Start your four-year-old’s birthday party with some crafty fun. Having a craft ready for guests when they arrive is a great icebreaker and keeps little hands busy while you do the greetings. It might be the activity they remember best after they go home cake-filled and exhausted.
Set the table with plain, white t-shirts and have fabric markers and glitter glue nearby. Invite young guests to decorate their shirts. Be sure to have them put their names on them first either in permanent marker or on a piece of tape. This will help guests get acquainted and make sure everyone goes home with the right shirt. If the party has a theme, it can be inspiration for the young artists. Don’t feel limited to t-shirts, any plain garment will work. Use aprons for a cookie party or capes for little superheroes.
Collect cardboard boxes and paper bags. Stuff the paper bags with newspaper and tape the open side shut to create blocks. As guests arrive, hand them a tool belt marked with their names and a tool and tell them to get to work. Preschoolers will have a blast building structures and working together. They may balk at moving on to eat the cake.
The tool belts and tools make great party favors. This activity can be adapted to a smaller scale using small blocks or wood scraps, making it possible for the children to take their creations home.
Draw them in with the promise of cake. Set out plain cupcakes with a variety of frostings, sprinkles, small candies and clean Popsicle sticks and toothpicks. Be sure to have children wash their hands upon arrival to get ready for this task. Tell them they are to decorate their own cupcake to eat later. Decorate some cupcakes ahead of time and have them on the table as examples.
This activity can be altered to the theme and works very well with monster parties. Make sure you have plates available with the children’s names on them to store their cupcakes until it is time to eat. Make more cupcakes than you need ahead of time as there is the risk of some getting eaten before it is time.
Outdoor parties are more fun with bubbles. Direct your young guests to a craft activity table set up to make their own bubble wands. This craft activity will require a helpful adult or older child to demonstrate or show little ones how it is done. Bubble wands can be made with pipe cleaners (make a loop at one end and twist), twigs (loop a pipe cleaner or shoelace at one end), cookie cutters and plastic baskets that once held berries.
Have a variety of building materials available and plenty of bubble solution in aluminum pie plates for preschoolers to test their inventions