My son is obsessed with race cars, initially sparked by the series of Disney Cars movies. So for his 3rd birthday, we decided to do a Cars themed party. It was a small party with only 5 guests from the playgroup he attends, so I thought of making them do one big craft, which they can then use for free play throughout the rest of the party. This race car birthday party craft for preschool aged kids was a huge success; a craft worth sharing because the kids not only made their race cars with enthusiasm, but they also engaged in hours of imaginative play with their car creations afterwards. (As a side note: a few kids decided it was a fire engine, instead of a race car, which I have to give to them, the end result could look like a fire engine. That’s what’s so great about these crafts… they extend kids’ imaginations through play.)
Since my son’s guests were mostly 3-4 year olds, I decided to prepare/pre-make some of the materials needed for the craft in order to keep the mess to a minimum during the party day itself. This didn’t matter to me, because my 7-year-old daughter and of course the birthday boy were eager to help out in the preparations for this craft days before the party. Craft and working with their hands excite them, so it simply gave me more activities to do with my children at home. This is entirely up to you. Of course if you have older guests (5-7 year olds), then you can probably prepare step 1 (below) at home, while have the children do the rest during the party itself. But for purposes of sharing what I did for the preschool-aged party, here are the steps I took to make this race car birthday party craft a success:
Before the party…
1. Collect boxes big enough to fit a child’s core area (chest, waist, hips). Tips: Nappy/diaper boxes are ideal. I also collected some boxes from Aldi. Simply cut off the flaps of these boxes, so you are just left with the 4 sides of the box, without the top and bottom covers.
2. Color the boxes any color you’d like. You may paint them. But we decided to buy red colored paper and stick these all around the boxes.
3. Purchase small paper plates. Paint them black. These will be the wheels.
4. Cut up strips of foil, approximately 1 inch by 7 inches (for the front grills of the car) and another batch, approximately 3 x 3 inches (for the windows). I allocated 3 front grills and 4 windows for each car.
Add anything else you can think of to make this more fun for the children. If you are making a race car, you can possibly buy black and white checkered paper, then cut them into strips, to stick on the sides. If you’d like to make this craft into a fire engine, you can cut strips of gray paper and paste them on the side in the shape of a ladder. As with any craft, let your imagination loose and the possibilities are endless.
During the race car birthday party itself…
Your Race Car Birthday Party Craft Checklist:
- Boxes colored/painted red (or any other color of your choice)
- Black paper plates (wheels)
- Strips of foil (for the front grills and windows)
- Yellow cupcake paper (for the headlights)
- Double-sided tape, sticky tape, glue stick
I simply provided double sided tape and glue stick for the kids to stick on the following:
1. Use double-sided tape to stick on the ‘wheels’ on the red box.
2. Paste the aluminum strips for the grills and square shaped aluminum foil for the windows using glue stick.
3. Invert the yellow cupcake paper, apply glue stick on the ‘inside’ part, making the yellow color facing outwards.
And there you have your very own race car creation! As soon as the cars were finished, the kids spent some 30 minutes running all around our backyard in their ‘race cars’, or as some kids said was their ‘fire engine’.
The best feedback I got was from the parents, who said their sons/daughters refused to have their race car (or fire engine) thrown away even weeks after the party.