Make a party pinata! A pinata is a relatively easy decoration to make. Start with a large blown up balloon. You will whisk together a paste that consists of 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Heat over a stove while whisking for about 3-5 minutes until the paste thickens. Let cool. Cut some 1 inch wide, 6 inch long newspaper strips. Dip the strips into the paste and coat the balloon with the strips, leaving a hole wide enough at the top through which to put candy. Let Dry. Add about 3 or 4 layers of strips. When the pinata feels stiff and dry, you can paint the pinata, or make it into a basketball, baseball, or animal face. Fill the pinata with candy from the hole that was left in the top. When you are finished, tie a string near the hole and use that as the top. Hang from a branch outside.
Make a Happy Birthday banner. You can either make a banner on your own, or have a big white banner at the party that the kids all decorate themselves. This doubles as both a craft activity and a decoration. A banner can be made by layering images with a stencil and paints, markers, crayons, and stamps. Another way to make decoration an activity is to have all of the children work on a banner together so they can all be involved and creative. Tape a large white banner to an outdoor fence. Have a wide variety of markers and paints available on the ground below the banner. At the beginning of the party, ask each child to write a birthday wish, draw a picture, and sign their name. This way they are collectively making a giant birthday card that will set a nice backdrop for an outdoor party.
Try making picture frames with the guests as both an activity and a decoration that they get to keep. Pick up some cheap, plain picture frames at a store like the Christmas Tree Shop. (www.christmastreeshop.com) Also try AC Moore arts and crafts. You can easily make your own frames as well by gluing four popsicle sticks together with a hot glue gun. Set aside a time where you can snap a photo of each child with a Polaroid camera while they are at the party. Give each child their frame on a paper plate with their name written on the plate. In bowls set around the area they are working, put sequins, little foam cutouts, pictures cut out from magazines (of the party theme. e.g. cars) and little pompoms. Later, before everyone leaves, glue each Polaroid to the inside edges of the back of the frame. When they leave, they will have their own personal decoration to take home with them.
Stamped Placement Cards
Add a little color to the birthday cake table with beautifully decorated placement cards. On a pice of 6 x 6 inch card stock of any color, you will use a metallic pen to write the name of each guest. There is also the option of printing out the name of each guest on the lower 3 inch portion of 6 x 6 inch card stock paper. When the card stock is printed, fold the 6 inch piece in half, and place on the table like an inverted V. During printing, you can also add a graphic of your son’s choosing on the upper 3 inch portion of the 6 inch paper. This way, there will be a colorful graphic picture facing each child opposite the table.
Toy Cars as Balloon Weights
How many toy cars does your little boy have laying around? Instead of buying balloon weights for the balloons at the party, tie the bottom of the balloon string to a toy car. Tie as many balloon strings to toy cars as you have guests coming to the party. At the birthday cake table, next to their stamped placement cards, place the little toy car and balloon. You can go for a color themed motif as well and match balloon colors to the colors of the cars.