Make A Masterpiece Party

For your child's next birthday, exercise his creativity with a picture-perfect art party.

Experimenting with Art

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Laura Stojanovic

A cheerful clothesline art gallery displays portraits of your child and his friends. The artists? The kids themselves, who put their creative skills to good use as they make paintings, place their handprints on a T-shirt, decorate pizzas, and turn a birthday cake into a canvas at a delightful art party.

"Children love experimenting with art activities -- the messier the better!" says Rima Rosenthal, an artist and preschool art teacher at the Chelsea Day School in New York City. "Just put out plenty of materials and they'll surprise you with what they can do." Our party guests were 5 years old, but these activities can be simplified for preschoolers or made more elaborate for older kids; if you follow your child's interests, your art extravaganza is sure to be a big success.

Friendly Faces

Establish the theme by sending out cardboard invitations shaped like paint palettes -- or use small versions of the real thing in wood or plastic, mailed in a padded envelope. Specify that children come dressed in old clothes, and provide extra protection in the form of oversize T-shirts, smocks, or the aprons our guests donned on arrival.

Before the party begins, set up a workspace for each child on a low table, an easel, or an open area of the floor. (If necessary, place plastic dropcloths around the room so spills aren't an issue.) Each young artist should have access to a pad of art paper, brushes, and tempera paint in a rainbow of colors. Hang a rope with clothespins from one end of the room to the other to display the finished paintings.

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