As much as I love a beautifully styled table and cleverly themed food & drinks, when it comes to kids parties, the most important thing to think about first (for the sake of everyone!) is how to keep the little ones happily entertained throughout the party.
A great compliment – and contrast to – traditional planned crafts and games, is a designated play area that serves as a go-to space for kids to enjoy at any time during the party. I set up a play area at our recent Colorful Barbie Birthday Party, and a little playful styling went a long way as far as making that area feel like a party in itself! Check it out…
Pictured above: my youngest daughter having fun with the Barbie Malibu House :)
KEY ELEMENTS OF A STYLED PLAY AREA
1. The Look
Use a few colorful elements to brighten up the play area and make it feel like an important part of the party. In the example shown above, I used a bright table cloth, a colorful “LET’S PLAY” banner, and festive DIY circle paper garlands to dress things up.
For the garlands, you’ll need colored paper and circular craft punches. You can find tons of DIY tutorials for this project online, including versions for both sewn garlands (like we made here) and no-sew garlands. (On a side note, I’m totally smitten with paper garlands and used them to dress up the rest of the party space too!)
You can download the “LET’S PLAY” paper banner for free right here (along with lots of other matching printable!).
You can also “borrow” elements in from other area in your house to help style the play space out even further. For example, large bright pink rugs from our toy room really brightened up the area here – and made for prettier, more “Barbie-licious” pictures too! ;)
2. The Toys
Use a small table to set out a few dolls and play sets that are easy for the kids to access. Toys that invite the kids to be creative (preferably in a mess/stain-free way!) are always great – like the Barbie Color Me Cute Dolls, where kids can just use water to “paint” Barbie’s outfit and make her pet change colors.
The Barbie Malibu House was definitely the main attraction of the play area. It also served as high impact party decor and made for GREAT photos with the kids – both from a “candid shots” perspective AND as an adorable photo prop!
Speaking of photos, a simple DIY photo booth is a great way to capture extra-special keepsake shots, in addition to your playtime candids. To create the photo booth for this party, I hung 2 yards of striped fabric to the wall using gaffers tape, then swagged paper garlands on top of the fabric to add some bold pops of color!
The kids had fun posing in the “booth” with their favorite Barbie dolls, as well as some of the DIY photo props that we hand on hand, including these cute fringe-y hearts that we made from cardboard and tissue paper, then adorned with sparkly wooden “BFF” letters.
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored project that I created for Mattel®. As always, all thoughts, designs, & opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make it possible for me to keep the creative content coming! :)