I had so much fun putting these activities together. We had a big group of homeschoolers at a beautiful park in the woods. We have our parties at a playground with several pavillions around it. I never reserve the pavillions, since they are available on a first-come first-served basis when not reserved and are almost never reserved on a weekday during the school year.
This year, I decided to set up the food for our potluck at the pavillion second-closest to the playground. We put the crafts at the one closest to the playground, to make it easier for the kids to move back and forth.
After lunch, the kids were free to play or do crafts/activities of their choosing. I wasn't sure if too many of the kids would be participating in the crafts, so I was pleased when the craft pavillion was mobbed by busy kids. Our group ranges in age from toddler to upper elementary. (We welcome older kids but don't have many at this time, as we haven't had any families with kids of that age join who were willing to organize activities).
We had 7 craft stations, mostly based on a spring/summer theme:
- Seed planting: I will do a separate post on this and link to it here. It's pretty basic, but I didn't get the instructions anywhere, so I will write up what I did. The best thing about this activity is its appeal to all ages, from toddler to adult.
- Bubble station: I brought a dishpan, bubble solution, and one of those packs of bubble wands. (I removed the pipes and blowers so that the kids didn't all swap spit.) I sat the dishpan on the ground (to decrease the likelihood of it getting spilled) and poured a bunch of bubble solution in it. I placed the wands on the low brick rail going around the pavillion. It was all set up for the kids to play with! Easy and perfect for the preschool crowd! The only thing I want to do differently next time is make my own bubble solution to save money.
- Bird feeders: These are easily made with pipe cleaners and plain Cheerios (I used Market Pantry brand). Basically, you just string some Cheerios onto a pipe cleaner, making a stopper at each end by bending the pipe cleaner. They can be bent into shapes and then stuck on the tree. We don't currently have any nut allergic kids in our group that I know of, but I really liked it that this kind of bird feeder did not use peanut butter, since that can exclude kids with nut allergies and cause safety issues.
- Beading: Another mom brought pony beads and craft lace. We also set out pipe cleaners, and just let the kids make whatever necklaces and bracelets they wanted. (I had the idea to also make bubble wands with the pipe cleaners and beads but didn't get a chance to make an example. I will save that idea for another time.)
- Paper boat making. I used these instructions. They have a great printable PDF. I printed 2, put them in plastic sheet protectors and set them out, along with some scrapbooking paper, which I had in a folder. I did not buy the paper; I have a ton of extra at home and just picked some that I didn't think I would use in my scrapbooking. I cut it into standard-sized paper I made 2 boats and taped them to the tablecloth. I have to say that we had the least amount of interest in this activity.
- Minecraft Blocks: These were very popular, especially amongst the boys! I got the idea because my older son has made some Minecraft papercraft figures in the past. I thought blocks would be a better idea for the party because they are the simplest to make. I brought scissors, tape, and glue, but most of the kids used tape. I printed out many different kinds of blocks from Pixel Paper Craft. I made examples beforehand and taped them to the tablecloth.
- Sewing with plastic Canvas: I will be making a separate post about this as well, and will link to it. This was much more popular than I had expected and kept me busy for about 3 hours!