Parenting Tips: Cheap Birthday Party Ideas

Hosting a child's birthday party doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

Nothing is more enjoyable than celebrating a milestone, especially when it involves children. Many of us have huge parties to celebrate the kids' birthdays, complete with clowns, helium-filled balloons and other expensive fun and games. However, you don't have to take out a second mortgage to have a birthday party. There are plenty of ways to host an enjoyable event without having to spend a lot of money. Read on for some tips on saving money on children's birthday parties. Invitations don't have to be a big deal. Print them out on the computer or use email. If the party guests are children from the neighborhood, invitations can be hand delivered.

Forgo the expensive entertainment: Young kids are scared of clowns and jumping castles and rock climbing walls are costly. Instead, why not use the same games that kept us entertained when we were youngsters? Pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs are still fun, and they don't cost a thing. Pinatas are a great party game that all kids like to play and they're not too expensive. They're easy enough to make as well. Directions on pinata making can be found on the Internet or in the library.

Location doesn't matter: A child will have fun at a birthday party whether it's in the pizza parlor, video arcade or someone's backyard. As long as there's good company, good fun and good food, it doesn't make a difference where the party is located. If you're not interested in having a house full of children and a mess to clean up later, try the local park or picnic area. Many of those sites charge only a small refundable deposit to hold a party - if they charge anything at all.

Who needs a theme? The party store people would love for you to think all your table ware and decorations need to be coordinated to follow some sort of theme, but this doesn't have to be the case. Regular paper plates and cups are less expensive than those found at the party store and more come in a package. Inexpensive bright colored tablecloths can be found in the dollar store for much less money than those at the party store or even the supermarket. In fact, a lot of decorating items can be found at the dollar store. Streamers, balloons, ribbons and other items are on sale there, and the price can't be beat.

Speaking of the dollar store: This is a great place to pick up goody bag items. The dollar store holds an amazing assortment of inexpensive novelties. In fact, the first place you should stop for any birthday party shopping is the dollar store. You don't need to spend a lot on edible goody bag treats either; home made cookies, boxes of raisins and inexpensive generic brand bags of candy are all decent goody bag fodder.

Let the refreshments be the entertainment: What child wouldn't enjoy a party where he could make his own edible treats? It costs a lot less to purchase the fixings for an ice cream sundae than it does to hire a cartoon character to take pictures for thirty minutes. Why not let the kids decorate their own ice cream sundaes? Or cookies? Or cupcakes? Or even pizzas? Chances are this type of party would be a big hit. Children can also make their own goody bags or boxes and paint, glue, color and sticker their own take-home containers.

Bake your own cake: Kids aren't choosy when it comes to sweets and none of them would make a fuss to find out you didn't purchase the birthday cake at the bakery. If you don't have a recipe, you can ask a neighbor or find some great ones at the library or on the Internet. If all else fails, there's no shame in purchasing a box mix.

There are so many ideas for inexpensive birthday parties; all you need is a little imagination. If you have a karaoke machine, host a karaoke party. Have all the children bring their favorite books and have a storytime party. Have all the children and parents bring instruments and have a sing-along; have a dress up party and have all of the parents bring fun clothes, do crafts, or have a water fight with water balloons or super water guns. Hosting a child's birthday party doesn't have to break the bank. All you need is an open mind. Remember: creativity and imagination don't cost a dime.

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