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There are many different creative ways to celebrate 4-year-old’s birthday. The atmosphere of fun, free expression and creativity, easy going and lots of laughter – here is my happy formula for a birthday party for the free-spirited child like ours. It was the first party when we invited her friends. I wanted to make sure that she felt comfortable in her skin.
From the very early age, I always encouraged her to get messy. Well, I pay for it dearly – every single painting activity ends up with my munchkin covered in paint from toe to the very tip of her hair. But her delight and grin from ear to ear, happy squeals make all my stress of cleaning up disappear. Just like Michael J. Fox said, “A creative mess is better than idle tidiness.”
Our Birthday Party was inspired by Segni Mossi (Moving Signs)- an Italian organisation that helps children to express their creativity by combining dance and visual art. There are so many emotions, thoughts and feelings raise up when you watch children feel and understand creativity through movement, music and visual arts. Process. Not the end result. Freely expressing yourself creatively is a great part of building strong self-esteem. It benefits kids on many various levels – emotional, social, mental, physical.
As soon as I saw it I knew that this is exactly type of theme my child would enjoy. I had to adapt it to our format and resources, but at the end, the sheer excitement and joy written on kids faces were all I needed to see that party was a success. To say it was a “messy” birthday party is an understatement. So this is something to keep in mind and make very clear to parents of your beautiful guests what they are going to experience. My goal was to have fewer rules as possible and let children get loose with art and party tools, simply have fun. Everything really went down to “have as much fun as you possibly can, but make sure not to spray, paint or glue anything on anybody’s face”.
Decorating party with silly strings Each child gets a bottle each and then they go crazy spraying each other and everything they see around. Get as many of these as you can. Kids will LOVE it and they are very easy to clean up, do not stain or stick to surfaces.
It began with kids sprinkling some glitter on our Birthday girl as they were saying birthday wishes and progressed into covering everybody with glitter.
Painting on canvas.
I made a DIY canvas by cutting out pieces of boards from an old cardboard box and wrapping it in the white paper. Each child used their fingers to mix two colors – blue and yellow which obviously turned into green. I squeezed paint on each child’s canvas. Another way to do it is to dilute the paint with water and ask children to paint by inclining the board from side to side without touching it and make sure the paint does not drip on the ground.
Painting on a white bed sheet.
This was a great final messy fun activity to do. I offered kids to paint sheets using their body. I used a white bed sheet for children to use their feet and hands to paint. We had tent pegs to secure the sheet to the ground. Instead of buying buckets of paint I used the very simple recipe:
Super simple DIY paint recipe: 1 part of flour mixed with 1 part of water and food colouring depending on desired colour intensity. I used around 500g of flour for our paint. Normally you would add 1 part of salt to the recipe but I don’t recommend it. Children use their hands and feet to paint – salt may aggravate their skin and cause reaction.
A couple of things to remember if you decide to throw “messy”, “artsy” kids party
make it clear that children WILL get messy and you have an area and plan for washing off paint and whatever else that WILL get stuck to their hair, feet, hands.. etc
make sure you’re really, like really, good friends with kids’ parents because the party like this will test your friendship like nothing else. I mean for some it took 5 washes to clean off all the glitter.
Why did I go through all this trouble?
I love seeing children in their element. So often kids are told what to wear, how to talk, what to think, how to behave, there is such a desire for “perfection” in our society. Allowing children to be free to create a mess is a part of removing borders in their minds and encourage them to think and act outside these frames.
The parents of my daughter’s friends and our family are incredible! They were very supportive and seemed to enjoy the whole process in spite of all the cleaning and washing that had to be done afterward.
Most importantly, I value having special moments with friends and family and creating happy memories for my children.
I thought handmade soap is a great and useful party favor to give to guests. You can make your own, however, I ordered a couple of packs of samples which smelled divine by the way.
I designed birthday party invitation we sent out to friends with a bit of color. Feel free to download it, print it out, and fill in details in blank spaces. You may also like to download it in .png format and use programs like picmonkey to fill in blank spaces to send out to friends.
Art Resources You Might Find Helpful in Your Classroom
Art Appreciation Montessori Resources and Books for Children
This resource is great for preschool and kindergarten students for learning about the cultural aspects of Native American culture. It presents 16 different types of musical instruments with realistic and accurate clipart. Invite your students to match cards and trace labels. Bind labeled cards to make a picture book.
Families of Musical Instruments and Keyboard Instruments Flash Cards for sorting. My Book of Families of Musical Instruments and Keyboard Instruments – for practicing writing and for coloring in. Sheet for self-check This printables is also included in the Music Preschool Pack
Twenty-two 3 part cards with art periods from Stone Age to Postmodernism and Deconstructionism. every card includes key characteristics of the period, major works, main artists one piece of art that represents this art period. This is an overview of Art History. This printable also includes a whole-page format for each card for those who would like to hang it on the wall for display.
Introduction study of Europe that contains hands-on resources to teach students about unique aspects of the continent while developing their concentration, logical thinking, comprehension skills, reading and so much more.
Europe has an incredibly rich art history. This art study of the greatest European artists of all time is a wonderful way to introduce students to the world of art and art history, inspire them to create their own masterpieces.
by Aline D. Wolf (Author), Janine Sgrignoli Wolf (Illustrator)
How to Use Child-size Masterpieces by Aline D. Wolf is a manual that enables adults, who need not be art experts, to present beautiful paintings to young children. Dispensing with the words "Don't touch," which normally accompany the study of fine art, this program invites youngsters ages 3 through 12 to handle postcard-size reproductions (sold separately in the Child-Size Masterpieces books) in a delightful series of graded activities.
