If the idea of 25 Kindergartners with glue, glitter and scissors makes you cringe and run screaming from the craft table I’m your gal. Don’t be intimidated. It is possible to make cute, easy, non-messy crafts with the little guys. You simply have to plan ahead and above all else keep them busy. I have used all five of these ideas in parties many times and know first hand they are successful. Some of these ideas do take some fore thought however, so start early because they are well worth it.
1) Snow Globes
You will need clean baby food jars or small jelly jars with the lids, water, small charms or toys for the bottom of the globe, glitter or snow and super glue. The jars do not have to be the same size or shape just small, clear and clean. I suggest sending an email to the class roster the first of October asking for jars. Have a deadline of one week before the party so you know just how many jars you have collected and how many you still need. Ask your family, friends and neighbors for their empty jars as well. The charms can be purchased in bulk from many online stores. I have purchased mine from US Toys and Oriental Trading Company. The day of the party you will need either a pitcher of water or a sink in the classroom, two parents to help and paper towels to dry the completed jars. Create stations to select the charms away from the water and gluing station as this “picking” process seems to create the biggest bottleneck. Place the charms in two baskets at a table and have the children come to the charm station two at a time. Once their charm is picked have a parent at the glue station super glue the charm to the underside of the jar lid. Let the charm dry completely before moving to the water and glitter station. It typically takes about 2 minutes to dry. Finally add the snow or glitter to the inside of the jar and fill with water. Lastly screw the lid on tightly and dry with a paper towel. This craft will take approximately 30 minutes based on a class size of 20-25 children. There is a great deal of down time with this craft before the charm is picked and after the globe is completed so I suggest having the children move directly to a coloring page station to keep them occupied and quiet while they are waiting. A variety of crayon and marker colors and paper shapes and designs will keep kids attention. Cut strips of paper into small rectangles for book marks, larger rectangles with holes at the top for door knob hangers, medium circles with holes for tree ornaments or hearts for valentines. Start this craft early as it can use a lot of time and every child will want a snow globe.
2.)Soup Mix and Recipe
This is a super easy craft that creates very little mess. The teachers love this craft as the children practice their writing and measuring skills. I suggest using this craft for the February party as the kids will have developed better writing skills and will be better able to complete this task. You will need a soup recipe, I have included mine below as well as find this great recipe here from IFoodTV, large Ziploc baggies or bags with rubber bands or ties for closing, notecards or paper cut into rectangles with a hole punched to attach the bean recipe, string or yarn to tie the recipe to the bag, spoons for the children to ladle the beans into the bags and the beans you are mixing. Most bean mixes will use just about any kind of bean available and I suggest buying whatever is on sale and modifying the recipe to fit the bean. Place the different types of beans in their own bowl, with a card sticking out and the number of spoonfuls needed, and place the bowls at a table. You can set up multiple tables with identical bowls, bags and cards to accommodate all the children. Place a parent helper at each table to assist the kids. Instruct the kids to spoon the exact number of spoonfuls of beans into their bag. Do this for each type of bean. Finally have the children copy the recipe from the chalkboard and attach to their bag with the string provided. Parents helpers may have to assist children with the writing, closing and attaching of the recipe. This craft typically takes about 10 minutes.
8 spoonfuls Dry Navy Beans
6 spoonfuls Dry Black Eyed Peas
5 spoonfuls Dry Red Kidney Beans
3 spoonfuls Dry Pinto Beans
2 spoonfuls Dry Split Peas
5 Bean Mix
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 large carrots chopped
2 celery stalks including leafs chopped
1 small onion chopped
ham bone or leftover ham cubed
1 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/2 tsp each garlic and celery salt
Brown celery, carrots and onions in 1 TBL olive oil over medium high heat until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock and remaining ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 6-8 hours. Stir the soup and check on fluid level every hour. If stock gets to low add more as needed to keep at a constant level. This recipe makes soup for 4. Serve with bread and salad. It can also be placed in a crock pot.
3.) Cookie Decorating
This craft can be done very easily and many parents will volunteer to buy the plain sugar cookies or supplies as this is an easy way for them to help. To keep messes contained place plastic table cloths on and under each table being used for easy clean up later. You will need plain baked sugar cookies, icing, sprinkles or candies and spoons. It is also helpful to have small plates handy for kids to place their cookies. Have several different colors of icing and colors of sprinkles, candies and edible decorations. All of these things can be found easily at any grocery store. Place the supplies and spoons at the table and let the kids go at it. You will need to keep an eye on the children however, as some invariably will try to eat the icing or decorate themselves. This craft will take about 10 minutes.
4.)Create Your Own Tote
These bags are hugely popular. If they are to be used in the Fall call them candy bags and for the Winter call them gift bags or totes. I received many phone calls and emails from parents thanking me as they had forgotten candy bags for Halloween and this was a huge time saver for them. These bags can be purchased at Oriental Trading Company or any large craft store. They can be decorated with as much or as little as you would like. Use scraps of leftover material, fabric markers, glitter, foam board, cotton balls. Just about anything you can glue to the bag can be used. Place the bags and supplies at each table needed and let the kids loose. This craft will take about 10-15 minutes.
You can choose to decorate the pots with stickers and glitter before planting the seeds. If you decorate the pots let the ink or glue dry before planting the seeds. I suggest decorating the pots first, playing games and then planting the seeds. You will need a small pot for each child, dirt to fill the pot, a pitcher of water and seeds for planting. Pots can be purchased at any large craft store or online in bulk. This craft works best for the Spring parties. Have the children spoon dirt into their pot until it is 3/4 full. Sprinkle several seeds on top and cover with dirt. Pour a small amount of water over the dirt. These pots can be placed into plastic bags to take home. Both flowers and fruits are hugely popular with the children. Having a variety of seeds is best. This craft will take approximately 10-20 minutes depending on if the pots are decorated.
All five of these crafts have worked very well and I have used them multiple times. Most of the crafts are not going to break the bank either as other volunteers will be willing to contribute items. The key to a good party is planning, planning and more planning.