Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Birthday Party Fun on a Limited Budget

This is a guest post by Nancy Evans, a freelance writer who enjoys writing about money saving and families.

Planning your child's birthday party can be a lot of fun. You want to provide a fun memorable day for not only your special birthday girl/boy, but the guests as well. Think back to your childhood. What did your favorite parties contain? I am going to assume you hit one too many piñatas for any of them to really stick out.

In this economy, it's not about keeping up with the "Smith" family as much as it is about using your creativity to make this day special for all of those on the guest list. Having a completely free party is not possible but a budget party that includes a homemade cake, ice cream and some reduced-cost or free activities is certainly within reach.

Take your child's interest, and turn it into a theme for the part. For example, Jessi is into art, so that gives us the option of using "art" as the pivotal piece of the party. Art is a simple theme that allows children the option of art-related activities, which just so happen to be pretty cheap for the part planners. Instead of just whacking a piñata, have the kids make their own piñata’s. Fill these handmade items up with candy and let them take turns whacking them with a stick, or allow them to take them home as a cool bedroom decoration and souvenir.

There is no need to rent a huge party space and spend hundreds of dollars for bounce houses and all of the extravagant things that get kids excited. The truth is, kids are excited by a number of things and not all of them are expensive. Design activities around everyone so that each child feels included, and watch them have a blast doing things like: playing freeze tag, having a water balloon fight, or playing pin the tail on the donkey. "Fun" and "low cost" aren't mutually exclusive. Remember that when planning your next party.

If you are lucky, your child has a birthday that falls in warmer months so that you can have an outdoor party. Outdoor parties tend to lend themselves to cheaper activities and the ability to host the party in a backyard or at a park. For those of you that aren't so lucky, it's time to get creative.

One of the best ideas I recently heard was a treasure hunt theme. I was talking to a lady at the park and she was planning a party for her youngest child. A lover of all things pirate, she did her research and came across a company that specializes in these types of parties. The best part was, they were extremely reasonable on the price.

Indoor parties can be done on a budget but it forces creativity. A pizza party at your local chain is good, but letting the kids make their own pizzas is even better. You can find aprons and chef hats for a few bucks at your local dollar store to complete the pizza party motif.

Take that a step further and buy some iron on letters and put the names of the guests on the aprons. This is not only a way to insure they return home without stains, it is also a treat for them to take home. Make the decorating of the pizza a contest. Encourage creativity; they can use the cheese to add hair, pepperoni to make a face or whatever their minds are able to come up with.

Regardless of what theme you go with, remember to take into account what the birthday boy or girl likes as well as remembering that the guest are going to want to enjoy the festivities as well. Nothing can put a damper on your child’s birthday more than a party pooper. Plan plenty of activities to fill the time and one big activity that will double as the theme the party is built around.

Above all else, have fun!

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