Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
Iam the mama of an almost eleven year old. That is pretty fantastic! Jillian’s birthday is right around the corner and we are excited to celebrate our oldest daughter! We threw a birthday party for her last weekend so that she could spend a day having fun with her friends.
Jillian is a very creative kid. She’s got the crafty bug, like her parents, and she is usually drawing, sewing, knitting, or painting something and she’s got a love of woodworking, too. I don’t mind bragging that we like mess making and working with our hands. Creating art is a way of life for this child of mine.
So, when we saw these Block Party kits from Kid Made Modern at Target we knew we had stumbled on the perfect theme for her birthday: a “block” party where her friends could come over, make a wonderful mess, and create some art together. Perfect!
A Birthday Block Party
The more we explored the Kid Made Modern line, and Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern book, the more ideas and inspiration we gathered for our party. Soon, our block party plans were in the works and invitations asking our friends to come “dressed to play, paint, and get messy” were sent. (You can see the Pinterest board I used to gather up my ideas here).
On Sunday, we celebrated Jillian’ big one-one with 12 guests: boys and girls ranging in age from 7 to 12 and some parents and a few younger siblings, too.
As I said, most of the inspiration come from the Kid Made Modern line at Target, specifically their wooden block kits.
We knew we wanted to create an art area for our guests, but also that the whole party would just shout “be creative! Make messes! Have fun!”
Setting the stage: decorating
Since she does have an Autumn birthday, we wanted to use pumpkins in our decorating for her party, but not in a way that suggested Halloween. Instead, the look we were aiming for was one representative of my bright, sparkly girl.
For our pumpkins we:
- painted some with Kid Made Modern shimmer paints
- melted crayons over some, after reading about it on Pinterest
- covered some with white school glue and E K Success glitter
We also used paint brushes in jars as our centerpieces on the table. Later the jars held water for rinsing the brushes, so it was a pretty yet useful arrangement.
For the block painting station, the weather cooperated so we were able to be outdoors. I simply covered our picnic table with newspaper and then a grid of colorful tape (also from the Kid Made Modern line). It made a good paint catcher for our artists and it also made clean up super easy. Plus, some of the guests used the patterned tape on their blocks, which I thought was a fun and inventive twist to the original idea. I love what kids’ minds come up with!
We added colorful lights inside and out (a benefit of holiday decor appearing so early in the stores was that we got to take advantage of their use in our party decorating).
We also set up a station at the little picnic table with water colors and water color paper.
The block party kits come with the paintbrushes, wooden blocks and the paint. (Be aware that the manufacturer’s suggested age is six and up).
We found that it took the paint about an hour to be dry to the touch, so this was an activity we directed the kids to first and then we served them some food. By the time most were done eating, their blocks were dry enough to be handled. Just something to keep in mind if you use this block party idea yourself – do allow some drying time for the paint.
Speaking of food, we had a good time planning our menu. One of our favorite party planning books is Naturally Fun Parties for Kids by Anni Daulter. Jillian and I went through the book and chose a few favorite recipes to make for the party. We also went through some of my Pinterest boards together to round out the rest of our party food ideas.
Here’s what the birthday girl picked:
Instead of birthday cake, she wanted donuts. We made the donuts from Naturally Fun Parties for Kids. We served the donuts with vanilla ice cream.
Jillian loves grilled cheese, so we made it fancy by picking up a panini maker (also from Target – love that it was a one stop shopping trip) and we had a panini station at the party where guests could put together their own sandwiches and then an adult supervised the pressing and heating.
For the panini station we offered:
- Apple butter (recipe from Naturally Fun Parties for Kids)
- Munster cheese
- Provolone cheese
- Avocado slices
Other food we served:
- White chocolate dipped pretzel sticks (a Pinterest find)
- Fresh popped popcorn
- Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake dip with ginger snaps, chocolate Teddy Grahams, and cinnamon graham crackers
- A veggie tray (Which isn’t pictured because I totally spaced setting it on the buffet table until about half way through the party. Whoops! It is always something, right?)
- Kettle chips (the birthday girl’s favorite with grilled cheese)
- A drink station: cocoa (with hot water from the Keurig) and apple cider (and coffee for the adults)
It was such a fun day! I loved that the guests got to take home something they created themselves, that our theme really suited my daughter’s personality, and that it was really easy to put together and clean up, despite the fact that it was a party designed to be messy.
If you’re looking for a neat party idea, I’d definitely encourage you to think about a throwing a block party!
Come back tomorrow to see what we included in our goodie bags for our guests AND enter to win a special block party giveaway from our friends at Target and Kid Made Modern.
I’m excited to share that I am a part of Target’s Inner Circle. In fact, they helped to make the Block Party Birthday happen by supplying the materials (from the decor to the food to the Kid Made Modern items). So, huge thanks to Target for an awesome day!
I want you to know that while I am a member of the Target Inner Circle, all of the opinions are my own. Being a part of Target’s Inner Circle means I’m part of a select group that gets the inside scoop on Target as a social influencer and exclusive access to Target. I’m super happy to be a member of the Target’s Inner Circle and I’m glad that I can finally spill the beans and share the fun news with all of you!