Forget the laser tag, bounce houses or skating rinks. You don't have to break the bank to host a creative, kid-friendly birthday party for your child. Instead, buy a few rolls of duct tape and put them to work creating flowers, crowns, pretend swords or even a purse. With the range of bright colors and patterns readily available at the local crafts or discount store, you can find something to appeal to boys or girls of any age.
1. A Party at Home
So, you're tired of feeling you have to compete with other kids' recent birthday parties and want something different that not everyone else is doing. Sure, the kids have fun ice skating, bowling or jumping around in a room full of trampolines, but they've done that several times already, and your budget doesn't lend itself to that type of outing for your daughter's large class. Duct tape crafts and games are ideal for a party hosted at your home and can typically be done inside or out, depending on your weather and preferences.
2. Patterns and Colors Galore
Duct tape is now available in many patterns that appeal to kids, both youngsters and 'cool' teenagers. Neons, dots, stripes and wild-animal prints will be a hit with girls, while camouflage prints, sports themes or insects might appeal to your son's group of friends. Let your birthday child help you pick out the colors and patterns that she likes best for her party. You're not limited to the plain old silver-gray stuff that dad has in the garage, though that one may be perfect for making crowns or swords.
3. Goodies for Girls
Fold narrow pieces of red, pink or purple tape back and forth on itself around a narrow green dowel to create a colorful tulip or rose. Cut a 12- to 14-inch length of sparkly tape to turn into a one-of-a-kind fashion accessory: Fold the tape in half to make a long, narrow strip, then fold it double to give it added stability then fit it to your daughter's wrist. Decorate it with faux gems or glitter paint. Follow a similar process with smaller strips of tape to make rings. Make a cute purse by weaving folded strips of duct tape into a rectangle, which you then fold in half. Use additional strips of tape to seal the two sides. Create a shoulder strap by folding a long piece of tape into a double-strength, narrow strip and connecting one end to each side.
4. Active Boys
For your son's party, use the duct tape in timed games that allow the boys to be creative and competitive at the same time. Give each boy a piece of cardboard, a pair of scissors and some duct tape. Give the kids 10 minutes to design and create an amazing fake sword by cutting the shape out of cardboard and covering it with duct tape, then stage friendly mock sword fights to see which sword lasts the longest. Another option is to divide the boys into teams. Give each team some cardboard, craft foam and different colored rolls of duct tape. The challenge: Each team must turn one of its members into a one-of-a-kind robot within a set time. Ask a neutral neighbor or family member to judge the robots, handing out prizes for the most creative, most authentic and scariest-looking robots.