How to Throw a Simple, Budget-Friendly Birthday Party for Your Child
Once upon a time when we were young, our birthday parties consisted of friends coming over to play and possibly sleep over. We had a blast, and our parents didn’t have to bend over backwards to create something extraordinary for us.
Things are different today. Children’s parties have become elaborate events as parents try to provide the best experience they can, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s how to plan your child a birthday party that’s not a pricey, over-the-top, Pinterest-inspired event meant for Instagram.
Parties are costly to host at a venue. You’re looking at hundreds of dollars just to rent the space and have a staff member assist you, and you may still have to bring in your own food and decorations. An alternative option is to host the party at home where you can invite as many guests as you want, or ask a friend to host the party if your home doesn’t have enough space.
Choose a theme that isn’t costly to create. A Star Wars theme will require you to buy costly licensed decorations, but a jungle theme can have any sort of green/brown décor with plants and animal decorations sprinkled about. A princess party can be made simpler by making pink popcorn yourself instead of buying it, and setting up a crown-making station for the girls to make their own royal accessories to wear with their dresses.
Many parents are lost on how to decorate for a party, so they turn to Pinterest for ideas and Amazon to find the supplies needed. First, you will need lights to illuminate those pretty decorations. Eye-catching string lights are inexpensive and loved by kids. This pretty accessory can be placed indoors or outdoors, in case you are hosting the festivities in your backyard.
Next, protect your table with colored plastic covers. Decorative covers will save you time when it’s time to clean up. Buy a pack of balloons, spray some glue, and sprinkle glitter or confetti onto the balloons. Do the same with the cups, giving each cup a unique design or color combination so each kid can keep track of their drink.
Use colored construction paper to make decorations that can be hung or draped. You can find things like matching napkins and plates online.
When did we decide that children weren’t capable of having fun with each other and, therefore, needed an entertainer to guide them? You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on hiring children’s party performers. Instead, let the kids play dress up and perform a show, or give them games to play. You can participate as well by dressing up as your child’s favorite character and donning a lace wig to complete the look.
Games and Activities
Games don’t require any special frills. You can put out some balls, bubbles, and a kiddie pool and let the kids go to town. “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” and piñatas are timeless classics. Board games that you already have at home will also keep the kids entertained.
If you’re hosting a sleepover, choose budget-friendly DIY activities like building a fort, putting together a scavenger hunt, or making homemade glowing dough. Let the kids spend time in the backyard at night by settling them in to an outdoor movie screening with bowls of popcorn. While you’re outside, have them observe the night sky with the help of a few cheap telescopes, a constellation map, or a smartphone app. Stargazing is an entertaining way to teach kids about astronomy outside the classroom.
Serve no-fuss foods only. If you host the party from 2 to 5 p.m., a meal isn’t expected. The food you serve doesn’t have to be catered, exotic hors d’oeuvres, and fancy punch in a crystal drink dispenser. You can serve finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers, apples and peanut butter, celery and hummus, cookies, apple juice, and lemonade. And your cake doesn’t have to be made by an upscale bakery.
Bake your favors instead of buying. Cookies, brownies, and homemade chocolates are cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods or plastic trinkets that no parent wants to see their kids bring home. Better yet, why not use an activity to make favors and fill two needs with one deed? Let the kids decorate their own cookies that they can bring home, or set out ingredients to make slime.
Before you plan your child’s next birthday party, ask yourself if it’s for them or for you. A cake, some friends, a fun time, and some special treatment are all your child needs. You can easily do this while keeping your sanity and your wallet intact. Let’s go back to simpler times when parties weren’t so expensive and when there wasn’t so much pressure to plan one.
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