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Easy and Fun DIY Craft Ideas for Kids Birthday Parties

We had a busy few weeks of preparing for our daughter's 5th birthday party. This year, she was super keen on hosting her birthday party at a local indoor playground - a paradise for kids but hell for the grown-ups. We also wanted to celebrate the milestone with some older kids and family members so in the end, we decided to host several parties for different social circles. That probably made this year's birthday celebration extra busy.

I like to involve my child in the planning process as much as possible. The message is, if you want something, you have got to work for it. My husband and I kept telling her that it's great that she knows she wants to have her birthday party at the indoor playground, and we will support her but she also has to help us make it happen. So she designed her invitation cards and helped me make the traktaties (explained below), piñata, and party decorations. I thought I'd share some of these with you :-)

The invitation card cover my daughter drew on my computer. She loves cats so it's a drawing of a cat with 2 cat balloons.

So what's a traktatie? I think this is quite unique to the Netherlands but you might also do it where you live. Do let me know as I am curious! The literal translation of traktatie is treat. On your birthday, you bring something to your school or office to share with your classmates/colleagues. The concept is similar to giving away goodie bags or party favours at the end of your party but in this case, there isn't necessarily a party. Many kids take cup cakes and other snacks to share with the rest of the class on the day. Nowadays, bringing sweets is a bit of a controversy due to promoting unhealthy eating habits and some schools actually prohibit unhealthy traktaties. So many kids give away non-food items, fruits or vegetables. My daughter actually begged me not to prepare fruits or vegetables for her traktatie, I guess not many kids are thrilled about receiving a cucumber... I wanted to be respectful to kids with dietary needs so I didn't really want to prepare food for her traktatie. In the end, we decided to grow sunflowers to giveaway - 27 sunflower seedlings. We used paper cups for each seedling and included a stick to announce her birthday and indicate what plant it is. Something that isn't a food or plastic, and something that kids can enjoy seeing it grow.

I spent my junior high and high school years in Peru. So when it comes to birthday parties, I just want to have piñatas. And I love love love making them. It's time consuming to make but a really simple recycling craft that you can enjoy with your kids. Here's how we made ours:

How we made our 'number 5' piñata


  • Cardboard (thick and thin)

  • Painter's Tape

  • Newspapers

  • String

  • Paint

  • Tissue Papers

  • Confetti

  • Treats to put inside

For Paper Mache Paste:

  • 1/2 cup Craft Glue

  • 1 cup Water

  • 1 cup Flour

Step 1 - Cut out the cardboard with the shape you want. We wanted our piñata in a shape of number "5" so I cut out 2 x number 5 and some long cardboard strips for the sides. For the sides, I used a thinner cardboard than the main body so it's easier to bend.

Step 2 - Tape all parts together using a painter's tape. And attach strings at the top. I used 2 craft pipe cleaners but they did not survive all the whacking and hitting until the end so I suggest using something a bit stronger like a jute cord or something. Also, don't forget to make a opening to put the treats in later.

Step 3 - Cover the piñata with newspaper strips using the DIY paper mache paste mentioned above.

Step 4 - Once the piñata is completely dry, put some treats inside and seal the opening with some painter's tape, more newspaper strips and paper mache paste.

Step 5 - Make sure the piñata is completely dry before painting and decorating. We painted the main body of piñata white, and the sides yellow - my daughter's favourite colour. We then decorated it by gluing confetti and tissue papers.

The whole process takes about 3 days so you do need to plan ahead. But it is totally worth it. Kids love whacking the piñata with a stick and the excitement of seeing treats come out is priceless.

My daughter also helped me make these beautiful garlands for the party. They are inspired by the Mexican papel picado used in the Day of the Dead. The technique they use is very similar to the Japanese art of kirie and we had a blast making these. Folding papers, cutting shapes, punching holes and unfolding them to find a different result every time. Fascinating.

A few other things I made on my own:

Peruvian alfajores with my daughter's name!

In the Netherlands, people put out a sign by their window to announce someone's birthday. They also do it when a baby is born. So I made a number 5 sign using a cardboard paper and filled the space with some Japanese inspired patterns and cats.

The cake I decorated for one of the parties we had. I bought a simple non-decorated drip cake and decorated it with DIY cake toppers, fruits, macarons and Dutch stroopwafels (syrup waffels)!

What are some of the easy and simple things you made for your party? I would love to get inspirations for our future events so please do share!

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