), skillfully layering objects upon object. Her insatiable desire to create supersedes my own and I have a fine arts degree.

As predicted, Hailey was frustrated from the first cut. She had trouble holding the scissors. Her thumb ending up loosely in the big hole, her fingers crammed into the little hole, palms too small to open the scissors all the way and instead of trimming she’d end up tearing. Forget about explaining the correct way of holding and snipping to my independent thinker/doer, any assistance from me or Kim was (is) strictly prohibited. A few weeks of trial and error ensued and eventually she was able to make a few clean cuts. I was proud of her cut-above achievement and congratulated her, “You did it! Good job sweetie!” with high-fives, opposite her hand holding the scissors, obviously.

After a couple months of storing the scissors on a high shelf in Olivia’s closet we decided it was ok to keep them in the accessible-anytime craft box. This wasn’t a noticeable problem until Olivia’s slashing experimentation expanded from the limitation of her craft table or easel to any object she deemed detachable. I have caught her trimming the yarn-like hair from her groovy girl doll, by explanation, needed the hair out of her eyes. I also have found many of her little two-piece doll-house toys freed from the strings that hold them together, for instance, a miniature nightstand with half a string and a missing tiny hair brush or a bathtub figurine now minus a tiny washcloth. Also the doodle etch a sketch toy is now missing the etching pen. An alphabet caterpillar (I think that’s what it is) pull-along toy needed string repair. A wear around your neck toy drum is no longer wearable. On day she diligently chopped-up half of a fat neon green skein of yarn into tiny pieces, she was making grass. Do I ever stop her from what some may think is destruction? No. I say things like “I love your lawn, you manicured it so nicely.”

Am I negligent in teaching her what is right and wrong or am I allowing creative freedoms? All the lost or detached toys are irrelevant why not let her learn about the value of her possessions though making a few inconsequential mistakes. Until she finds my shoe laces or worse, my skates, I won’t keep her tied down. If I did, she’d probably cut herself free anyway.