In our Primary, the kids make a "Happy Birthday" poster for each of the missionaries serving from our ward. It is so much fun to put together and the missionaries and kids both LOVE it! It takes only a bit of prep time to pull together and seems to get faster every time...because I never change the basic design. Call me lazy or call me smart. I choose smart.
I pick up 2 yards of butcher paper from the local craft store. I usually buy enough for a few posters at a time and just put a rubber band around each roll and keep it in the closet until I need it. Depending on the butcher paper, you may need to cut it down the side to make it a little narrower so it will fit on a door at the church.
Using a wide tipped black marker I write my message at the top of the poster and then draw candles along the bottom edge. Seriously this takes less than five minutes.
Now, using colored pencils, just scribble around the outer edge of each letter.
Any kind of colored pencils will work (although my daughter and I are partial to Prismacolor) or you could use crayons. Don't use markers. You'll go through at least one set with every poster you do!
Don't worry about being 'neat'. It actually looks better a bit sloppy...my kind of project!
Color in the candles along the bottom edge...
You certainly don't have to do 'candles', I used to do 'cupcakes' but candles
are much faster to draw and color.
I tape the poster onto a door just outside the Primary room and put a box of markers on a chair (just something inexpensive that won't soak through the poster and leave the birthday message on the door - like Crayola for example). I also post a note on the other side of the door that says, "Please use other door" so the kids don't get bowled over when the Sunday School class that meets on the stage gets dismissed.
Quietly pull the kids out three or four at a time until everyone has written a message. I don't usually pull out the Sunbeam's. With the Senior Primary you can just instruct them that as one child comes back in another one can leave, row by row until they're all finished. Anyone who walks by is more than welcome to write a birthday message and I always make sure that their family knows we're working on their missionary's birthday poster that week so they can write as well.
I purchase square mailing tubes from my local post office ($3.99) - round ones tend to be a bit pricey. Call their moms and ask what the missionary's favorite candy or treat is and put in a couple of small bags. Some missionary's like healthy snacks so you could add some protein bars or small bags of nuts or fruit rolls. Before closing it up I like to write a quick note on a PostIt inviting the missionary to send a note or postcard back to the Primary. The Primary kids don't know that I do this but they are THRILLED beyond THRILLED whenever a thank you note gets read to them in Primary. Sometimes we even get a photo sent back showing the missionary with their poster. Awesome!