The best part about dressing up for a hippie-themed party is that you can wear round, rose-colored glasses. These glasses allow you to happily pick from the best of the era for your party and blissfully ignore the rest. In with flowers and beads and out with patchouli. Simple craft projects that capture the spirit of the time are appropriate for all ages and let your guests take home a party favor that won't get them in trouble with the authorities.
Ideally, you should have a field of daisies to romp in so your guests can pick the flowers for daisy chains. If you aren't so lucky, any flowers will do, even dandelions. Hippies did not spend a lot of money on flowers and neither should you. Make a little slit in the stem of a flower with your fingernail and insert the stem of the next flower. Pull until the flower head rests snugly against the first stem. Repeat until the desired length is reached and pull the last stem through the first slit for a chain. Your guests can make and wear flower wreaths in lieu of party hats.
No hippie is complete without at least one string of beads. Making beaded necklaces is adaptable for all age levels. For younger children, use yarn and pony beads, which are inexpensive, colorful plastic beads, in a variety of shapes with large holes. You can purchase kits that come with all the supplies or just provide string and a tray of mixed beads. The necklaces don't need clasps -- just make them long enough to loop over the head and tie off the string. Small bells are a fun addition to bead necklaces.
Tie dye is normally a time-consuming, messy affair unsuited for party crafts. Using permanent markers instead of dye makes it a simple process that's easy to clean up afterward. White bandanas, scarves and socks are particularly suited for this craft. Tie rubber bands around sections of the fabric, as you would for regular tie dye. Color the fabric with permanent markers, using up to four different colors. Put some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and lightly spritz the fabric items to mix and soften the colors. Let it sit for half an hour, then throw the items in a dryer to set the colors while the guests have cake and ice cream.
Small bottles of colorful sand art are a better and less psychedelic alternative for decorating a shelf than a lava lamp, with the added advantage of being easy to make for all ages. Purchase bags of colored sand at a craft store or make your own with beach sand and colored chalk. Use bottles and jars with lids. You can purchase bottles for the purpose or use old jam or baby food jars. A funnel makes it easier and less messy to fill the bottles with different colored layers of sand.
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