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Children’s parties on a budget

Children's parties on a budget

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Treating your little ones to a birthday bash doesn’t have to carry a high price tag. Cash-strapped parents are becoming increasingly adept at throwing children’s parties on a budget, and innovative ideas abound. If you’re looking for inspiration, read on!

Location Counts

Unless you are completely mad, you are unlikely to want 30-odd kids in your home simultaneously. The venue for your kids’ party is often the most costly part, so is the area on which you can save the most money. For summer birthdays why not host a Party-In-The-Park with simple outdoor games, and invest in a pop-up gazebo to act as a shelter for the food if you fall foul of a rain shower. For a winter ‘do’ you will need to be indoors – check out village and church halls – these are often spacious and with a little bunting and balloons can be easily transformed into something special.

A Question of Numbers

The sky will not fall in if you don’t invite every single member of your child’s class. Limiting numbers saves you money on food and drink, and could mean you only need to hire a small venue. If your little cherub goes into meltdown at the possibility of reduced numbers, and you are keen to keep up with the rest of the mob, the why not consider a shared party with another child in the class, preferably one that your child gets on with, as this will instantly halve all the costs involved.

Bring on the Cake

Instead of leaving the cake until the last minute, try making it the high-spot of the event. After all, the lovingly-crafted (or shop selected!) decorative creation deserves to be enjoyed – so often the cake gets squidged into party bags at the end of a sugar-filled afternoon, and probably never sees the light of day again before it hits the bin. Serve it as the dessert and let them eat cake instead of jelly and ice cream, saving you more money into the bargain.

Release your Inner Entertainer

Children's parties on a budgetKids party entertainers may be worth their weight in gold, but they don’t come cheap. Laying on your own entertainment can save you £££. Host a football party for boys where the Dads act as the coaches. Invest a few quid in a glitter tattoo kit and some face paints and you’ll have little girls scrambling to be first in line for a makeover.

Traditional party games have been overshadowed by flashy magicians and clowns, but they are still as much fun as ever if you pitch them right. The likes of Musical Statues, Musical Bumps, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and Blind Man’s Bluff are virtually free, and easy enough to organise if you can rope in the help of another parent or two. And Pass the Parcel is a perennial favourite than can keep the kids amused for ages.

You can also try a Mystery Prize game, where you hide small gifts or wrapped sweets in a bag of sawdust or shredded paper and each child takes a blindfolded turn at rummaging around to find one. Apple bobbing and skittles are great fun, and a cheap plastic duck fishing game in a bucket of water can keep children occupied and happy too. And any parent who has seen kids dancing around a bubble machine will know that this inexpensive hire can provide hours of fun for youngsters of all ages.

Bag it Up

The cost of party bags can quickly add up – those cute little bits of plastic that seem a bargain at 50p each aren’t quite so attractive when you have 27 of them to buy, and that’s just one of the favours you’re putting in. Sweets are a cheaper option, and sure to be a hit. Alternatively, making something during the party, like a mask, jewellery, or picture provides an instant party-bag filler for your guests to take home, and offers some entertainment too. If you can manage the mess, then icing fairy cakes is a fun activity for young kids, or decorating gingerbread men – both can be bought relatively cheaply and have the benefit of being edible too.

Ultimately your kid’s birthday party is what you choose to make it. We have become lulled into a mounting sense of responsibility to provide the biggest, best, most innovative parties for our kids. In most cases they are happy with what they get and will flop happily into bed at the end of the day, exhausted but content.



About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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