Children's birthday parties frugally and responsibly - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-11-2008, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
Patrick's mummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi all
I thought it might make a good thread to think about how to do a children's birthday party frugally. My ds1 was 5 recently and we are having a party for him this weekend. My frugal ideas so far.....

- We only just started having parties for him at age 4, before then just a meet up with friends at the park..
- We are having a joint party with a friend who has an August birthday so halving the costs
- Homemade birthday cake
- Homemade games e.g. pin the tail on the donkey, decorating cupcakes (homemade), outdoor play
- Borrowing plates and cups from friends so that we don't need to buy paper plates
- Saving banners/tablecloths etc from previous parties to reuse them

I'm sure you mamas have more - care to share them?
Patrick's mummy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-11-2008, 07:13 PM
 
msjd123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Los Angeles, unfortunately
Posts: 715
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick's mummy View Post
Hi all
I thought it might make a good thread to think about how to do a children's birthday party frugally. My ds1 was 5 recently and we are having a party for him this weekend. My frugal ideas so far.....

- We only just started having parties for him at age 4, before then just a meet up with friends at the park..
- We are having a joint party with a friend who has an August birthday so halving the costs
- Homemade birthday cake
- Homemade games e.g. pin the tail on the donkey, decorating cupcakes (homemade), outdoor play
- Borrowing plates and cups from friends so that we don't need to buy paper plates
- Saving banners/tablecloths etc from previous parties to reuse them

I'm sure you mamas have more - care to share them?
I highly recommend water play and a "painting table" in the shade. We went to a birthday party with both (paint first, water after) and all the kids had a blast!

Oh, and we're pretty low-key with birthdays ourselves, so I just use colorful vintagey-looking tablecloths for tabletops and for picnics, instead of birthday-specific decorations. That, a vase of flowers, and a roll of streamers go a long way for us!
msjd123 is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 07:16 PM
 
nathansmum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,327
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Instead of doing party/loot bags (if you do that sort of thing) you could do a planned activity where the kids get to make a craft and take it home.

For my ds's 4th birthday I made plain and simple capes and bought some fabric paints for the kids to paint their own cape to take home (had adults on hand to dry them with the hairdryer). Then we did a pass the parcel where they all got a mask to go with it to add to their dress up box.

It's a Delight-Filled Life.
 computergeek2.gif 
 

nathansmum is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 07:22 PM
 
Amys1st's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,322
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Having done my 6 yr old dd's bday in June, here are some pointers for kids under 7:

I had the party start at 1:30 and didnt serve a meal. I have been to so many parties and hosted parties where I end up throwing out more food than the kids eat I didnt see the point. I served snacks such as goldfish, pretzals etc and veggies and cut up fruit plus a lemonade area that the kids drank dry.

I had invited her class since it was in my backyard = we have a sandbox, a rianbow system (bought secondhand and perfect) and other things to play with and its a rather large one. I also could invite the parents to stay if wanted and younger siblings could come as well and did.

I had pin the tail on the donkey, 3 legged races, egg relays etc planned and it was a bust. They all just wanted to play play play and they did and had a great time.

I did have after happy bday (splurge- chocolate cake from locally famous place dd's request. 2 cakes were $40 total) Adults and children alike ate up the cake and a few asked for seconds. After that we did a pinata that was home made. It was fun to watch all the kids waiting for that stupid thing to bust open. In the end, my 40 yr old brother had to bust it (like parenthood) but to watch 35 kids nosedive into the lawn was fun.

Added- my friend whose dd was invited did face painting (mercurious from a coop), I hired a balloon man and his son. He recently was laid off and wanted to get back into this for fun and would only charge me $50. I gave him that in cash and his son $20. I made him promise though to charge more for gigs he booked off of it! He was the highlight.

So our carnival theme was great, not too too expensive but there are ways to cut corners and the kids still have a blast. two kids told me it was the best party ever.

One other thing- I particpated in a chico bag coop and used those as goody bags. MAde sure everyone all kid aged had one (they picked the color) before the pinata and that plus prices they would have won playing had we played were put in the chico bags. I have had 3 parents call me about these bags since. I have to run a coop now so they can buy them.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
Amys1st is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 07:24 PM
 
Pinoikoi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Earth
Posts: 9,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are doing more and more activity birthdays also. Ds1 (10) wanted to see Prince Caspian, so we took our family and two friends to the movies. Not very frugal, but I think we ended up not costing us too much because 1) we were planning on seeing the movie in the theater anyway so it really only cost me two more tickets than I would have spent in the first place. and 2) ds only got one "gift" from us- no fight either he new the film with friends was his real present

Do you have a family pass to the zoo? Ours does not allow plastic lids/straws/balloons, etc., but within that you can have a picnic on the grounds.. I could see having a cake and a picnic before going around to see all the animals. This year I had won some free zoo tickets and was gifted some museum passes, so we had a lot of free activities this summer that I could definately see tying in with a party. (Our sealife center is free every 10th of the month as it is their 10th anniversary!)
Pinoikoi is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 10:50 PM
 
hammys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I bought some end of summer clearance dups and dishes at CVS about 8 years ago and ever since they've been the birthday plates. I got ten of everything and it all ended up costing around 10 bucks. I'm sure many stores have plenty of the summery dishware lying around when they're trying to get their back to school stuff out so that's the time to invest. We do cupcakes instead of a cake and have a couple types of toppings so the kids can make their own (sprinkles, choc chips, bunny grahams)

