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Thread: Spinoff - kids' birthday parties
04-09-2008, 03:59 AM #1
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Spinoff - kids' birthday parties
The thread about the handwritten birthday invitations got me thinking.
How about a thread about inexpensive party idea for kids' birthday parties?
I live in Holland and birthdays here are a BIG thing, in that they are almost always celebrated with at least a get together of friends (doesn't matter how old/young you are - it is celebrated).
For my kids' birthday I invested time and a minimum of money.
They still talk about these parties and about how much fun they were (they are now 17, 19, 20, 23 and 26).
I have done every sort of party varying from a little girl's tea party with dainty sandwiches and tiny cakes up to a boy's 'horror' party (that was SO much fun and it was suitable for the age group).
The sweet sixteen (if you can call it that for a boy) of my boys was celebrated at the local field hockey club. We got the clubhouse for nothing IF we bought the drinks there. We did - with a limitation of 4 drinks per person. We were allowed to bring our own food - which we did. Again, all of our kids' friends still talk about that party and it definitely didn't break the bank. BTW we also managed to get a well-known DJ to do the music for almost free (a friend of our oldest son).
The kids loved it and my budget for the home parties for about 10 kids - sometimes more kids and sometimes less - was always about $40 and that was usually including dinner. The clubhouse parties were a bit more but never very expensive.
Of course there were always families that went over the top for their kids - how about hiring a bus for 40 kids and taking them to Disneyland overnight, which meant 6 hours in the bus there and back. (Don't even get me started!!)
I KNOW it can be done - a great kid's party for little money.
What are your best ideas?
04-09-2008, 09:14 AM #2
I don't know but since I started the original thread I would love to know some tips! This is obviously the first kids party I am planning!
04-09-2008, 04:27 PM #3
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Well I know my kids are older but gee are people really that worried about what people think of your kids party? As long as that birthday boy or girl is smiling and happy, who cares? I always enjoyed planning the kids parties, and I'm thinking the most fun ones didn't cost me very much at all. I always made cupcakes or an ice cream cake, when they got older, a doll cake. Always used white cups,plates, and napkins, and then accented with colored balloons and streamers. One of the best was when my DH dressed up as a clown and gave out balloons and candy, another time I brought men's white tee-shirts and fabric paint and they all got to make a sleep shirt to take home. Another time they all made wind socks as their take home gift. The party doesn't have to be hours long, just keep it fun. Home-made sundaes were another hit that I just thought of. It's been years, and as they get older it is harder, but not impossible, pizza parties, movies parties, oh, and the dreaded sleep-over parties. LOL, I always found getting the B-day kid involved is good, sometimes they want is much less than we think they do. We're the ones who add the stress to it, relax and have fun, and most of all, take lots of pictures, we still laugh at some of those treasures.
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04-10-2008, 07:40 PM #4
We always had dd's at home and the theme's varied from year to year but the constant was english muffin pizza's (kids made their own) and DH and DD each year handmade a pinata unicorn, lion, tiger, elepant and filled it with candy and I always held some back and spread it out on the lawn for the smaller or less quick kids so that they would not get left out. One year I had an 8 year old tell me that it was the best birthday party she had ever been too just because I cared enough to make sure everyone got candy and little prizes and they didn't get pummelled in the mele (my words not hers).
As my daughter got older we traveled to a beloved midcoast town and fished off the dock and caught crabs with chicken or squid, fed seagull, picniced and went to the flea market. She is 21 and this is still her birthday of choice.
Last edited by LuvMyHubby; 04-10-2008 at 07:42 PM.
04-11-2008, 11:13 AM #5
Oh we've done a lot of different things.
My oldest has a late November birthday, just after Thanksgiving. So, they always had to be inside and usually attendance was spotty because of the holiday.
We had bowling parties and skating parties (these were not really that expensive). We had a LOT of sleepovers with various themes depending on the age. One of her favorites was when we rented a room at a local hotel with an indoor pool and allowed all the girls to swim and sleepover in the room!
My youngest has a mid-September birthday that coincides with our County Fair Week each year. Every year, no matter what else we may do, she and a couple of friends go to the fair together for her birthday. We've had parties at the park, the lake and in our backyard around our fire pit.
