12 Mess-Free Activities for a Child's Birthday Party
Birthday parties are the epicenter of fun and relaxation—for kids that is. For the parents, the clean up after children's birthday celebrations can quickly become a daunting task. To save you both time and energy at the end of the day, celebrate your little one's new year of life with a gathering featuring mess-free activities that adults and kids alike can enjoy. As it turns out, there are a number of crafts, games, and activities that require very little cleanup but still provide young guests with plenty of fun. Regardless of party themes or a child's age, there are timeless party activity ideas that can help make the day an exciting—not a messy—one.
Take the pressure off of planning the perfect get-together between your child and their friends by choosing some of the mess-free activities featured in this gallery. Planning the celebration will be a breeze with fun ideas that require minimal materials you can find in your everyday life. Tackle a fun, yet easy-to-follow activity for kids, like making dolls. Whip out some yarn you may have lying around your house to put this activity in action. A simple project like this just requires the extra materials of Styrofoam balls, needle, and thread—it'll keep little ones occupied even without an abundance of sticky or glittery products to add in the mix.
If you want a project even simpler that is still loads of fun, look no further than acorn dolls. This idea is one that you can pull together with supplies from your own backyard. All you will need for this nature-infused creation is acorns, wooden beads, colored pencils, and yarn if you so choose.
The greatest part? This is all just the beginning. Ahead, an array of birthday party activities that are low-stress for the adults and high in fun for kids.
Colorful Pasta-and-Leaf Leis
Here's a fun project kids can make any time of the year. The key material for this DIY? That would be dried pasta, of course. You can grab a box right out of your pantry to bring this project to fruition. Don't forget to pick up craft glue or bakers' twine—you'll need one or the other to make sure the materials stick together and be worn again and again after the party is over.
Acorn Doll Family
Dolls don't always have to come from the store. Creating your very own mini acorn dolls is a fun party activity that begins right outside the front door. Send the children outside to forage, then invite everyone to get creative with their finds. In three simple steps, their new acorns—plus wooden beads, colored pencils, and yarn—will become a fun favor each child gets to leave the party with. As the adult, lend a hand to assemble the dolls with hot glue, then let the kids take over the rest of the craft.
Hosting a party for slightly older children? Keep them busy by setting out the supplies they'll need to make friendship bracelets. The activity just requires a few simple materials, and each party-goer can customize their accessory with their choice of string, yarn, or embroidery floss. Don't forget to pick out an array of colors for eye-catching pieces.
Snacking and crafting come together in this creative activity. Pop-cornucopias are great crafts that require very few materials. Just make sure to have butcher paper handy to create this unique idea. Also consider purchasing paper in an array of hues for kids to mix and match as they build their own. Seal each project with a glue stick so the craft can hold the popcorn while they munch away.
Tissue Paper Pom-Poms
Let this next paper craft do all the talking and cheering. Tissue paper pom-poms are the perfect ways to get kids excited about DIY projects. The easy-going activity is colorful enough to grab anyone's attention but simple enough that kids can take the reins on the project. The only materials you'll need are dowels, tissue paper, and vinyl tape, which makes for easy cleanup and simple-to-follow instructions for the kids. You can even join in on the activity for your own enjoyment. Begin making the craft by placing four sheets of tissue paper on top of each other. Fold them in half, and cut one-inch-wide strips through all layers, stopping just short of fold so that strips will hold together (left top). Next, starting at one corner, roll the folded edge tightly around one end of a short one-fourth-inch-diameter dowel. Use vinyl tape to secure the bottom of the pom-pom to the dowel. Repeat entire process, beginning with the four sheets of tissue paper, at least two more times, to make the ball fluffy.
Keep the party moving, literally, with these balloon-propelled hovercrafts. The best part of this craft? You can use materials you may already have in your home. Begin by decorating a CD as desired. Cover the hole in the CD with a piece of packing tape. Poke small holes in the tape with a pin (this controls the airflow). Hot glue a pop-top soap cap or water bottle cap to the center of the CD or DVD disc. Be sure to create a good seal to keep air from escaping. Blow up a balloon all the way and pinch the neck to keep the air inside (don't tie it). Make sure the pop-top is closed and fit the neck of the balloon over the pop-up portion of the cap. Place on a smooth surface and pop the top open. Begin hovering.
Scalloped Popcorn Boxes
This cute craft will be an excellent addition to your party—it's equal parts activity and décor. The packaging for this project provides another way to enjoy popcorn in a stylish, do-it-yourself fashion. Let kids get creative making their own container, either choosing their paper style or decorating the outside. In just six easy steps they'll have their very own popcorn box.
These animal masks will be knock-out crafts that kids can create then wear throughout the entire party. Colorful card stock is sturdy enough to be worn all day long. Be sure to keep scissors, glue, paper plates, and tape on hand to bring these animal masks to life.
Braided Octopus Dolls
Want a doll that's the perfect playtime toy for your little ones during and after the party? This braided octopus doll craft fits the bill—plus, it comes together in just a few mess-free, hassle-free steps. First, gather supplies: A skein of yarn, scissors, and a two-inch Styrofoam ball. Untwist skein of yarn; use one strand to cinch its center. Place on a two-inch Styrofoam ball. Spread the yarn over the ball. Tie another strand beneath the ball. Cut through bottom loops of yarn, creating a tassel. Divide strands into eight sections; braid each, and tie ends. Trim legs to even. With black thread, sew eyes on the head by stitching over three or four pieces of yarn.
Your child and their friends will go wild over an indoor or outdoor treasure hunt. This easy game only requires you to hide goodie bags in your backyard or throughout the house for the kids to seek. Fill bags with an assortment of candies, mini toys, and more for a game everyone will eagerly take part in.
Include an array of activities like a balloon table, hoop alley, and newspaper walk for a mini-obstacle course at your child's party. To create a balloon table, use a hand pump (about $5 at party supply stores) to fill enough balloons to completely mask a table—it takes about 100 balloons to cover a three-by-six-foot table. Tie yarn or string to each balloon and secure to the table—on top, underside, and all four legs—with heavy tape. Wrap table legs with foam padding. To make hoop alley, lay out eight plastic hoops in a straight line. Kids step into each hoop, lift it overhead and drop it behind as they move forward. (Reset the row before the next person's turn.) For the newspaper walk, kids are handed three sheets of newspaper and must place one beneath every step they take.
Keep the fun going all party long with a game all the kids can master. Place a wooden dowel in your lawn, then distribute rings to all who want to join in on the activity. After telling the kids your self-appointed instructions on how to play, you are all set to let the games begin.