Ages: 4 +

By John Loecke
October 05, 2005

Invitations, Decorations & Activities

Everyone has a favorite color -- especially the child of honor. Find out what it is and then shop accordingly!


Cut an 11"x 4" rectangle from yellow cardstock and fold in half lengthwise. On the front of the folded card, draw and cut an arc 2½ inches from the top edge. To make the crayons, cut a 4"x 5"rectangle from purple cardstock. Trim the top edge to look like crayon tips. Draw in details with a black pen; glue to the inside of the card's front flap. Cut two small purple triangles; glue them onto the bottom corners of the invitation. Write party details in purple marker.

Wonderful Wind Socks

As the guests arrive, hand each child a wind sock to decorate with different size pom-poms and colorful paper strips. To make, cut a 6"x 12"rectangle from a piece of purple craft foam. Roll the foam into a tube and staple together. Using a hole punch, make two holes about 1 inch from top of tube on opposite sides; thread ribbon through the holes and knot to secure. Finish by gluing 9"streamers to inside of tube cuff.

Goody Bags

Fill purple mini shopping bags (available at paper-goods stores) with assorted lollipops and purple candies. To make name tags, cut out large circles with scallop-edged scissors, using paper in a paler shade of purple; glue to bag.

Little Picasso's Paint Can Cake

This clever cake is a cinch to make and sure to delight your pint-size artist. We chose the color purple, but you can opt for your child's favorite shade simply by switching the food coloring.

Prep and decorating time: 2 hours

Bake time: 1 hour

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 roll refrigerator sugar-cookie dough
  • 4 pieces yellow fruit-flavored twist licorice
  • 1 1/2 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting
  • 2 Tbs. coarse yellow sugar crystals
  • Purple and yellow paste food coloring
  • 1 tube (4.25 oz.) black decorating icing, fitted with writing tip
  • 2 Tbs. mini purple candy-coated chocolates
  • 2 pieces purple Froot Loops cereal
  • 3 pieces black string licorice

Special Equipment:

34- to 39-ounce coffee can, empty

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a clean 34- to 39-ounce metal coffee can. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter into prepared can and bake 55 to 60 minutes in center of oven, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Run knife around outside edge to release cake; flip onto wire rack and cool completely.
  2. To make paintbrush, work the flour into the cookie dough until smooth. Roll dough out on foil to a 1/4"thickness; cut out handle shape. Transfer cutout (on foil) to baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. For bristles, cut 2 pieces of licorice in half lengthwise, then in thirds crosswise (for a total of 12 pieces). Spread a small amount of vanilla frosting along straight side of cookie handle and press twist pieces into frosting. Secure with a 3/4"strip of foil. Set aside to dry.
  3. Tint 1/2 can vanilla frosting purple; set aside. Tint 1/3 cup frosting yellow and spoon into a small resealable bag; set aside.
  4. Trim to make top of cake level. Invert onto serving platter or cutting board. With a small knife, cut a 3/4"deep well 1/2"from outer edge of cake. Remove and discard scraps. Frost sides and top edge of cake with vanilla frosting. Place a 1"strip of foil around bottom edge of cake.
  5. Cut remaining 2 pieces of licorice in half lengthwise and press into top rim of cake. Sprinkle sides of cake with sugar crystals. Snip a corner from bag with yellow frosting and pipe a solid 4"x 5"rectangle on side of can; smooth rectangle. Pipe child's name and "Purple Passion" with black decorating icing. Press small purple candies along outer edge of yellow frosting.
  6. To make lip of paint can, cut out a ring of foil. Press black licorice strands along bottom and top edge of cake. Press cereal loops on either side of top edge.
  7. Heat purple frosting in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds on high, or until slightly runny. Carefully dip the brush ends in the frosting and set aside. Pour remaining frosting into the well, dribbling it down sides of cake to make spills. Place paintbrush on top. For handle, press a piece of black licorice through cereal loops.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the May 2000 issue of Parents magazine.

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