Birthday parties that tune into kids’ creative side

If you’re looking to host a party, but don’t want to worry about planning an activity or cleaning up after a mess, many places around the Chicagoland area offer creative options.

At these places, kids can gather to have fun and do an activity led by a professional staff. When the party is over, parents can leave the clean up to the staff.

In LaGrange, Sue Martin, co-owner of Ceramic Art Café, has been hosting birthday parties for kids of all ages for more than 20 years.

At her studio, kids get to pick out a piece of pottery to paint, which could include painting an animal, plate, bowl or mug. For an additional cost, older kids can paint a Teddy bear or a small, shaped box.

“Everything is washable, dishwasher safe and microwavable,” says Martin, who stresses they use water-based, leadfree, nontoxic paint.

Kids paint for about an hour, and then have time for a snack and presents while Martin and her staff clean up.

“We have done over 5,000 parties,” she says. “We keep it structured and keep people moving, and give kids more than enough time to paint.”

After the party, Martin fires the pieces in a kiln, and they are ready to be taken home about a week later.

She says kids are always thrilled to see their finished project.

“They say, ‘Wow, did I paint that?’” she says.

Martin says it’s important for parents to relax during a birthday party and have fun, even if that means the child is painting something in unusual color combinations.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder, and you have to let them do whatever they want to do,” she says. “People don’t always look at things the same way, and that’s what I love about it.”

If you’re willing to host a party, Mad Science of Northern Illinois will provide science-themed birthday fun.

Parties, which last about an hour, are perfect for children ages 4-12, says owner Greg Diblik. The parties are suitable for up to 30 kids ages 6 and up, or for about 20 kids for younger party-goers.

“Mad Science birthday parties offer children a chance to participate in cool science experiments with a certified Mad Scientist,” he says.

At the party, every child gets to make a take-home item like a super-stretchy Mad Science putty, slime or a highbouncing ball. Other experiments, like the science behind dry ice or cotton candy, can be added.

The franchise has been entertaining and educating kids — and their parents — for more than 25 years, encouraging them to learn more about science and science-based careers.

“Kids discover the fun of science as they take part in spectacular science demonstrations, including chemical magic, movie special effects and amazing bubbling potions,” he says. “Besides being very fun and exciting, our program is very educational. It is a great way to get kids interested in science.”

Part of Celebrations, a special advertising birthday party guide.

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