How to plan your child's party on a budget

It's easy to get carried away when it comes to your child's big day, but you don't have to spend a lot to have a memorable party. Here are some easy ways to throw an inexpensive party that will thrill your child.

How to plan your child's party on a budget

Low-cost invitations

Children love to make their own birthday invitations.

  • If they have access to a computer, they can design and print as many invitations as they need.
  • Older children can email them to save on paper and postage.
  • Or you could photocopy or print a photo of your child onto a card and write a message by hand on the back. This also works for thank-you cards or photos.

Inexpensive party entertainment

Hiring a magician, juggler or face painter can be expensive, starting at around $150. Party games that you organize yourself can be just as much fun for younger children and cost next to nothing.

  • Classic games: Old favourites, such as musical chairs, blind man's bluff and charades, don't require any special equipment and are perennially popular.
  • Dressing up: Children love dressing up, so put a selection of colourful clothes, hats and shoes into a large box and let them create their own costumes, with a prize for the best. Visit a charity store for cheap items.
  • Treasure hunt: Write clues on slips of paper and send the children off to hunt for treasure in your house or garden. Older children might prefer a supervised scavenger hunt in a local park. Covered candy and dollar-store trinkets are fun to find.

Simple ways to combine food and fun

You can provide free entertainment while using some of the snacks and treats you were planning to provide.

  • Doughnut bobbing: String day-old doughnuts through a length of string and hang them across the backyard, spaced evenly across. The first child to eat the whole doughnut without any pieces falling wins a prize.
  • Jewellery: Make candy necklaces and bracelets by feeding fruit loops through lengths of string licorice.
  • Building blocks: Bags of miniature marshmallows and a box of toothpicks can be used to build houses, spaceships and animals. The kids can all work on one large project or make individual ones and take them home.
  • Baking: Kids love to bake, and there'll be a mess to clean up regardless, so why not let them bake their own birthday treats? You could also have them make their own mini pizzas by providing pitas and having them create faces or designs from the toppings you provide.

When planning a party, ask kids what they want (it may surprise you!) and keep them involved. Imagination counts more than the amount you spend and if you follow these tips, you won't be spending much!

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