I don’t know about any of you, but I had a blast planning and throwing birthday parties when my kids were young. However, the one thing that was always a struggle, especially since I was a SAHM, was money. Why in the world does everything cost so much money?
I began to use my creativity to plan and execute these parties. It became a sort of challenge for me to see how fabulous (for the kids) I could make these parties on as little money as possible. Now – total honesty here, I don’t have many quality pictures of these parties. Sure, I have the standard – birthday kid w/cake and maybe opening some presents, but 15-20 years ago I didn’t know I would want other photos for something like this. So alas, what I do have had to be scanned and most likely out of a birthday scrapbook!
Now not all of these ideas I’m going to share will be a perfect fit for every child. And not all of these ideas will be fit for today’s culture, as my kids are now grown and grew up in a different decade, but feel free to read through these and maybe they will spark your own creativity or maybe you can adapt to today’s culture. This was also before the introduction of Pinterest and Dollar Store Crafts – type of sites.
All I really know is, while all my kids are currently in their early to mid twenties, they will still share stories from some of these birthday parties. And that warms my heart, because at the end of it all… my goal was for them to have a party with friends and loved ones making memories and celebrating their day!
Bright, fiesta colors in $1 table clothes, plates, napkins, utensils and cups are easily found at your local dollar store or Walmart, You can even use the $1 table cloths to make decorations. Use your imagination and get a little crafty!
Pinata – We got ours at WalMart and filled it with a huge bag of candy for very little! Luckily we had a tall Shepherd’s Hook in our back yard that we hung it on and just let the kids use a bat to swing at it.
If you do party favors (sometimes we did, sometimes we did not) you can check out sites such as Oriental Trading and Rhode Island Novelty for inexpensive trinkets and fun items to either decorate with or use for party favors.
2. Super Hero
So easy! We did a super hero party for my son and all kids were invited to wear a super hero costume or make and wear one! Even just a simple piece of fabric, bed sheet, or old table cloth can be made into a cape!
Party City has great decorations, favors, plates & napkins; just be sure they fit into your budget. You can always use the dollar store or finds from the Target Dollar Spot or even WalMart to create the look you are going for.
3. Spa Day
My girls always loved a good spa day so it was natural they would choose to have their friends over for sleepover birthday parties to do spa activities.
My mom would come over and help me “treat” each girl to a manicure. The Dollar Store was our “go to” for party favors and all of the beauty essentials.
4. Shopping Mall
This one my youngest still talks about to this day and she is about to turn 21!
She only wanted 5 of her closest friends over for a party and a sleepover so my other 2 kids and I turned the house into a shopping mall.
Each “store” was in a different room in the house. I used the Dollar Store and Oriental Trading to purchase the stock for the “stores”.
I used the computer to make and print out currency for them to use with my daughter’s name on it and each party participant was given money and a shopping bag when they arrived. In the pet shop they could adopt animals, so I also used the computer to print adoption certificates they could have filled out when they chose their animal.
Another bright colored – fun party! Like a fiesta, using brightly colored $1 table clothes, plates, napkins, utensils and cups is easy and inexpensive party decor.
The dollar store almost always has luau-type decorations and favors including leis and grass skirts each summer making it even more budget friendly!
We have a pool so that was an easy entertainment solution, especially for a luau!
OK so this is totally dating my kids and myself, I mean do they even make Bratz Dolls anymore? Even if they don’t or your young one is into a different, more current cultural icon, this can be adapted to almost anything.
So plain and simple, we chose solid colored decorations (plain colored plates, napkins, etc.). Each party go-er was invited to bring their favorite Bratz doll with them and had a photo op at the end of the party with the birthday girl and their dolls.
I also took a piece of poster board from the dollar store and drew a Bratz doll, colored it in and hung it on the wall for a “pin the lips on the Bratz doll” game! They had a blast and it turned out fairly cute. Easy peasy, super inexpensive fun for the night.
This could not be any easier. A group of kids, a back yard, soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, plenty of playtime and inexpensive decorations from the dollar store and WalMart = party success!
A breaktime with birthday cake just long enough to rest and then back at it for playtime, and the birthday kid as well as party go-ers will all sleep well tonight!
8. Party at the Park
Perhaps one of my favorite venues to hold a kids party other than our house was the park. You can rent a pavilion or picnic area if you would like or want to be sure you have a spot, or you can just take a chance that there is enough space for all the park goers that day. (not gonna lie, we did this quite a few times)
Out of all the times we had a party at the park, most often we would show up early to “set up” and snag a spot fairly close to the park playground with multiple picnic tables. We also would bring our own fold-able banquet table and lawn chairs. Balloons, streamers, etc.
Playground = instant entertainment
Park = means we wouldn’t have to limit the number of friends invited.
That made this an easy and very affordable party every time!
There are many more party ideas out there. Some more affordable, some more creative, but the point is: the kids will remember the memories, not how much money you spent trying to make their parties ‘Pinterest perfect’. It is about being together, celebrating the birthday kid, and adding to those childhood memories they will cherish for years to come.
Have a lovely day!