Time is truly flying! In the blink of an eye, my tiny baby girl has transformed into a smart, confident and vivacious five year old! Every day I feel so lucky to be her mom, and her birthday is definitely cause for major celebration. This year when I asked Caroline what kind of party she wanted to have, she answered without hesitation, “An art party!” I have been wanting to have an art party for a long time for either kid, so this thrilled me. Incorporating a soft play installation alongside the art party could provide an even more enriching and fun experience.

I had no fixed color scheme since I wanted all colors to be incorporated as much as possible. I decided to try my hand at painting an abstract mural to go behind the food table. I had basically no plan and no idea where I was going with it when I started, but I ended up liking it enough to include it. Caroline LOVED it and wants to hang it in her room now. Ha!

The brush stroke macarons were one of my favorite details. I love how bright and colorful they are and how well they worked with the art theme.

As far as the rest of the food went, I kept things really minimal since the party was not during a meal time. It was more for the adults than anything, though I did see a few kids partaking. We had deviled eggs, cucumber bites (another requirement of Caroline’s), and my fave spring veggie tart.

Yet another funny moment in planning this party was when I asked Caroline what flavor of birthday cake she would like. She answered instantly, “Wild berry lavender!” a la Jeni’s ice cream (her very favorite flavor.) I wasn’t quite sure about this at first but ended up developing the concept and it turned out wonderfully. So delicious! (Is this a recipe you guys would like to see posted?) I ended up covering the cake in fondant so I could do a brush stroke design on that as well. I absolutely loved the way it turned out and the birthday girl was over the moon with excitement when she saw the finished cake.

Now, on to the most fun part of the party – the art of course! I wanted to have lots of activities to keep the kids interested and engaged. I ended up planning more than we actually did which was fine – I just didn’t want to run out of things for them to do. The hardest part was narrowing down which activities to do because the possibilities are endless!

This first project was my favorite of all. We made edible art! The idea for this activity came to me while I was brainstorming food for the party, and I began considering artistic presentations and the ways that art intersects with food. I thought the kids would enjoy a project that they could eat after they created their masterpiece. Boy, was I right! I will do a separate post about this later this week with the full project details. This was such a blast and I LOVED how into it the kids were.

Look at this beautiful creation! They all did such an amazing job!

After our explorations of food and art, we turned to the ways that science and art can combine with a little acid-base action. I swear, I will never grow too old for the sheer giddiness of the baking soda-vinegar reaction, and my kids are the same way. I mixed up baking soda paints using liquid water colors.

The kids painted with these and then used pipettes to drop vinegar onto the page. The bubbly reaction made new designs and textures in the areas that they had painted. Such fun! I totally saved the extra paints and will be playing with them on my own time. I love this project!

Last we did crayon resist watercolors which I’m sure everyone remembers from elementary school. The kids wrote or drew pictures with white crayon and then painted with water color over the top. The areas with the crayon resist the paint for a cool effect. Kids really enjoy the “secret message” quality of this project.

After the art projects were finished, we blew out candles, ate cake with Jeni’s ice cream (of course!) and then just played in the playroom for a while. We concluded with a grand finale of confetti pops which was a humongous hit! This pic is one of my absolute favorites, Caroline looking like a very composed Lady Gaga amidst all the chaos.

Happy birthday to this not so little girl with a gigantic personality. I love watching you grow and am excited to witness all the amazing things you will do!

A few additional notes and helpful tips for hosting an art party:

  • Stock up on some form of disposable work surface such as drop cloths, plastic tablecloths, etc. that can be easily switched out between projects.
  • Make sure the projects you select are age appropriate for the kids attending. There were some projects I really wanted to do that I thought would be a bit too complex for this age group, but I definitely filed those ideas away for the future!
  • Have the supplies for each activity out of the packages and organized to make for smooth transitions. For example, I had little trays that held the supplies for the edible art project, baking sheets ready with the baking soda paints, jars of vinegar, pipettes and brushes, etc etc.
  • Consider having a finished example of the project for the kids to use as inspiration. I did this for the resist watercolor and it was useful to help explain the concept.