Arts & Crafts

Girl Painting

Arts & Crafts are popular with children, provide a quiet break from boisterous party games and can even serve as party favors. Arts & Crafts projects for a party should be relatively easy for guests to complete on their own or with a little adult guidance. Depending on the party environment you may need to avoid messy projects that involve paint, glue or glitter.

Arts & Crafts appeal to a wide range of ages and can be customized to your party theme. Guests can paint tea cups at a Tea Party or make play dough sea creatures at an Under-the-Sea Party. If your child is a budding artist, an Art Party would be a fun and creative celebration.

If your party is before a holiday, consider a craft related to the holiday. For example, guests could decorate small pumpkins with markers and stickers at an October birthday party and then take the pumpkins home as party favors to decorate their rooms for Halloween.

Below are fun and easy Arts & Crafts ideas for children’s parties:

Provide beads and cords for necklaces and bracelets. Buy large beads and sturdy non-fraying cord for younger children. Smaller beads, strings, and needles are fine for older children.

Birthday Cards & Banners
Provide a large white piece of paper or poster board and have children add their names and artwork for a personalized birthday banner or giant birthday card.

Provide heavy weight paper cut into rectangles (approx. 2 inch wide by 6-8 inches tall). Provide stickers and ink markers for decorations. If desired, punch a hole at one end and provide ribbons to be looped through the hole.

Cards & Stationary
Provide paper, stickers, pens, and markers. If desired provide glue and variety of small objects, such as buttons, beads, rhinestones, fabric scraps, and lace to be glued on the cards.

Buy unfinished small ceramic, plaster, wooden or plastic objects and the recommended paint for the surface.

Christmas Ornaments
Provide a variety of colored felt, pompoms, wiggle eyes, pipe cleaners, and ribbons. Don’t forget the glue and scissors. Designs cut from old greeting cards can be decorated with glitter for simple and pretty ornaments. Paint pinecones white or gold and then glue white or clear glitter on tips for a snow frosted look.

Clay Modeling
Provide soft play dough, rolling pins, and plastic cookie cutters for younger children. Provide modeling clay and tools for older children. Some clays can be baked in the oven to form hard (permanent) shapes.

Have children cut and bake shaped sugar cookies or pre-make cookies ahead of time. Provide colored icing, sprinkles and small candies (red hots, M&Ms, etc.) for decorating.

Provide a variety of paper, fabric scraps, lace, ribbons and small objects (beads, rhinestones, buttons, old keys, hardware pieces, etc.). Pictures from popular magazines can also use to make interesting collages. Don’t forget the glue and scissors.

Just cut pages from a coloring book and provide boxes of crayons. There’s also lots of free, printable coloring pages on the web and some fun coloring kits available for purchase. Go to and search for coloring pages related to your party theme (dinosaur coloring pages, teddy bear coloring pages, alien color pages, etc.)

Pre-make cupcakes, but don’t decorate. Provide colored icing, sprinkles and small candies (red hots, M&Ms, etc.) for decorating.

Door Hangers
Cut a door hanger shape (similar to the do not disturb signs at hotels) from poster board or other heavy paper. Provide stickers, markers, glitter pens and other supplies for children to decorate their door hanger.

Provide paper, pens, pencils and markers. Encourage children to draw something that ties in with the party theme and use their drawings to decorate the party area.

Face Painting
Allow children to paint (special skin-safe body paints) or tattoo themselves or each other. Body glitters and henna tattoo kits are fun for older children.

Favor Bags
Provide solid color paper bags and a variety of stickers and markers for children to decorate with. Remind children to write their names on their bag. Provide larger size bags if children will have lots of stuff to take home with them.

Photo Frames
Decorate inexpensive picture frames with stickers, beads, coins, etc.

Cut large eye holes in a paper plate or sturdy piece of paper and tie ribbons or elastic cord to each side (to hold mask on child). Provide precut animal or funny human shaped noses, eyelashes, ears, and mouths for younger children to attach to their mask. Provide paper, markers and scissors for older children to make their own designs. Masks can tie in with the party theme, such as animal masks for a Jungle Safari Party or alien masks for a Space Party.

Murals & Graffiti
Post large pieces of paper on a fence and have children decorate the paper with markers or paints. Colored chalk can be used for sidewalk or driveway murals.

Japanese paper folding. Look for kit with paper and directions in craft store.

Provide paper and washable paints for younger children. Coloring books with the paint printed on the page work well for really young children (they simply paint over the design with a paintbrush dipped in water). Provide paper or small canvases and “real” paints for older children.

Paper Airplanes
Look for “advanced” paper airplane kits at hobby or toy stores.

Paper Dolls
Look for inexpensive paper doll kits at toy or craft stores or make your own paper dolls and clothes on heavy weight white paper and have children color dolls to look like them.

Paper Hats
Use paper plates (cut center out for a summer bonnet) or regular party hats and add provide stickers, ribbons, and flowers for decorations.

Pipe Cleaner Shapes
Provide a variety of colored pipe cleaners, beads, and wiggle eyes and encourage children to design a creature or object that ties in with the party theme (bunnies for an Easter Party or monsters for a Halloween Party).

Provide small-to-medium sized pumpkins, markers and stickers for younger children to decorate a pumpkin. Older children can actually carve their pumpkins using special pumpkin carving knives (safer than regular knives) and fancy stencils.

Buy blank puzzles from a craft store and have children make a design on one or both sides. Or have children draw on heavy weight paper and then cut the paper into puzzle piece shapes. Provide plastic sandwich bags for children to take puzzle pieces home in.

Provide potpourri, netting or lace squares, and ribbons. Children scoop potpourri in to center of lace and then tie-up with ribbon.

Sand Painting
Buy colored sand from craft store and allow children to layer the sand in small glass bottles (baby food jars work fine). Poking a stick through the layers can add interesting designs. The secret to a long lasting sand painting is to fill the jar or bottle to the VERY top before closing. Children can also sand paint on paper. Paint with thinned glue (add water to some regular white glue) then sprinkle different colored sands over the paper.

Scratch Art
Buy special “scratch” paper at craft or toy store. Children use wooden stick (provided with paper) to scratch a design in black surface to reveal multi color or glittery surface underneath.

Shrinky Dink
Buy “shrinky dink” plastic at craft or toy stores. Provide ink markers for children to draw a design on plastic and scissors to trim plastic into shapes. Follow instructions to bake plastic so that it shrinks to a hard permanent shape (for key chains, necklace charms, etc.)

Snow Globes
Buy unfilled plastic snow globes at your local craft store or use baby food jars. Glue objects (plastic houses, snow men, animals, etc.) to the lid with waterproof glue. Add water and a teaspoon of glitter to each jar. Seal tightly, turn over and shake.

Spin Art
Buy an inexpensive spin art kit (under $20) for use at many parties. Heavy weight paper (cut to size) and poster paints (poured into original squirt bottles) make fine refills.

T-Shirt Prints
Buy white, cotton T-shirts at a craft or discount store. Provide fabric paints, fabric markers, stencils and sponges for children to decorate shirts. Send a note with any special “care” instructions, such as wash inside out, home with parents.

Tie Dye
Buy white, cotton T-shirts at a craft or discount store. Show children how to twist and tie (using fabric scraps or large rubber bands) shirt to make interesting designs when dipped in fabric dye.