Are you involved in an arts or music festival and want to engage people of all ages in an informal event, but don't have a big budget?
For as little as $200, you can host a free drop-in tent where kids and adults can try their hand at a variety of mediums, or just simply chill out and relax away from the commotion of the rest of the festival.
You'll be amazed how popular this kind of event is - particularly if more elaborate, paid workshops sell out quickly, leaving most people disappointed.
Step 1: Get Organized & Set Up
You'll need the following:
3 - 4 folding tables;
12 - 16 folding chairs;
8 paint brushes of various sizes;
1 package of plastic cups;
2 buckets - one for fresh water and one for waste.
2 paint sets (1 tempra & 1 washable paint in bottles); fuzzy ball packages & pipe cleaners;
white glue (for child or school use);
1 pad of coloured construction paper;
1 pad of watercolour paper;
12 small canvases in several sizes;
1 marker set;
1 adult colouring book;
1 bag of balloons;
disposable plastic table coverings to protect the plastic tables;
Make up a sign so it's clear to people that it's a drop-in (ie unscheduled) and free.
Step 2: Action!
Actively invite people into the tent - to try their hand at anything.
Explain what they can do, and where, and give examples of quick little projects.
Mothers with young children are very receptive to a free activity like this.
It is amazing how open adults are open to this, as well - and even youth. Many are drawn to the "Meditation Table" with the adult colouring book images.
We set up the tables (& supplies):
1 for kids painting;
1 for kids assembling / glueing stuff;
1 for adults painting;
1 for adults (& kids) colouring book;
(& 1 spare - that's where the youth liked to hang out).
All of the tables were in regular demand, with some kids going from one to the next as they finished what they were doing.
Step 3: Clean Up...
All good things must come to a close and eventually you will have to inform people that the time is up.
Congratulations - You survived the confusion of an unstructured event, and you can bet you reduced a lot of peoples' stress levels - kids and adults alike!