Frugal birthday party ideas - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 09-11-2005, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is turning 4 this year and we just went to another 4-year old party today.
From the looks of it, it can get expensive with all the projects and take-home gift baggies and such.

I want to do a really fun party but also not spend much money at all.
What are some fun games we can do? Any other ideas appreciated too.
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#2 of 9 Old 09-11-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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My dd#2 is turning 5 next month and all she wanted was a party with a disco ball. So this is what we are doing: I bought a disco ball for $20 at Spencer's that lights up and spins, either hanging or it can be put on a table. We are clearing out one room so the kids can dance and dh is putting together a cd of good dance songs for them to dance to and burning it for each kid as a favor. We'll decorate with some colorful streamers and balloons. We are only serving cake and light snacks. I'm also thinking of having them paint pet rocks. That costs about $5 for a bag of river rocks from the local nursery since we have plenty of paint and brushes already.

So aside from the cost of the disco ball, which I'll probably use for my other dd's birthday at some time, it is probably about $1.50 per kid. For us, that is pretty frugal.

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#3 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 12:47 AM
 
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I just wrote about this somewhere else (TAO?), but for my boy's 3rd bday, we covered a table with butcher paper and supplied a ton of fun craft supplies. The kids made crazy art and it was really fun and cheap (all the craft stuff was purchased at the dollar store - construction paper, glue, pompom balls, glitter, pipe cleaners, buttons, macaroni, popsicle sticks...). For gift bags, I bought stuff from Party City which was also inexpensive - teeny paint sets, erasers, fancy pencils, little puzzles which were crayons, stickers). I think the total was less than $3 per bag.

Something I want to do when he's older is a garden party where the kids plant seeds (or bulbs?) in little clay pots to take home.
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#4 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 08:08 AM
 
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The single best thing I have beeen doing over the last couple of years is to keep a big plastic storage box (well, well hidden from the kiddos) throughout the year that I toss little toys and things I find during the year that would be suitable for loot bags, and other misc. party supplies that can be reused. This is all stuff that is really, really cheap, or freebie finds, odds and ends. Between 2 kids, it saves me a couple of trips to the dollar store (where I am always shocked at how much I end up spending!).
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#5 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 08:50 AM
 
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By not using the paper napkins, plates, cups, etc. you can save lots of money.

Also...do your own decor. Balloons are a cheap way to make the place festive.

Make your own invites.

I read somewhere else about this favor idea...use beach balls for decor....and then let each child choose one to take home...you should be able to find them on sale right now since it's the end of summer....

Another popular favor: you could make bath bombs or sidewalk chalk, etc. All can be purchased at the dollar store. I'd TRY to keep your loot bags to no more than a dollar...
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#6 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 10:30 AM
 
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Kids love to "decorate" their own food whether it be cupcakes/cookies/ice cream sundaes or homemade pizza and it serves as both an activity and food.
We usually keep things simple and if the weather is right the kids have fun just playing on the outdoor swingset/toys. Do you have a recycling center near you? Ours is stuffed with things that could be used as craft supplies to decorate crafts. One party we went to had all of the children decorate their own small tote bag and they loved it. Then they filled it with treats from the pinata as a take-home surprise.
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#7 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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for my kids birthday parties they are allowed to invite 6 people with a special guest for the other sibling to play with. So a total of 11 people. we try to keep our budget to $100.

I make the cake and often have cake toppers/decortations that double as a birthday present (figurines, action figures, etc)

balloons, crepe paper and cardboard cut outs for decorations

books form the library.

goody bags - use plain brown paper bags that your child has decoratated. we keep it somewhere between 41-$3 per child depending on whatelse we are doing.

games etc - kids prefer free play with props is what I have found. dress up clothes are usually a hit. and of course a god round os pin the whatever on the whatever is always fun for some reason.

My thre best and cheapest party:
Madelines 7th fiesta
pinata - we made it. there was some expense but we considered it a homeschool priject. favors were inside. favors were mostly candy and cost around $1.50 per girl ($20 total?)
food - our biggest expense but there were lots of left overs. we served tostadas, nachos and fak-a-ritas (cherry lime aid slushies with little straws) probably $40 all together.
decorations: around $20. I bought a lot at the dollar store which is a rip off. they are much cheaper and in bigger packages at hobby lobby and walmart. this included the pin the tail on the donkey game.
cake- same as if we hadn't had a party.
So $80. that was probably one of my more expensive ones since it involved food. Madeline and I made God's Eyes ( a traditional mexican craft) for decoration and sent them home as favors. I believe both yarn and popsicle sticks were left over from something.

and other wise they just played and painted thier nails with the stuff in the goody bags.

