Planning a birthday party for your child? If so, the thought of competing with some of the extravagant events seen lately may have you hocking the family silver or facing a nervous breakdown. When you consider that many parents spend hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars for celebrity entertainers, bubbling Dom Perignon and caterers like Wolfgang Puck for a child’s first birthday celebration, it might seem “socially irresponsible” to do otherwise.
According to a 2011 ABC News report, parents are spending anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 on birthday party ideas that offer everything from lavish sweet sixteen parties to over-the-top circus parties for a one year old.
While parents and grandparents are busy planning the party to end all parties, some event planners caution that too many activities prevent guests from focusing on anything. Children have short attention spans, so having ten things going on at once can be a sensory overload for their little, bright minds, thus not being able to remember much from the party. It might be better to have one or two over-the-top performers or play stations rather than fifty, unless you have a party list that includes hundreds of guests.
You don’t have to break the bank to throw a spectacular kid’s party on a shoestring budget. It takes some creativity and planning, but you can do it. And if you really want to make it exciting, you can enlist your kids to help.
Choose a Theme
Capitalize on a shape, like circles or squares. Then, you just have to incorporate that theme into your decorations, games, and snacks. A circle theme could be a perfectly fun and easy choice—balloons, construction-paper polka dots decorating the walls, and bowls of ice cream with cherries on top. Carrying the theme throughout your party can be fun and inexpensive touch.
Your child might want Dora the Explorer themed everything, but licensed brand names can cost a small fortune. Try settling for something in between: Get the themed party plates but choose generic, solid-colored napkins, cups and bowls to match. Something as simple as this can save you big bucks, which you can most likely find at the dollar stores.
Be certain you have a complete shopping list before you hit the stores. When you go shopping, shop the generic options first and take advantage of the buy-in-bulk selections at Sam’s Club or Costco. Grab plenty of toppings to make vanilla ice cream dazzling.
Make it a DIY Project
Making your own decorations can be a fun way to be creative and the birthday boy or girl can help out! Everything that you can do yourself rather than purchasing pre-made, do it! WorkItMom.com explains how making invitations is a great money-saver. Birthday invitations designed by your kids are a special and memorable touch.
Let the Kids Plan it
There’s no better way to teach older kids the importance of a budget than to let them plan the party themselves. Why not give the birthday girl or boy a budget, a list of the things they’ll need and the things that are optional? Then, put them to the test and let them do the buying! They might just surprise you with startlingly innovative ideas and games.
When considering birthday party ideas, keep things in perspective. You won’t win your kids’ approval with party favors, gourmet meals or designer decorations. Keep it simple and remember that your relationship with your kids will leave a long-lasting impression than any party you could throw.
This is a guest post written by Annabella Clavette
Byline: Annabella is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor. She specializes in auto mechanics and the technology industry.