Recently, Leah, one of my hooligan grads, turned 8 years old. She had asked her mom and dad if she could have an “Amazing Race” birthday party to celebrate her big day.
What’s an amazing race birthday party, you ask? Well, I’ll explain all of that in a future post, but today, I’m telling you about the role that I played in this one.
About a month before her birthday, Leah’s parents dropped me a line, and asked me if I’d be interesting in participating in this awesome party that they were plotting and planning.
By “participating”, they meant; could my house be one of the stops on their Amazing Race route?
I was completely honoured to be included in Leah’s big day, and really excited to learn what this “amazing race” party would be all about.
Like many girls her age, Leah loves crafts, and because many of her early days were spent crafting and creating here in my daycare, her parents asked simply if the stop-off at my house could include a creative activity of some sort.
They didn’t have any particular expectations in mind, and left the planning up to me. All they asked was that the girls be able to make something that they could take home with them.
They said that 9 girls would be stopping by my place: Leah and several of her 8 and 9 year old friends, and also two 5 year olds: Leah’s younger sister Sophie and a friend.
I had about a few weeks to think up my activity, and I tell ya, I must’ve come up with a dozen different craft ideas during that time. I wanted things to be very open-ended so the girls wouldn’t have to follow any detailed instructions while they were crafting, and so I finally decided to go with a tween art party activity.
One trip to the dollar store was all it took to get the canvases and a few odds and ends for the art party. The rest of the supplies came from the drawers and cupboards in my craft room.
What I love about an open-ended art activity like this is that you can use whatever supplies and mediums you want. I’m going to show you what we used, and how I set the craft area up. If you’re hosting an art party of your own, you can just use my list as inspiration to get you thinking.
Supplies for our tween art party:
For your convenience, I’ve provided affiliate links for some of the products.
- one art canvas for each child
- low heat glue guns (we had three plugged in)
- acrylic craft paints
- ice cube trays (to hold the paints)
- painter’s tape (in case anyone wants to do tape-resist art)
- paint brushes & rinse water
- colourful buttons,
- craft flowers(stems cut off)
- plastic craft gems
- decorative puffy stars and flowers
- bowl of cold water (in case of glue gun mishaps)
- school glue
Setting up the art area:
I set up 3 work tables (3 girls would be at each table), and a central bench which held the over-flow of supplies.
Your “tables” don’t have to be actual tables. I used an old trunk, a couple of coffee tables, and a bench. Just be sure to cover them with a drop cloths, sheets or plastic table cloths to protect them.
On each work table, I placed 3 canvases, a variety of brushes, a jar of water to rinse brushes in, an old towel or wash cloth to wipe brushes on, glue sticks, bottles of glue, and an ice cube tray filled with a variety of paint colours.
On the centre bench, I placed the glue guns (I had extension cords running to them), the artificial flowers, buttons, gems, painter’s tape etc.
Let the fun begin!
The girls began with the paint of course, and they could easily walk back and forth, from their work stations to the central table to get decorations and glue guns when they needed them.
I kept the paint bottles and a jug of water near-by to refill the ice cube trays and the rinse jars as needed.
It was so fun watching the girls as they created. Everyone had their own style, and expressed themselves uniquely on their canvases. It became obvious very quickly that no two pieces would be a like.
We had a self-portrait, a haunted house, flowers, name-art, bold blocks of colour and some beautiful, abstract pieces.
When they were finished creating, I took a picture of each artist holding her masterpiece.
Aren’t they beautiful?
That’s the birthday girl front and centre, and her younger sister to the left.
I love that each piece is “one-of-a-kind” and a true reflection of what the artist was feeling at the time that she created it.
Doesn’t the flower painting in the middle if this next shot look like a floral version of the artist herself? The colours of the frame and background match her shirt, and the flower petals match her hat. I’m not sure that was intentional, but it’s clear that the artist is fond of the colours she chose.
And each girl now has a unique piece of custom art-work to hang on her bedroom wall.
Our tween art party was a lot of fun! I definitely enjoyed myself as much as the girls did.
I can’t wait to tell you all about the rest of the Amazing Race party, and how you can host one of your own!
Thanks so much, Leah, for including me in your special day! xx
Before you go, be sure to check out my bookstore!
I’ve picked out some of my favourite books for kids activities, covering all aspects of early years play and learning. Have a browse and use the links with each book to get your copies.
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.