Every birthday celebration is special for your child, whether it’s an extravagant gala with pony rides or a traditional party. Following are tips for organizing a fun-filled party for your child without incurring a huge expense.
Make Your Own Invitations
Let your child design his or her own invitations. If you’re planning a party with a lot of attendees, have your child design a flyer with the party details, make copies of the flyer and mail them out. Or, make the invitations together on your computer in a word document or via the Internet. Visit the following sites for information on creating your own birthday invitations for free: Blue Mountain, American Greetings, EZ Cards, and Hewlett-Packard (conduct a search for “birthday cards”).
Mix Generic and Themed Party Decorations
Your child probably won’t realize or care whether you’re using plain-colored napkins or Barbie cups. Consider letting your child select one themed-decoration, such as splurging on the cake plates, then select solid-colored cups, napkins, etc. that match the party theme. Find inexpensive birthday party decorations at party supply stores, such as Party City.
Make the Cake Yourself
This is another area kids aren’t too particular. It’s a party as long as there is cake. Your child won’t care if the cake is your own homemade version or was purchased from a fancy bakery. In fact, it is less expensive and more fun to have your child help bake their cake. Let them have fun mixing, spreading the frosting and even decorating the cake. Also, find inexpensive, do-it-yourself cake decorating kits online at The Party Works, Birthday Direct, or Birthday Express.
Make a Piñata
This is another fun birthday item your child can help create using the following materials you probably already have around the house:
Large balloon or beach ball
Paste (mix 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of cold water, stir into 2 cups of boiling water, simmer for about 3 minutes, then cool)
Drag newspaper strips through the paste; wipe off excess and place strip diagonally over the balloon. Repeat, layering the strips slightly until the entire surface is covered except for a small area where you can deflate the balloon and fill the piñata with goodies (cover this area with tape after filling it with treats). Let the piñata dry for at least 24 hours then add your own decorations, such as paint, streamers, or make an animal face using construction paper and other items.
Or, make a less messy version out of a paper bag. Fill a large paper bag halfway with treats, roll the top down and staple it closed. Decorate the sides of the bag with colored paper, streamers, add funny eyes, etc.
Host the Party Off-site
Compare the cost and effort involved with hosting the party at your house versus somewhere else. Fun birthday settings include:
Fire Station or Police Station Tours
Paint Your Own Pottery Studios
Organize a Treasure Hunt
If you opt to host the party at your place, keep the kids busy with some art activities, have them decorate their own cookie or cupcake, go on a treasure hunt, or play some fun party games such as:
Pin the Tail on the Donkey (or an animal of choice)
Bean Bag Toss
Duck, Duck, Goose
Water Balloon Volleyball
Ask for Help
Ask family members to help set up and clean up, make a dish to bring, or bring the balloons as part of their gift.
Use What You Have
Sort through leftover decorations from previous parties to create a fun party theme. For instance, maybe you have enough materials to host a luau by decorating with beach gear, having the children dress in beachwear and giving them an inexpensive beach ball as a party favor. Or, consider a girl’s dance party where the girls could wear their favorite dance outfit or princess costume, play some freeze dancing, etc. Or, consider a boy’s super hero party where boys wear a super hero costume from last Halloween or create a cape to be Batman. Hire someone for an hour to make super hero muscles out of balloons and paint the boys faces with spider webs, etc.