Children’s birthday parties are always a big to-do with lots of ice cream and cake, and pretty party dresses. Then all the food has gone and you have 15 kids to entertainment! Doing this frugally could be a problem, but here are some few tips frugal moms can use when organizing a child’s birthday party that will alleviate the “What do we do now?” blues
1. Buy a large bag of balloons, but don’t blow them up until you’re ready to use them. Blow them up in front of the kids and watch their faces light up as they fight to be the first to get hold of a balloon. Let them toss the balloons around and have their own fun. But be prepared for lots of popping!
2. Check the local library for teaching DVDs. This could be anything from dancing to painting and anything in between. Sit the kids in front of the DVD with the needed supplies and see how long it takes them to join in. (Provide smocks if the video teaches something messy.)
3. Play games like musical chairs, or pin the tail on the donkey. Or try pass the package.
Wrap a small treat inside a small box, then place that inside another box with a little bit bigger prize and wrap it. Place that box inside another box with an even bigger prize and wrap that one until you have a large package filled with enough smaller packages for each child to get one.
Have the children stand in a circle. Play some music and let them pass the package around. Then suddenly stop the music. Whoever is holding the package gets to unwrap one layer and then they’re out of the game. The prizes don’t have to be expensive. The children will love the surprise of it no matter what it is.
4. Give them each a pack of colored pencils and hold a contest challenging the kids to draw something specific like a zoo filled with animals. Let the other kids vote for a winner who gets a small prize.
5. If the group is all girls, give them a selection of bright beads in a variety of colors and some thin elastic. Have them string their beads into bracelets or necklaces and tie the elastic in a knot so they can slip it on and off easily. Trim the ends with scissors.
6. Buy a set of face paints at the dollar store and paint each child’s face in a design of his or her choice. This is always a favorite, especially with very young children.
7. If you’re having a theme party, find a movie that goes well with the theme. Some movies are more obvious, like Spider Man if you have a Spider Man theme, but don’t be afraid to get creative. For instance, play Cinderella for a princess theme, or Finding Nemo for a deep sea theme.
8. Also look for crafts that go along with the theme. If you’re throwing a knight-themed party, have the kids make swords out of cardboard and tin foil. This is also a great way to recycle old cereal boxes, shoe boxes, etc.
9. If you live near a park or wooded area, take the kids outside and hold a scavenger hunt. Make a list of things they can find like specific flowers or leaves. Give a prize to the one who collects all their items first.
10. Either buy a toy bubble machine or small bottles of bubbles and watch the kids go crazy blowing and popping them. It’s amazing how much fun kids make with something as simple as bubbles.
11. Buy a plain, inexpensive baseball cap or T-shirt for each child and let them decorate their own. They can use almost anything such as glitter, stencils, paints, jewels, crayons, or beads. This is a great craft and activity because then the children get to take something that they made home with them.
Children’s parties can be a lot of fun for a little cost. Get creative and use your imagination to find ways for the kids to use theirs!
While birthday parties should be extravagant celebrations of the life of your loved one, they don’t have to be extravagantly expensive by any means! A little creativity goes a long way in making a great celebration using homemade decorations, games and more.
THEME: A birthday party where everyone shares memories and stories about the person who is having a birthday, and does their best to make them feel extra special on their “special day.”
INVITATIONS: Scan a photo of the person whose birthday you’re celebrating. Write “Come Celebrate NAME!” above the photo. Include the birthday party details (Where and When it will be held, How to get there, What to bring or not to bring, etc.) on the inside. Be sure and tell guests if the party is a surprise so they (hopefully!) won’t spill the beans!
DECORATIONS: Copy photos of the birthday girl or guy and make a collage. Hang streamers and balloons. Write HAPPY BIRTHDAY in bright letters on copy paper, or print them (one per page) on the computer and hang on the wall. Make pin-back buttons (you can get the forms for about 50¢ each) with a birthday photo and the words “I’m a Fan of NAME!” and have everyone wear one. Cut out crown shapes from cardstock, tape them together and make party hats for everyone to wear.
PARTY FAVORS: Create colorful bookmarks on the computer using the birthday photos or other colorful graphics. Print, cut out and cover with clear contact paper. You can even punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon or yarn bow.
• Buy packs of pencils or erasers, miniature notepads, balloons, plastic tops or rings, mazes and similar items at the dollar store. Add some “penny candy” – the kind that comes in large bags with hundreds of individual pieces – and fill a treat bag for each guest. For the bags themselves, you can use plastic zipper bags. Or if you’re hosting a children’s party, especially, have the kids decorate a brown lunch bag. Provide crayons, washable markers, and stickers. This makes a fun activity as well.
FOOD: Serve the birthday star’s favorite foods. Be sure to include cake and ice cream! For a frugal cake, bake your own. To decorate, tape a craft stick or clean popsicle stick to the back of a photo of the birthday girl or guy and insert in one corner. Write Happy Birthday in big, bold letters and add candles.
GAMES AND ACTIVITIES: Buy an inexpensive journal at the dollar store and set on a table with a pen. Encourage everyone to write some memories and greetings for the birthday person. If you have time, you can even pass the book around and get the memories in advance, then have someone read them at the party.
• Take an 8″ x 10″ photo and some funny mustaches cut from black construction paper and play “Pin the Mustache on NAME.”
• Save your yogurt containers and fill them with homemade play dough. Let everyone use the dough to make a sculpture of the birthday person. Give a prize for the best one, then let the guests take their dough home as part of their treat bag.
• Buy some inexpensive items like small stuffed animals, small toys, make-up for girls, etc. and hide them around the house or yard so guests can hunt for them. Whoever finds the item gets to keep it.
There are many ways you can have a terrific party for a child or adult without spending a fortune. Add your own creative ideas to these and make this party one the recipient will remember forever.