Sunday, July 12, 2009
How to host a fun kid's birthday party for less than $60
As I was getting ready for my oldest daughter's 11th birthday party last month, I realized that I had become somewhat of an expert at inexpensive, fun kid's birthday parties. I don't think this is a talent that I have always possessed, but something that I developed over the years of being a grad student's wife. Here are some things I learned that have helped me to plan fun parties without spending a bunch of money.
1. You don't have to spend a lot of money to host a party that your kids will enjoy and remember fondly. Sure, a clown, pony rides, and inflatable bounce houses are great, but are not necessary if they are not in your budget.
2. Don't go crazy with the party favors. These can really add up especially if you have a lot of guests (see # 3). Most party favors are going to be taken home and thrown away in a few weeks anyway. I usually do a bag with a small toy and stickers related to the theme and some candy. The candy is probably unnecessary since the guest with be having cake, but it helps fill up the bag without adding much to the cost.
3. Limit the number of guests. Since party favors can really add to the cost of the party, limiting the number of guest can really help keep the cost down. Another option would be to skip the favors altogether. Yes, they are tradition, but not required. Also, lots of guests mean buying more plates, cups, etc.
4. Don't host the party at meal times. Having to feed the guests a meal can really add to the cost. Host the party from 10am - 12pm or 2 - 4pm. That way there is no need to buy food for a meal. the food cost is limited to the cake and maybe a drink.
5. Don't go crazy with the decorations. Some balloons, streamers, and something to represent the theme is you have a theme is enough.
OK, enough tips, here is exactly how I hosted my daughter's 11th birthday party for less than $60. First she made her own invitation:
This one is hand written on card stock with stickers (the theme was a garden party). I have also made invitations on the computer.
Then we made the "cake"
Because it was a garden themed party, we made dirt dessert with pipe cleaner flowers from a kit Sierra got for Christmas.
And we decorated
Sierra made the flowers using an idea from a fairy book she has and we hung some balloons and streamers.
We also bought some cut flowers to go with the theme.
And we sprinkled some lavender flowers from our garden on the table. In the bowl are scented sachets that Sierra made (another idea from the fairy book). We already had a party favor idea, but she really wanted to make these.
We planned some games and activities. I usually try to plan three.
The first activity was painting pots. This also doubled as the party favor.
We planted petunias in the pots at the end of the party and sent them home with the kids.
Activity #2: Pin the Bee on the Flower game
Activity #3: Garden Charades ( I think Kali is pretending to be a worm...)
Then is was time for cake.
That's it. Total cost - just under $60.
This is everything I bought -plates, cups (we had forks), tablecloth, cake ingredients, pink lemonade, cherries to go in ice cubes for lemonade, balloons, streamers, card stock for invitations and decorations, fabric and ribbons for sachets, bouquet of flowers, poster board for Pin the Bee game, pots (we already had paint and brushes), potting soil, and petunias.
The kids had just as good of a time as they would have had if I had spent lots more. Well, maybe not if there had been pony rides...
* I have gotten many of my activity ideas from http://www.birthdaypartyideas.com/ Other themes I have done include fairy, princess, ocean, zoo, Hawaii (before we even knew we were moving there), panda, beach, Hello Kitty, Sesame Street, Wonder Woman, magical land, ladybug and butterfly, and penguin.