When the girl is home for winter break, I like to have a big playdate with as many of her old before-preschool friends as can make it. It’s fun for the moms who don’t get to see each other that often anymore, and of course it’s great for the kids, too.
This time around I wanted to include a craft, because I usually do, and it’s good to have something for kids to focus on if they get bored with the available toys or just want something else to do.
I didn’t want to have to buy anything, so we did shakers made out of paper plates and beans. It’s the simplest thing ever: just decorate one or two plates (on their bottom sides), add a handful of beans and staple closed (if using one plate, fold it in half to hold the beans).
The night before I gathered all the supplies we were likely to need and set up the table for mass creativity.
And here are my tips for setting up a craft for a playdate.
Put down a plastic tablecloth. Mine is not quite as long as our really long table, but the more ground you can cover the better. Then you don’t have to worry about people coloring on the table, getting glue on it, dropping scissors, etc.
Put out multiples if you can. We have two little pairs of scissors, and I had about four glue sticks and two big bins of markers, crayons and colored pencils.
Use containers. See how I kept most things in their own little bins? That’s how most of it is stored, anyway, but I like that things have a place they “go” so they can be put back when a child is done with them, and parents who want to help — or want their kids to help — with cleanup know where things can go.
Offer lots of options. In addition to markers, crayons and colored pencils, I had out some dot markers, tons of stickers, even some little bits of paper in case anyone wanted to do a collage. I don’t think anyone did, but I like to have a lot of stuff available to inspire the crafters.
Have something special. I included a bottle of glitter glue just for fun, and the dot markers are a little different, too. And sparkly stickers. And foam letters for spelling out names. Also, make sure there are some “boy” stickers as well as “girl” stickers (though I hate gender labels, you know what I mean) if your playdate will include both genders.
This turned out to be a really fun craft. The girl got into it before people even came over and went back to it while they were there.
I don’t often post pictures of other people’s kids online, but this little collage will show you how much fun we had. Moms, grandma and a big sister all helped with the projects.
I hope you’ll allow this checklist to help you get over any fear you might have of children crafting in your house! It’s so much fun to see a bunch of little people at work together.
Have you ever hosted a crafty playdate or an art group for littles? I’d love to hear about it!