Parenting

How to Throw an Artful Children’s Party

Kids flex their creative muscles at this bright birthday bash inspired by Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol, and Frank Stella.

Alicia and Adam Rico know how to throw a good party.

Then again, they have plenty of experience. The husband and wife behind floral design company Bows and Arrows regularly devise memorable events and creative flower-related decor for tastemakers in Dallas and beyond.

When they aren’t concocting parties for others, they’re channeling their energy into fanciful backyard birthday celebrations for their 2-year-old daughter, Dotty. Recent highlights include a French-themed soiree (complete with a cheese buffet and a performance by a mime) and a soulful Native American event.

We asked Alicia and Adam to lend some of their birthday magic to D Moms, and they didn’t miss a beat, pulling together a team including Southern Fried Paper and Layered Bake Shop to design an art-inspired party we’d want to attend even if we didn’t have kids.

Keep it Simple

Creating a festive event with lots of punch doesn’t have to be labor intensive. Alicia recommends keeping things simple by picking a theme and building the rest of the party around it. For her, the graphic lines and bright palette of a Frank Stella painting was the jumping-off point. “Everything just grew from there—the colors, the invitations, the activities, the food, the favors. Once we had our inspiration, all the elements felt instantly cohesive.”

Keep Them Busy

Well-planned activities are the hallmark of a good event (that, and a killer cake). Art party attendees indulged their creativity by customizing their own Frank Stella-inspired coloring sheets. A generous supply of Crayons selected to match the party’s palette (you can purchase custom crayons at crayolastore.com) meant everybody had his or her own. Guests worked off their sugar buzz with an impromptu dance party-cum-group painting session. The finished work of art served as a photo backdrop for Polaroid snaps.

Create Your Own Stellar Birthday Bash

  1. Keep parties under two hours and plan a few well-paced activities to ward off boredom-induced chaos.
  2. Buy all your party supplies—napkins, plates, cups, cutlery, and balloons—in one or two colors. The more focused you are, the easier it is to pull off something really impressive with (somewhat) less effort.
  3. When it comes to balloons, more is better. Order a bunch from your local party store to make even a pared-back event feel extra festive.
  4. Eschew complicated food for low-key snacks like pretzels and fruit, sparkling water, juice, a big cake, and some libations for grown-up guests. (All anyone cares about is the cake anyway.)
  5. Remember, have fun. Kids might run wild, food will likely get smashed into your rugs, but the memories are more than worth a little mess. (At least that’s what we’re going with.)

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