We love being invited to friends’ Big Birthday Parties. Parties at rec centers and bouncy house places and places with ziplines and princesses and swimming and things. But our four kids have birthdays within a three-month period (for a while we have a birthday every two weeks), so if I did that here, I’d be broke and certifiably insane by Christmas.
And so we have our parties at home (except, on occasion, when I let one of the older kids pick one friend and do something special). And we have them on the cheap, people. Cheap. Here are a few party ideas that keep the cost down:
1.) MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE
Thanks to Pinterest, you can make just about anything (including these adorable lion cupcakes. Ahem.)
2.) INVITE FEWER KIDS
Our rule of thumb is to invite the same number of kids as the party person is years old. So our three-year old had three kids at her party, etc. It’s both cheaper and easier on younger kids, who won’t get overwhelmed by too many people.
3.) PLAY OLD-SCHOOL GAMES
Sometimes, I think we make things hard on ourselves. Pin-the-tail on the donkey is just as much a hit now as it was thirty years ago. We’ve also done backyard races and small crafts kids can then take home as their party prize.
4.) USE WHAT YOU HAVE
We pull out my wedding china and Thanksgiving dishes for birthday tea parties. We’ve done obstacle courses outside using our normal outside toys. We decorated for a “Cars” themed party using all the gazillions of “Cars” toys already all over our house. If your child loves something enough to have a themed party, you’ve probably got toys that you can use to decorate.
5.) DON’T DO GOODY BAGS
I say this both as a cheapskate, and as the person who has to sneak around throwing away all the cheap, plastic crap the kids bring home from parties. Don’t waste your money. Give out something small and consumable — like chocolate-dipped pretzels, small packages of sidewalk chalk (buy a large container and then put just a few pieces in a cute package), crayons, etc. Or do a craft and have kids take home the result.
When I talk to my kids now about what they remember from their birthdays, it’s almost always little things. Little things I may not even remember, but they do. Parties don’t have to be huge and expensive to be fun and memorable.
For more party ideas:
Do you have tips for keeping party costs down? I’d love to hear them in the comments or on our facebook page!
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