This beautifully printed volume is the first in the 8 book series, Child-size Masterpieces for Art Appreciation, by Aline Wolf. This volume contains 36 postcard-size art reproductions to be cut out and used for the first 3 steps of the program: matching identical paintings, pairing two paintings by the same artist and grouping four paintings by the same artist. Carefully chosen to appeal to young children, the selections include a wide variety of subjects and styles. Appropriate for 3-7 year-olds in 3 levels of gradually increasing challenge. Using the How to Use Child-size Masterpieces Handbook, also by Aline Wolf, is suggested.
Wooden Montessori puzzles "Pablo Picasso" will train children’s imagination and creativity. Such pretend games will allow children to learn a lot about artists and their world masterpieces, and help them become an artist.
Infused with a warm, affable tone, Making Music in Montessori is the Guide’s guide to music education, providing Montessori teachers all at once a snappy, practical handbook, music theory mentor, pedagogical manual, and resource anthology. The book’s goal: To give teachers confidence in music, so that when their children walk away from a lesson all fired up to compose their own music, their teacher will know how to guide them.
In Wonder Art Workshop, educator and educational development expert Sally Haughey shares her approach to hands-on, play-based learning with parents, teachers, and other facilitators, offering 25 activities that let your child take the lead in developing their own sense of intrinsic motivation to imagine, experiment, and discover.
A guide to twelve children's art workshops by one of the world's most innovative facilitators and best–selling bookmakers.
Art Workshops for Children is a guide for parents and teachers to organize and execute artistic workshops for children. 12 workshops are featured, each offering a list of materials needed, a step–by–step guide to facilitation, practical tips, illustrated examples, and photos of workshops in progress.
by Rachel Peachey (Author) Format: Kindle Edition
From Montessori teacher, Rachel Peachey, comes 101 easy-to-follow Montessori-inspired craft activities that you can do with children ages 2-6 at home or in the classroom. This book contains crafts inspired by locations all over the world. They help children learn about cultures and geography from every continent. Other activities teach practical life skills, such as letter writing and creative skills like botanical painting. Each activity gives a short introduction, followed by a list of materials needed and steps to complete.
by Melanie LaBarge (Author), Caroline Corrigan (Illustrator)
An empowering and educational alphabet picture book about women artists, perfect for fans of Rad American Women A-Z.
How many women artists can you name? From Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe, to Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Xenobia Bailey, this lushly illustrated alphabet picture book presents both famous and underrepresented women in the fine arts from a variety of genres: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and more. Each spread features a simple line of text encapsulating the creator's iconic work in one word, such as "D is for Dots" (Yayoi Kusama) and "S is for Spider" (Louise Bourgeois), followed by slightly longer text about the artist for older readers who would like to know more. Backmatter includes extended biographies and discussion questions for budding creatives and trailblazers.
by David Stabler (Author), Doogie Horner (Illustrator)
Hilarious childhood biographies and full-color illustrations reveal how Leonardo da Vinci, Beatrix Potter, Keith Haring, and other great artists in history coped with regular-kid problems. Every great artist started out as a kid. Forget the awards, the sold-out museum exhibitions, and the timeless masterpieces. When the world’s most celebrated artists were growing up, they had regular-kid problems just like you. Jackson Pollock’s family moved constantly—he lived in eight different cities before he was sixteen years old.
This beautiful art encyclopedia charts the evolution of the greatest cultural achievements in painting, sculpture, and photography. The greatest art exhibition at your fingertips! Packed with fascinating facts, clear explanations, and stunning photography, this awe-inspiring art encyclopedia for kids aged 9-12 years takes you on a magical tour through time exploring every artistic style and movement in stunning detail. From Leonardo da Vinci's iconic Mona Lisa to Vincent van Gogh's spectacular The Starry Night, this art history book celebrates the lives of groundbreaking artists and their most famous art masterpieces.
This biography coloring book is all about teaching kids about the lives of famous artists while encouraging their own creativity through coloring and creating. This is Volume 2 of the Famous Artists Biography Coloring Books! Almost 100 coloring pages include 13 original biographies written just for children with age approximate language and content.
by Jennifer Lavallee (Author), Natalia Colombo (Illustrator)
Nature is an Artist explores different art forms that kids can find in the natural world. In the book, a group of children follow Nature—the most inspiring of teachers—as they discover the world’s greatest art show hidden in plain sight. As they witness beautiful landscapes, stunning vistas, and unusual creatures, each child is inspired to recreate their own fine work of art.
Spark your child’s creativity and curiosity with this delightfully curated colors book featuring some of the world’s most iconic artworks.
In this collection, explore unique palette combinations and revolutionary color choices throughout art history, from the lush greens of ancient Egyptian panels to Franz Marc’s vibrant Cows, Red, Green, Yellow to the iconic orange sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream.
by MaryAnn F Kohl (Author), Kim Solga (Author)
Fun and easy art-appreciation activities abound in this resource that features over 60 great artists across the ages. A concise biography for each artist tells why his or her work is important, and a kid-tested art activity tries out the artist’s approach. Young artists will sketch inventive designs in the style of da Vinci and draw in a nature notebook like Audubon. To understand Rodin, they will create a clay carving.