Six tips on planning a fun kids party without spending a fortune
Kids’ parties can be expensive. Trust us, we know.
Thing is though, they don’t have to be. Especially if your kids are at an age when they still don’t really have any specific requests.
Most kids are happy as long as their friends are there, something fun is happening, and they get cake.
Of course, if you’re having a party for all their friends/classmates, some money has to be spent but it doesn't have to be extortionate.
Here are a few ways to keep costs down.
1. Make the cake yourself.
This may seem like an obvious one but if you want a quality cake for a cheap price, then it’s crucial.
You don’t have to be an amazing baker for this. A simple sponge lathered unevenly in icing will always do for kids.
My mum used to make an ice-cream cake for my parties. Now, she is very good at baking cakes, but as far as I can remember the ice-cream cake was just vanilla ice-cream spooned into a cake-tin with jellies and chocolate thrown in all over the place.
And it was brilliant. Every time.
If your son or daughter has a friend whose birthday is around that same time, why not double up?
A lot of parents want to keep each birthday as their own baby’s special day, but if you’re up for sharing and they’re up for sharing, why not? It means the whole experience for half the cost.
And if you get on with the other parents you have a guaranteed friend to chat with during the party.
A tip for this though – make sure each child gets their own cake and Happy Birthday song.
3. Don’t have a venue party.
You know what we mean. In our day it was Leisure Plex or the Fitzone, nowadays there are a whole host of options out there.
Those parties can be fun, of course, and I used to love going to my friends’ parties, but I never used to want one there myself.
In my opinion, if you have enough space, a party at home can’t be beaten. You just need a little imagination.
4. Create your own entertainment
Don’t hire a magician or a clown or any entertainment because let's face it, it's pricey.
Instead, make up your own games. Play the obvious ones like musical chairs or pass-the-parcel, or maybe do some arts and crafts.
A treasure hunt is always a great idea – it passes a lot of time, the running around builds up an appetite, and it encourages the kids to work together to solve the clues.
For the littles you can stick around the house or the garden and as they get older you could even venture a bit farther afield.
5. Cut down on the numbers
We know that there is a pressure sometimes to invite a big gang or an expectation to ask anyone that has invited your child to their party. But a way around this is to keep the party small as if your son or daughter are just having a few friends over.
One idea is to have a themed sleepover with your child's closest friends.
Let them do things you might not allow on a normal sleepover, like staying up that bit later or having a midnight snack.
When I was young, I took a page out of Jacqueline Wilson's book Sleepovers and pitched a tent in the garden.
They're little things that don't cost much extra but for your kid, they will make the difference.
6. Choose your party-bag fillers well
Party bags are one thing that it's hard to get around for a birthday party.
Now if you really feel like it's an expense you want to cut, that's completely OK. Ultimately it is your child's party, which you are throwing, so don't be doing anything or paying for anything that you're not comfortable with.
If you do decide to go for the party-bags though, here's a tip - quantity over quality.
Party-bags are for the kids and they will be much happier with a bulging bag of stuff that won't last than an empty-looking bag with a really nice gift inside.
So, when you're picking your fillers, go for the cheap things. Buy big bags of mini-chocolate bars or sweets that will stretch between all of the party-bags, and get a few little toys that only cost a few cents.