Birthday Party Dilemma? Try a Milk Jug Jam Party!

My daughter’s birthday was coming up and I needed to find an activity that would be interesting to a group of six to twelve year old girls. Here’s the challenge: I wanted to do something out of the ordinary and inexpensive … or ‘cheap’ if you prefer!

On the plus side, my daughter loves to be crafty and I encourage her to use her imagination. So, together we came up with the idea of a ‘Milk Jug Jam Party.’

The Milk Jug Jam Party

Milk Jug Jam Party

For a few weeks before the party, I cleaned and saved our Hiland Dairy milk jugs. I also kept an eye out for interesting crafty items that were on sale so I could stock up. In lieu of a cake, we planned to use pudding, so I bought several flavors and made sure to have two gallons of Hiland Dairy Milk on hand.

We sent out invitations to our ‘Milk Jug Jam Party’ which certainly sparked some interest from the other parents!

When the girls arrived for the party, I had them pick their pudding flavor and make their own batch—which we then set aside in the fridge to cool.

Milk Jug Jam 1

Then it was on to the craft…

Each of the girls got a milk jug and three rules:

  • Think of something to make out of the milk jug. (I told them they could make whatever they wanted and that the only limit was their imagination)
  • Use any of the craft materials on the table. (This included all of the craft materials I already had in my house, plus the new craft items I had stocked up on over the last few weeks)
  • Get messy and have fun! (I really believe that messiness breeds creativity because it allows kids to ‘create’ without being careful…and while the mess had me a little crazy, it was all easy to clean up)

Then, we pumped up the music and I let the girls go crazy. I was surprised that everyone immediately knew what they wanted to do and there were very few ideas that overlapped. We had everything from a skateboard to a piggy bank to a birdhouse, one girl even did a fairy house.

Milk Jug Jam 2

I was in charge of the hot glue gun, but other than that, the girls did everything on their own and it was a huge success. They had so much fun singing and helping each other think through problem-solving—like how to make a bird perch or how big a fairy couch should be—that they needed very little guidance. It was really an adorably-awesome sight.

When we set our masterpieces aside to dry, everyone got a pudding sampler platter for dessert. (FYI, the clear winner was the cheesecake pudding!)

Milk Jug Jam 3

All-in-all, the party cost me very little and it was perfect for my daughter and her group of friends. It was clever, creative and a little silly, just like her!

Want to try this at home? Here are a few tips:

  1. If you are going to use paint, make sure you test it first. Some of the washable paints I tried would flake off of the milk jugs after they dried.
  2. You’ll need to set the milk jugs on something that will hold them up while they are being painted. Paper towel holders work great, as do wine bottles or a cone made of stiff construction paper.
  3. I gave the girls a few tips at the beginning but offered as few suggestions as possible. This allowed them to work more with each other and look less to me for guidance.
  4. If you have any lactose-intolerant or milk-allergic children at the party, you can always use use a Hiland Lactose Free Milk, or Hiland’s Soy or Almond Milks to make the pudding, and a Hiland Dairy Orange Juice gallon container for the child to ‘jam out’ on.
  5. It can get pretty crazy with a lot of kids, so keep the party to a manageable size…and call in friends as party helpers.