Follow these strokes of genius to get kids celebrating. 

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Get the Word Out

Paper invites are a time suck, but emailing the info feels too adult. Compromise: Write details on one of your child’s watercolors, then email it as a PDF.

Spiff Up Your Place

Have your kid paint plain party supplies, like white paper cups and treat bags, with water-based paint, says Jennifer Lula, of jenloveskev.com. Fill your home with a rainbow of balloons. Finally, create a banner by stringing together paint chips from the hardware store.

Ready, Set, Paint!

Set up easels and canvases (Small Tabletop Easel, $50 for 12, and Canvas Panels, $12 for 12) on a table for each child. On a budget? Trade canvases for cardboard prepainted with white primer, says party planner Brynn Swanson.

Create Collages

For this station, lay out tissue paper, cardstock, and glue. Finger-paints are great here too!

Play an Artsy Game

Stack three white cardboard boxes in size order so they look like a tiered cake, suggests Meri Cherry, a children’s art studio owner. Four teams of kids can each decorate a side with paint, markers, and more. Set a timer and see which team fills in its side first.

Decorate Dessert

Place cupcakes on plastic art palettes ($8 for 12), fill the wells with sprinkles, and let kids garnish their treat. Tip: Frost just beforehand—sprinkles stick best to fresh frosting.

Give a Goody Bag

Besides their artwork, send kids off with chalk, stamps, or crayons—just tuck goodies into mini metal paint pails ($8 for six).

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