You don’t have to be a DIY expert or have an entire room dedicated to crafts in order to entertain your kids with pipe cleaners and a little glue. The projects in my new Play Date series with Little Miss Party are not supposed to look amazing. These crafts are supposed to keep your kids busy, happy and seated at a table.
They are also a good excuse for us to get the kids together for a VERY REAL PLAY DATE.
When we arrived at Seri’s place for a Valentine’s Day themed play date, I knew right off the bat, she was not screwing around. She had snacks on a table lined with kraft paper and a bucket of markers. The kids were busy from the word go.
She also had champagne for the grown-ups. Maybe a signature cocktail should always be part of future play date posts?
I expected Mazzy and Gavin to be fully involved in the craft portion of the play date, but the simple crafts Seri picked had Harlow and Luke equally engaged.
Here’s a rundown of all the stuff she had planned…
EASY PEASY craft #1: Decorated Drinks
Here’s an important lesson— you can turn almost everything into a craft. Serving drinks in plastic bottles or paper cups? Have the kids decorate them to create a solid fifteen minutes of quiet time while you converse with the adults.
What you will need: Paper cups or plastic drinking bottles, stuff to decorate with (heart stickers, markers, jewels, etc.), white school glue or glue stick
What to do: Set out the stuff and give them the glue! This isn’t brain surgery.
When the kids move on to the next craft, fill their bottles with every mom’s signature mix of OJ and water. Heavy on the water.
craft #2: Bottle Cap Locket
Seri’s Aunt Marissa gave her this idea and it was the hands down favorite. This one requires a little parental prep, but it’s well worth it. Especially since Mazzy and Gavin consider themselves boyfriend and girlfriend.
What you will need:
• 2 metal bottle caps per child
• 1 6-8 inch piece of 1/2 inch wide ribbon per child
• 1 tiny paper circle (to fit inside the cap) per child
• Construction paper or stickers to decorate the caps
• White flat spray paint
• Tiny photo of each child
• Pipe cleaners
• Glue stick
• Glue gun
Parental Prep: Place the bottle caps on a flat, clean surface and spray paint them white. Fold the ribbon in half and tie a knot, creating a loop with two pieces of ribbon on either side. Using a glue gun, glue each end of the ribbon inside the caps (so they fit together like a clamshell), leaving the loop at the top to string the pipe cleaner. Print out tiny photos of the kids and cut them out into circles that fit inside the caps. Then cut out small circles from construction paper for the kids to draw on.
For the kids: Set out all the supplies, letting the kids decorate their lockets, select photos for the inside and have them make little drawings or messages for the opposite side, creating their own unique locket.
All the kids preferred to have their own picture in their locket rather than a picture of their friend. But then Mazzy and Gavin opted to draw pictures of themselves to give to each other for the other side.
Have the kids string their locket onto pipe cleaners (attaching two to make it longer). We used pipe cleaners so the kids could easily put the lockets on each other, which let’s be honest— was the cutest part.
Harlow preferred to hang her locket with her picture facing out.
Later on in the day, she just ripped one side off altogether so she just had her face dangling on her pipe cleaner. Can you blame her?
EASY PEASY craft #3: Coffee Filter Flowers
I imagine these could be really great-looking if done by a grown-up. But we’re not going for great-looking. We put the kids in charge.
What you will need: Coffee filters, markers, green pipe cleaners (for the flower stems), paper cups, spray bottle with water
What to do: Let the children draw with markers on as many coffee filters as they want, for as long as they are entertained.
When they are done, give each child a water bottle and let them spray their filters so the marker begins to bleed making a pretty abstract design.
Tip: You might not want to tell the kids about the spray bottles until they are finished with coloring. Our kids were so excited for the water element, they barely colored their filters which didn’t make for very good marker bleeding.
Ah well, it’s more about the smiles anyway.
Let the filters dry, while you take a break for a snack.
Once dry, take three and pinch them in the center to make a flower-like shape. Wrap the green pipe cleaner around the bottom to hold the flower in place
Use a paper cup for a vase and let the kids arrange their flowers. You can even use the bottles they made at the beginning of the play date.
These flowers make great homemade Valentines for your kids’ teachers. And as an added bonus, you don’t have to feel bad about throwing them out!
Who’s Ready for snacks?
Everything went well and you want to reward the kids for their hard work? It’s Valentine’s Day— that means, it’s time for something sweet!
If you don’t like to feed your kids sugar, LOOK AWAY.
Sorry— did you want something semi-nutritious in there? Use a cookie cutter to make heart-shaped toast with strawberry cream cheese and sliced strawberries on top.
I’m not kidding when I say all kids and parents had a blast.
Project Play Date Complete!
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Photos were taken by Karilyn Sanders and myself.