Van Gogh Birthday -5yr- Starry Night Cookies
Aradhana in Webster, MA, USA
My five-year-old, precocious, little artist wanted a Van Gogh theme for her birthday this year. (She had been taking art classes, visited a Van Gogh traveling art exhibit this past year, and presented her first piece of art in an art show, which was her rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.)
Invitations: We used post cards with the print of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. On it, I wrote in markers using different colors, Let’s Gogh to ________’s Birthday. Following, I gave the normal where, when, etc. I also added two notes. The first, Please where clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. & In lieu of gifts, please bring baby clothes to be donated to TEEG.
Decorations: We held the party at our church’s basement. I covered four tables with red tablecloths that had colored balls on them to give an artsy feeling. On one table, I had a blue tablecloth. On three of the tables (stations), I placed _____’s birthday pictures. 8x10 framed. These are pictures of _________ painting by the river across the church. In the pictures, she is dressed in a yellow beret, a white shirt with paint on it, and blue jeggings. Her face has yellow paint marks on it (on purpose). She has a canvas on an easel, a palette full of paint, and a paintbrush. The pictures showed different stages of her painting. Each table was meant to be a station and decorated as such.
I will describe these decorations more in detail as I get to each station. The cake station had red and blue balloons that I had splashed with yellow paint. The walls were already decorated with crosses, etc, and made beautiful backgrounds for group photographs.
Coloring: When the kids arrived, they went to the blue table. This table had an assortment of Van Gogh coloring pages from Starry Night to Van Gogh’s Room at Arles to one of his self portraits. In a basket, I had crayons for the kids to use. This allowed the kids to be occupied as others were still coming.
Reading: I had a group of chairs arranged in a circle. I had the kids gather around with their mommies, and I read them _______’s favorite book about Van Gogh, Van Gogh, Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists. (I condensed a little when _______ didn’t realize.)
Sunflowers: I had the kids move to the Sunflower section. This table had packets distributed across with differing sizes of cardboard cut from cereal boxes, construction paper, and vase cutouts. On the table, I had a small easel set up with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The kids had to glue the pieces onto the cardboard, (blue construction paper on top, brown on the bottom, and the vase on top of the background.) Then, they colored coffee filters with markers and glued them on as the actual sunflowers.
The Japanese Bridge: The fourth activity was based on Monet’s, The Japanese Bridge. (Van Gogh learned a lot from Monet according to the book we had read.) The kids were each given a paper plate that looked like a palette. (Oriental Trading) I squeezed finger paint onto their palettes. (The kids made sure that where there was blue paint depicted on the paper plate, I placed the blue paint in real life, etc.) Then, with their mother’s helps, they used masking tape to make bridges on cardstock. Then, they made fingerprints on the page throughout, including on the bridge, using the different bridges. When we came back to the activity after completing all the other activities, the kids (with help), peeled the masking tape off so that they would get pure white bridges over water lilies (fingerprints).
The Starry Night: The next activity was based on Starry Night. The table was set up with plastic palettes, paintbrushes, and a palette paper plate for each kid. Each kid got a sugar cookie to place on his/her plate, and various colored icing in the palette. Their task was to recreate Starry Night on their cookies, and to not eat their cookies until I got a picture of every child with his/her cookie. On the table, I had a little easel with a post card of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. (We also had adults painting cookies here!)
Party Snacks/Cake: Of course, the kids got to eat their Starry Night cookies. Then, they had their cake, which was a round vanilla cake decorated with what my daughter calls swirlies, or the curves found in Van Gogh’s later paintings. We placed candles that look like crayons on the cake for Jeena Ann to blow out. Then, since we were in France as Van Gogh was when he did much of his painting, each child had a choice of red or white wine. (One child did complain about the wine tasting a lot like grape juice, but one of the other moms explained that wine tastes that way until the age of 21.) The plates were the palette plates. The napkins were white with varying colored paintbrushes on them. (Oriental Trading)
Favors: The kids got to take home all of their artwork, smocks, and a beret.
Costumes: The kids were French artists and dressed as such. Our little birthday girl had on a yellow beret, an old white shirt that I had thrown splashes of paint on, and a pair of leggings. Over that, she had on an artist smock. I had strategically placed some yellow paint marks on her face. All the kids and adults were given berets. They could choose the color. The kids were all given smocks (Amazon.com). I used fabric marker to write on the smocks, Let’s Gogh to Jeena Ann’s Birthday.
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