Kids love birthday parties! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make their celebrations special, either. An opulent extravaganza can be phenomenal, but most kids are entirely satisfied with a fun day that doesn’t break the bank as long as it includes friends, interesting games or activities and sweet treats. On my blog, Spaceships and Laser Beams, I specialize in parties; that means I have tons of ideas to help you plan yours! A birthday party theme, decoration supplies, a cake, favors and imagination can create all the celebration a kid could want.
Creating a great atmosphere doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of darling options online, including many free downloads.
How to decide your budget friendly party theme.
One of your first decisions for a party needs to be a theme. Most kids have a revolving list of favorites: favorite books, activities, movies, characters, colors. Somewhere in that list is a good idea for a party theme. For example, your son is enamored with superheroes. Let that be your theme, but create your own superhero with whatever super abilities you want him to have. If you don’t focus on a trademark character, you’re not tied to specific images and their ensuing costs.
Invite others to join the budget friendly party fun.
Make a guest list and send out invitations. A phone call or electronic invite costs nothing except time. If at all possible, I really like sending invites via the postal system because it jump-starts party anticipation when kids receive their own mail. Make invitations with a theme related picture of the birthday celebrant (in costume?) or decorate a post card with themed drawings or stickers. Personal hand delivery works, too!
Fabulous Decorations on a Frugal Budget.
Decorations do add to party excitement and there are so many options! Remember that color and texture combine for an interesting party environment. Here are a few ideas to prime your imagination:
– Make a table centerpiece you can use again for decorations in your home. This beautiful DIY trunk would be a great option.
– Multiples of anything can add wow without being expensive. For example, picture a room full of balloons; hang them by ribbons and straight pins from the ceiling, tape them to a wall, tie them on curtain rods.
-Make a table backdrop of pictures of the birthday child in the shape of their age. Repeat that age image around the room, in a variety of sizes and colors.
-Does your girl like flowers? Use newspaper or old book pages and paint to create oversized blossoms and transform your space into a giant garden.
-Does your son love cars? Use newsprint or cardboard to make large silhouettes and lean them against the walls and arrange them on tabletops.
-Raid your child’s toy box for ideas, too, and build on that. Perhaps your child has a lot of stuffed animals; use them as the basis for a woodland themed party. Tree images are easy to do in cardboard or paper.
-Shop your home and see how many items you have in a specific favorite color—take yellow as an example. Use plates, napkins, balloons, knick knacks, balls of yarn, toys, even items of clothing—all in yellow—and arrange everything to produce a sunshine bright party.
-Hang blue and green crepe paper streamers for an underwater effect. Giant, colorful paper or cardboard fish and sea creatures are easy to draw and will make the kids feel like they’re under the sea.
-If you don’t have a tablecloth that matches your theme, use gift wrap paper to make a colorful table runner. You’ll have a lot of choices. Another idea is to use brown kraft paper or even newsprint (remember to tape down edges under the table). Embellish with giant polka dots and segments of curled ribbon. You can also provide cups of crayons or (washable!) markers and let guests use their imaginations to draw pictures that go with your party theme.
Delicious Dining Options.
There are way too many activity and food ideas for me to describe here, but generally if it’s possible, tie in party activities and food choices with your theme. To use my earlier superhero example: make an obstacle course with play tunnels, mountains of pillows, and cereal box buildings. Your food choices might include “muscle food” or “hero mix”.
And speaking of food, you do not have to provide a full course meal at a birthday party! A cute cake or cupcakes will satisfy young guests. A limited menu is also easier on the budget. Include nuts or cheese sticks or other simple finger foods if you wish. Remember that food that can be eaten out-of-hand is the most kid-friendly.
Party Favors for a Budget Friendly Party.
Sending party guests home with a favor is a common practice nowadays. A favor can be as simple as a shaped cookie in a baggie decorated with a small picture of something that corresponds with your theme. A trip to your local dollar store is also likely to provide options, or you and your birthday child can hand make small gifts to share, too.
The most important thing to remember about throwing a party is that kids are likely to reflect your attitude. If you are grumpy and griping about not being able to buy a lot of cool stuff, your child is going to pick up on that. The converse is true, too: excitement about creating a one-of-a-kind party for your one-of-a-kind child will help them feel special and produce happy anticipation for the celebration. You’re building wonderful memories for your kids and it doesn’t take an unlimited bank account to do that!
About the Author: Stephanie Keeping is mom to a boy named Sam, a blogger, and an Etsy-preneur. She celebrates boyish charm at Spaceships and Laser Beams, where she talks about all things boy and birthday party. You can connect with her on Facebook, Google+,