Tie-Dyeing & Beyond: Crafty Get-Togethers Kids Will Love

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What could be more fun than a party where you get to make your own favors to take home? Host a kid-friendly, crafty get-together for your child’s next birthday party or special occasion, and create anything from scrapbook masterpieces to vibrant tie-dye fashions. The guests will love showing off their artistic skills, and you will love how easy it is to keep a bunch of energetic kids entertained.

 

Scrapbook Party

Be sure to ask the attendees to bring a handful of photos or personal mementos they want to add to their scrapbooks. Buy a small book with blank pages for each guest—this can be anything from a plain sketchbook to a pretty journal. For a special touch, pick out a personalized journal or notebook, or use a plain scrapbook and include a sheet of personalized stickers for decoration. Set the kids up at a large craft table with art supplies and let them create their own memory books. Suggested supplies:

  • Scissors and pinking shears
  • Glue sticks or glue
  • Construction paper
  • Stamps and stamp pads
  • Stencils
  • Crayons and colored pencils
  • Ribbon

Tie-Dye Party

This one can get a bit messy, so we recommend you host it outside or in a garage lined with a tarp or plastic drop cloth. Ask the guests to come in old clothes they can get dirty in and have them each bring a white cotton item of clothing to tie-dye (T-shirts and tank tops work well, but you can also try socks, headbands or dresses). Buy a variety of colored fabric dyes from the craft store, and let the kids get messy experimenting with different colors and patterns. For more details, check out this groovy .

 

Robot Party

This is a fun project for boys and girls alike, plus it’s a fantastic way to recycle plastic containers. Collect a bunch of different plastic bottles, tubs and other miscellaneous containers; wash and dry them well. Have each guest select a container and glue aluminum foil around the outside. Decorate with sparkly pipe cleaners, googly eyes, sequins, glitter, pom-poms or other fun accessories. Each robot will look different and out-of-this-world!

 

Beading Party

Beading is a simple and inexpensive craft, so it’s great for large groups of kids. Buy a variety of colorful beads of different sizes, along with wire or string and needles (for older children). The party guests can make as many necklaces, keychains, bracelets and other creations they like until the beads run out.

 

Have you ever hosted a crafty party? Do you have any helpful tips to share?

 

Photo courtesy of flicker 

Five Great Graduation Gift Ideas

graduationGraduation season is approaching quickly, so it’s time to start planning something special for the graduate in your life. Whether your child is moving on to first grade, junior high or high school, celebrate the big milestone with these five unique and meaningful gift ideas.

1.     Books. Dr. Seuss’ classic Oh The Places You’ll Go (“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”) is a favorite gift for graduates, but there are lots of other inspiring, funny or encouraging books that would be ideal for the occasion. Tailor your selection to his or her interests. For a poetry lover, go for Where the Sidewalk Ends. For a future world traveler, pick The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Where the Wild Things Are. If you can’t decide,Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff are excellent choices.

2.     Survival Kits. Put together a homemade “survival kit” for whatever new school your child is attending in the fall. For a new first grader, a pencil box full of sharpened pencils, crayons and erasers is a good start. Include colorful binders, notebooks and a reusable lunch bag and put everything in a small backpack. If your graduate is going on to junior high school, you could include a journal, a day planner, magnetic mirrors or picture frames for a locker or gear for a favorite sport.

3.     Dinner Out. Instead of a giving your graduate a present to unwrap, treat him or her to a dinner out at a favorite restaurant. Dress up and indulge in delicious food (maybe even ending in a hot fudge sundae or a piece of apple pie), while toasting with sparkling cider.

4.     A Scrapbook or Photo Album. Start a scrapbook or photo album with mementos from your child’s life so far, leaving room for him or her to fill in pages and help personalize it. Get crafty with supplies from your local art store or take advantage of technology and create a gorgeous and inexpensive photo book online at Blurb.com.

5.     A Party. Everyone loves a good party, so forego the gifts and throw a BBQ, pool party, sleepover or laser tag outing instead. All kinds of themed invitations are easy to find and customize at tiny*prints. Let the graduate help plan the festivities, and it will be a memorable celebration.

Happy Mother’s Day: Thoughtful Ways to Honor Your Mom

Mother’s Day should really happen more than just once a year. Our moms and the other important women in our lives have loved us, nurtured us and raised us to be the wonderful people we are today, and they deserve some recognition and appreciation in return.

Sunday, May 9 is Mother’s Day, and though we should love and honor our mamas all year round, it’s nice to have an excuse to do it up right for a day. Flowers, chocolates and greeting cards are all lovely and traditional Mother’s Day gifts, but why not do something a little more unique and personalized this year? Think about who your mom (or grandma or mother-in-law…) is, and tailor a gift to fit her perfectly.

Use Your Words

Instead of buying a generic card, write your mother a letter or card telling her why you love her and why you’re lucky to have her as a parent. You can be as sentimental or funny or goofy as you like, as long as you’re sincere. If you’re struggling with how to start, try thinking of an occasion when she was really there for you (comforting you when your first love broke your heart or wiring you money when you were penniless and stranded while backpacking through Europe).

Be Indulgent 

Everyone has a few guilty pleasures—from chocolate-covered cherries and red wine to celebrity magazines and romance novels. Buy some of your mom’s favorite indulgences and wrap them in a pretty basket. (And then help her enjoy them…)

Stay Active

If your mom seems to have more energy than you do, buy her something that will fit in well with her active lifestyle. Give her new running shoes, pilates DVDs or workout music, or if you live nearby, find a gift certificate for an activity you can do together. Try yoga, zumba, water aerobics or another fun class, and spend some quality time together while working up a sweat.

Be a Bookworm

Is your mom the person responsible for your love of reading? Buy her a copy of a book you loved and think she would enjoy. Or start a mini book club for two and buy each of you a copy of a book you’ve been meaning to read. You’ll have someone to discuss it with as you go.

Get Crafty

Nothing beats homemade gifts. Spend an afternoon with your children making beautiful artwork for grandma this Mother’s Day. Get out the fingerpaints and glitter and construction paper, and let the kids go wild with their imaginations. She will love their creations more than anything you could buy in a store.

Do Lunch

When in doubt, treat your mom to lunch. Take a break from your own kids or job or other responsibilities, and simply spend some time catching up with a very important lady.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/rexandsharkey/146376184/

 

How do you plan on celebrating Mother’s Day?