So my last missive from mommy land was a lamentation of the plight of those of us with summer birthdays, and I entreated the gentle readers to try to spin that situation into a positive for all the summer babies in your life. I wrote while in the midst of musing what to do for my Summer Gal, whose birthday just a few days after the 4th of July marks the last birthday of the year of those of us in this house (and of her two grandparents who live nearby). I sought out a solution for a fun summer bash, and while shopping I stumbled on the answer: a craft party at the Michael’s store near our house.
I wish I could tell you I had a brilliant insight with this idea, but the reality was I was shopping there, looked up and saw a sign advertising birthday parties, tuned to the Birthday Girl and said “Hey, would you like a craft party here?” and she said “yes!”
So I asked about price and availability and both worked for us. Then we selected a “Magical Fairy” theme. Attendance at Summer Gal’s parties has been spotty some years, as people travel during the summer. The craft store includes invitations with their party packages, so I dutifully filled them out and sent them off. Almost everyone RSVP’d yes, which was great!
Michaels lets the party planners bring refreshments, so (ow ow twist my arm!) my next stop was Publix to order turkey wraps and Cubanitos (because, PUBLIX CUBANITOS!) and a cookie cake. Oh yes, Publix makes chocolate chip cookie cakes and they are OUTSTANDING. Fudge icing is involved. 5 out of 5 Would Devour Again.
The big day came and our family arrived a bit early to set up the refreshments and decorations, which was relatively painless. Then the guests began to arrive and the room, which was dominated by HUGE brown-paper covered tables, began to fill up. Parents were asked to sign a waiver and a sign in sheet for their children. We all then had a light lunch before I let the parents know that they did not have to stick around for the craft time; they were free to roam the store or the nearby Target, perhaps even speak to their partners face to face or grab a Starbucks solo. I saw adult eyes get wide, heard “Are you serious? THANKS!” and I’m pretty sure spotted some dust trails as the parents streamed out. You’re welcome, one and all.
Grandma and Grandpa and a few parents stuck around and we did 3 crafts (the boys were pirate themed). Wrangling 6 year olds is a tough gig, so while it wasn’t exactly martial law in the craft room, we traded law and order for FUN. According to the store manager this is a new program for Michaels, and the staff is still working out the kinks of how to deliver the instructions, so I would suggest to parents that they ask about how the craft instructions and materials will be delivered to the party guests. However, Summer Gal and her pals had a blast painting, coloring, glittering, pom pom-ing and pipe cleaner-ing up a storm. In the end, each girl had crafted a picture frame, magical fairy wand, and a fairy clothes pin doll. The boys had a picture frame, an pirate eye patch, and a treasure chest.
As the parents trickled back in we sang, had cake, and then said our goodbyes. Every child was excited to show off his or her crafts to the parental units, which was my favorite part of the event. I’m not a huge fan of goodie bags for my own kids’ parties (though I’m always appreciative of what other hostesses do!), so to me the fact that a Michaels party means the kids go home with an item they made and are proud of is ideal! And we sent them home with a balloon. NOTHING says “festive” more than a balloon.
There are lots of options for kids parties out there, but if your kids are inclined to be crafty (in the artistic way, not the supervillain way) I suggest you look into what Michaels could do. There were lots of themed options and I found the price to be VERY reasonable, and my house didn’t get messy! Plus, any excuse for Publix cubanitos is a good one!
Looking for more birthday ideas? Check out these previous articles!