Kids parties on a budget: freebies and activities to make it a blast

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Caroline Stronkhorst in Baby & Parent

Last updated: 30 January 2020, 06:25 GMT

As a parent, you want to make sure your child has the best birthday every year. But sometimes there is not quite the budget to throw an extravagant birthday party. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure your child’s party fits within your budget. Here are some tips!

Find a free location

With any party, the location is often what puts the biggest dent in the budget. Hiring a party venue is pricey and they often come with add-on expenses!

If your child is lucky enough to have a birthday in the summer, why not throw an outdoor party? You can do this in your own garden or find a local park and do a big picnic. If you’re not blessed with good weather on the day of the party, consider throwing the party at home or a willing family member’s house. This reduces the costs significantly!

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Set a budget for food and drink: include the cake!

When it comes to the food and drink at a party, it is always tempting to over-buy. Sure, you don’t want to run out of pizza, snacks or drinks for every party goer. But make sure to set a clear budget before you go to the supermarket – and stick to this! Calculate how much food you will need for your group: this depends on the age of your child and their friends and what you are serving. Don’t buy wine or beer for the parents, but ask them to bring a bottle themselves if they are drinking! You can do an online food shop to make sure you stay within the budget and then collect it for free at your local supermarket!

With regards to the cake, steer clear from any fancy, expensive cakes. Would you be brave enough to try making a cake yourself? Nowadays there are lots of parents who run a cake-making business on the side, so have a chat in the playground  and see if anyone is willing to make your cake. With a friends-and-family discount, of course.

birthday cake

Create your own activities and decorations 

At your kids’ birthday party you will need some fun activities to keep them engaged. Instead of hiring an expensive entertainer, you can make your own activities! Play Limbo, Musical Chairs or the (fun!) classic Pass the Parcel.

If your child is a bit older and won’t enjoy these games, you can create a scavenger hunt around the street or town. All you need is some pen and paper! You can make it as exciting as you want, depending on your party goers ages. If you do not feel comfortable with kids going off on their own, you might be able to ask a couple of parents to escort each group.

If you are hosting your birthday party outside, why not put up a paddling pool with some sprinklers and a slide? This will keep children of all ages occupied for hours!

toddler playing

Find freebies for your party bags

Party bags are a fun way to say thank you to everyone who came to the birthday party. Sadly, it is almost ‘not done’ to let your party goers go home with empty hands! There are ways to keep your party bags within a low budget.

  • Don’t buy expensive bags: buy plain ones and let your child decorate them
  • Get your goodies from the pound store, ideally items that come in multipacks (like erasers, pencils, sweets and chocolates)
  • Make your own! A fun party bag idea is to put in a small batch of cookie mix. All you need is flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. You can buy all this in bulk at the supermarket. If it fits in your budget you can add some chocolate chips or M&M’s too. Divide the portions and put them into small bags, tins or jars. Add to your party bag and your guest can bake at home!

These ideas will help you save money on your child’s next birthday party! Whether your child is 2 or 12, you can make it a party of a lifetime without going over your budget.

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