If the Bay Area Maker Faire proves one point, it’s that there’s no minimum age for creative juices to start flowing! At the faire this year, preschoolers were going hands-on in craft activities that yielded impressive results in minimal periods of time. If you want your next kids’ birthday party to challenge young kids with rewarding low-risk DIY projects that gets them to make something, read on for crafty ideas. No-Sew Felt Cuffs For younger kids, making no-sew felt cuffs is a surprisingly low-maintenance activity that you can customize to your child’s current obsession: superheroes, garden plants, stars, rainbow colors to name a few. All you need to do is drive to the nearest craft store to buy felt, Velcro dots and glue. Follow these simple steps by Kiwi Crate and you’re done! Lego-mania If you have a young LEGO fan, a LEGO birthday party with matching cake to boot is a must! You can go the DIY route by following these instructions on how to make your own party invite, Lego foods, party crafts and party highlights. Another fun DIY birthday party idea marries music and construction with the new Lego Duplo Jams, a music program sponsored by Lego. The concept is, kids can listen to songs inspired by their favorite games. Example. Got a child into cars? Invite his or her friends to build a Lego brick car at home. Organize a pillow race track and play Brick Racer to start the race. Success guaranteed! For kids age 5 and above, the San Anselmo-based Play-Well TEKnologies can come set up a battletrack monorail or other cool Legos construction project at your house or at the park. Last but not least, Legos can come very handy in the pastry department. To craft a themed Lego cake, pick your child’s favorite Star Wars or Lego Duplo sets and top off any frosted cake. Hey, they may not be edible, but they’re certainly washable! Ceramics Ceramics is another kids-pleaser that combines the party favor with the activity. In San Francisco, Terra Mia pottery studio arranges birthday parties in their little back room, where kids get to paint and glaze a ceramic piece that gets fired up later. In the patio right outside the room, set up birthday food and drink and enjoy outdoor seating Noe Valley style. In Novato, Studio4Art lets you use the entire studio for cool activities that include ceramics, clay sculpture, potter’s wheel, sewing, painting, and mosaics. During two straight hours, invite from 8 to 22 children and let an instructor take the lead on the activity. Relax. Enjoy. Seriously, did you know a 4-year old could make a bowl on a potter’s wheel? Soap Making One of the popular booths at the Maker Faire saw kids make their own soap bar by choosing their own fragrances, color and plastic toy to sink in the glycerin base. Shockingly, the soap bar was solid and ready to go in less than an hour! Even kids who believe in magic had a hard time believing this. The good news is, you can buy make-your-own-soap kits and organize the same activity at home. Get the kids busy as soon as they arrive at the party and they’ll take their soap bar home as the party favor. Guess who’s going to beg for bath time? Steampunk Victorian Cards You may or not have been a Goth in a previous life, but any craft that has the word steampunk in it deserves a shot for the coolest kid in town. Based on the Victorian Steampunk cards by Sarah-n-dipitous at the Maker Faire, this craft is deceptively easy. This tutorial by Heidi Boyd shows how to glue a fun image on a square card, cut a paper beehive to cover it up, making it the ultimate peek-a-boo card. While the kids cut circles with rounded scissors, tell them a storybook tale to transport them to a land far far away. Deal done, Victorian craft modernized. Whichever theme you pick, Maker Faire birthday party ideas will take you back to your childhood when kids didn’t use pre-colored pre-cut sets to come up with someone’s interpretation of a craft. This is about free play and creativity using their two hands. Let kids go crazy on “maker” crafts. There’s nothing they love less than getting down and dirty with activities! —Laure Latham