Pizza party for 5th birthday
went to papa murpheys and got thre pizzas unassembled. way to much we were eating pizza forever. the kids used about 1 large so $5. (thier pizza is cheap).
made a "pizza" cake but she would have had this without a party - it is so theme related I had to share
craft - painting aprons. got the pain on clearance and the arons were $3 each. so $35 total.
favors. we put a hand full of bubble gum and dum dums in a paper bag. $4. hey they got the aprons.
so kids were entertained, fed and took home a favor for $45. 10 kids. woohoo!

Pirate party for 4 year olds (5 kids - we had a second party for older kids later in the day)
They recieved paper pirate hats that we made from construction paper and loot bags we made from black fabric and ribbon. white crayons did lettering on both. and an eye patch. $7
decorations- ballons and streamers $3, cardboard whatnot and tape $5 We used large peices of cardboard to make a ship facade that we taped to our front porch. hung old curtains from the food to make sails. it was awsome. I also made some other boats out of smaller boxes. we used black ballons for cannon balls. here is a picture of the big boat and a smaler one. it isn't great. we also made a pirate flag for dd. It was cheap and easy. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...pirateship.jpg
we had stations set up around our yard where they would go to look for "booty" and hear a story. at one they dug in the sand for gold coins ($3 for the bag. kids were pulling gold coins out of our sand box for months afterward) and gold coin candy $4, station two was bubble island. we filled the pool with bubble bath and put in pirate rubber ducks. they had to find the one with thier name on it. the neighborhood kids had a blast with those bubbles for a good week. the ducks were $15. and tehy got a bottle of bubbles $2 and then to the porch where we had a pirate battle and the winner got the treasure chest (made from card board - there is actually a book with all the cardboard pirate stuff and there is one fr princess stuff to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
) and got to hand out treasure to everyone. jewls ($1) and suckers $1. tehn they just played and played.
Oh I almost forget. they each made thie own pirate flag. Ihad skull and cross bones already cut from white paper and they glued them to black paper in thier own design. this was essentialy free.
so for 6 preschooler we spent around $40-$45 and they went home with bags overflowing with loot, pirate flags, balloons, and dress up. the books were the big hit and best use of time though.
Later that night we had some older friends who would have been board to tears at the baby party or who helped with the babies (reading stories and passing out treats and construicting the card board stuff) for a movie and pop corn and supper. we have an industrial pop corn popper so that was free more or less for a garbage bag full of popcorn, hot dogs and uns were about $4, pop was about $2 and the movie rental $3 but doesn't count because i had been an awsome hostess and put together the playmobile pirate ship. kids or not I deserved a couple of hourse oogaling Johnny Depp.
So big kid party $10 for 8 kids. no loot. leftover cake. :LOL poor kids. they did get to eat pop corn until they hurled though.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#8 of 9 Old 09-12-2005, 07:00 PM
 
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I keep an eye out all year for goody bags and then tell (well told, since he was 3 last May) my son what we were going to do. I figure that if I can get tood enough stuff he'll be on board. I have a stash to last us more years than I'll admit to. Target 90% off sales are my favorite place. Last Easter I got Lego Easter baskets for 90% off ($2 each). They weren't fantastic (not worth $20 by any means), but for the price, I got a yellow metal bucket, little pack of Legos (the size that is usually free if you buy a bigger one), Lego shaped chalk, and a Lego puzzle. For another year, I got Lego bottles for .40 (90% off at T) -- although I may throw these in with the other Lego stuff. I have a bunch of smaller stuff, too, like Duncan yo-yos (90% off), monster jam cars, etc. for a treasure hunt.

For this year, we doing a transpo theme. My dad got a bunch of transpo vehicles free at a garage sale for decoration. I got (90%) 2-5 packs of Easter themed cars to make the invites (race to DS's for his b'day party), and his goody bag will be remote control cars (the remote is a vest that the children put on) that I got for free from Toys R Us. Not the most PC -- made in China, but better than throw away stuff and something his friends would love.

We make our own cakes and do inexpensive decorations, as others have said. Family Fun has a website with tons of ideas.
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#9 of 9 Old 09-15-2005, 04:41 PM
 
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We've done a couple of parties at the park and are getting ready to do another one.
Basically the biggest expense was the cake!!!
I bought a pinata and filled it with candy and goldfish crackers and let the kids fill thier own goody bags. That was the only planned activity so to speak. The rest of the time the kids played in the park on the equiptment.
I had a mom tell me just yesterday that of all of the parties her son has been to, he has only talked about the party at the park he went to for our son!!! That made me feel pretty good because I thought we might be jipping him.
Take care!
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