Keeping it frugal and fun usually meant I made party favors, treats and decorations. I shopped at the dollar store a lot. I made my own games for them when they were little. If I had time, I made their cake and decorated it myself (I have all the stuff and the know-how).
A lot of it depends on the age group and what their interests are at the time.
04-11-2008, 12:13 PM #6
I've always made our pinatas too. They cost next to nothing to make, and if you keep your eye out for candy sales (after Valentine's day, Halloween, etc...), they're cheap to fill.
Older boys usually enjoy gross or messy games. We played a game where two kids partnered up. One would have shaving cream piled on his head, the other stood behind a line and tried to throw Cheerios into the shaving cream. The team with the most Cheerios that stuck won. Obviously, it was an outdoor game. Afterwards, the kids had a water balloon fight. We also had a timed food eating contest (hands behind back) that was a big hit.
The parties where I tried to be creative and think outside the box were the most fun. The Tightwad Gazette has ideas for cheap birthdays too.
04-11-2008, 01:10 PM #7
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I have found that as my kids got older (past about 12) they preferred to just have one or two friends stay the night and do something. For my younger ones (and the ones who were younger) we've done a princess party~dressed up, played pretty, pretty princes and I made a castle cake, car parties ~I got big boxes and we turned them into cars with paint, made a race car cake, for my summer birthdays ~we've done water olympics or gone swimming and had homemade ice cream cake, basketball parties~they played basketball and we had a basketball cake, movie sleepovers, makeover/beauty parties. I think the common denominator for me was -make the cake/food/snacks and find inexpensive crafts. I've never done 'goodie bags'. They either got their craft or stuff from a pinata to take home. I also am not stingent about what has to happen. If they're playing fine by themselves I don't interfere. If they need guidance I jump in with prepared games. Have a long list of these, sometimes you need it. Also, I always tell parents to pick up 1/2 hour before I really need them to go. Late parents drive me crazy.
04-11-2008, 03:03 PM #8
I loved doing my kids parties...
I had tea parties, spa parties, pirate parties, sleepovers, but the best one was an outside "water" party. Had water balloons, squirt gun games, a pool cake and cook out. The cost for each was minimal. I had each at home, did all the food and decorations myself.
My business caters to the excessive birthday parties. I do more elaborate cookie favors for baby's birthdays than anything else-OH! A cookie decorating party is a good, inexpensive one also!
My niece, who is almost 3 was invited to a neighbor's b'day party. It is going to be held at a spa/beauty salon. The little girl is 4. Can you see a super sweet 16 episode in her future?
11-03-2008, 01:13 PM #9
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I am so struggling with this right now. My son is turning 4 on Nov 25 and it seems the thing for 4yr old parties is to have them at party places, and the entire class gets invited (23 kids) The three we have been invited to have been held at a duck pin bowling alley, a gym type place and a farm.
I'm just thinking outloud but if I had the party at home I would still have to supply food, thinking hotdogs, cake, maybe ice cream, and some type of entertainment, even done frugally it will probably cost me $100-$200. Granted I can't fit that many kids in my house and at this age parents tend to stay so I would have to limit the guest list but what do I do with these kids??
I like the idea of them making something and then that is their "gift" so no need for "goodie" bags.
11-03-2008, 02:13 PM #10
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You probably won't like this advice, but I'd have a small party for maybe 3 or 4 of his good friends and leave it at that.
11-04-2008, 10:08 AM #11
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I do like your advice LOL! Thats the way it will more than likely play out. I really don't want to get sucked into the you have to invite the entire class AND have it at a party place. I mean they're turning 4 for petes sake!
11-10-2008, 10:17 AM #12
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A decision has been made. Just family and close friends for a total of 21 people. I'll make appetizers, a crock pot of soup and some nice bread and then cake & coffee. Probably offer beer & wine and I think I'll make one spiked and one unspiked punch.
This past weekend I went to Job Lot and was able to pick up paper goods on sale for $.16 a package. Wahoo!! There was an entire wall of Pirate themed plates, napkins & cups. Lucky for me my son was just a pirate for Halloween. So I picked up 4pkgs of big plates, 4 pkgs of small plates, two pkgs of cups and two pkgs of napkins for a total of $1.92. I still have to get table clothes and party hats but I'm so psyched about the paper goods!
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