I gave up on any kind of structured activity after the first year when I learned that water + anything that will hold water was all I needed to entertain ten kids for two hours.
hammys is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 10:55 PM
 
Jilian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,040
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We just had a party for DS1 and DS2 and I made all of the decorations. It was a lot of fun because he loves arts and crafts. It was family only and they loved seeing DS1's art. We made as much as we could from scratch too. We ended up doing a cold cut platter and I bought the cold cuts and set it up myself. It cost less than half of what our grocery store charges for a cold cut platter.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
Jilian is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 11:26 PM
 
jentilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: napping in SC
Posts: 711
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We did and art party for dd when she turned 3
I made aprons for the kids and stuffed cheap back to school sale crayons in the pocket. Fabric was purchased 40% off.
We had a painting table with 40% off stuff from AC Moore.
I also made playdough. Two hour party kids had a blast. WE always reuse decorations. Kids take home ballons as well.

When she turned 4 we had an oldfashioned b-day: decorated pumpkins, musical chairs, shoe swap, pin the tail on the donkey. I splurged and bought face paintinhg penicls (taht we can use over and over) and we decorated faces. Bought cheap prizes and made necklaces for teh girls pirate patches for the boys.

This year we are doing a tea party with cakes, sandwiches, the works. I'm still planning, but I love parties and I usually don't spend much at all..mostly labor! DD friends talked about her party for months. I've been to some REALLY boring parties with her.

Birth Photographer mom to four blessings
jentilla is offline  
Old 07-11-2008, 11:53 PM
 
dolcedaze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northern NY
Posts: 278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammys View Post
I bought some end of summer clearance dups and dishes at CVS about 8 years ago and ever since they've been the birthday plates. I got ten of everything and it all ended up costing around 10 bucks. I'm sure many stores have plenty of the summery dishware lying around when they're trying to get their back to school stuff out so that's the time to invest.
We did this a couple years ago, too. We keep all the picnic dishes in the "party box" with reusable birthday banners and things like that, and pull them out for every event where most people would use disposable. It's always so nice not to add dishes to the list of expenses!
dolcedaze is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 01:54 AM
 
Belleweather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The Heart of the Heartland
Posts: 3,197
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Um... any brilliant ideas for those of us in the north with winter birthdays?

My oldest is turning 3 in late November this year and has enough close friends that I'd like to have a "kid party" for him, but we have a very small house (and there are some accessibility issues, since one of his friends uses a wheel chair and there's stairs and no accessible potty at our house) so I don't think we could do it here. I can't count on snow, so sledding is out (plus, tough with younger siblings). I'm trying to think of something inexpensive and fun, but I'm not coming up with much.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
Belleweather is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 04:43 AM
 
Bird Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,289
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The accessibility issues make things more complicated. Do you have a local Y or non-profit gym that holds kid parties? (Although really, that might not be too much fun for someone who's disabled anyway...) We just attended the 1/2 birthday of our good friend's 2.5 year old--her actual birthday is the day after Christmas, so it's hard to summon the requisite birthday cheer. A half-birthday makes for better weather, that's for sure.

Our daughter is having her 6 year old party this weekend. We've gotten her trained, by this point, to look forward to a backyard party, and we have a rule that you can invite as many friends as you are turning in years. I buy art supplies in August at the back-to-school sales, and always check into closeouts and sales for low-cost but high-quality party favors. This year, we're making photocopies from a Dover Press coloring book (flower fairies and elves) for a craft project and giving out colored pencils ($.25 per box, purchased 11 months ago) and little glass jars of "jewels" (smashed glass marbles, like those used in floral arrangements). The glass jars were the favors from a family member's wedding; they came full of jellybeans, and all of my family members gave me the jars to re-use for birthdays. I may spring for some stickers as well, but maybe not--I have to see what other little treasures I have lurking in the birthday box.

I get a lot out of throwing great parties--we've always been gratified to see families staying far longer than the "planned" time-span, and the parents of DD's friends always stay and have a good time. We cut costs by hosting it ourselves at home, even though our house is less than 900 square feet, and by keeping my eyes open all year for items cheap enough to give out as favors. Mainly, kids love to have fun, so if you put out something messy or something creative, or something unusual, they will flock to it, and everyone will have a good time. And we always keep the numbers down--it's easier when you have a summer birthday to avoid the whole-class party--I honestly have no idea how to have one of those inexpensively without having it feel like a mob scene.
Bird Girl is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 03:08 PM
 
ILoveMyBabyBird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,486
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We're having ds' bday party next Sunday along w/his cousin.

The main thing i can think of: email invitations instead of sending them in the mail. I did that with 80% of his invitations this year.

I try to avoid cheap plastic MIC toys for the loot bags. I am doing mainly candy, and since couponing, i have gotten a lot of soaps and such for free so i will be putting those things in the bags

I got white lunch sacks for the bags and will either decorate them myself or let ds color them, or maybea little of both. There will probably be enough for next year too.

I have a big family so we're talking 40+ people at the party, so combining w/my sisters son is saving a lot of money.

supermod.gif semi crunchy single student super mama to DS 7wave.gif and DD 3shy.gif. Falling in stillheart.gif with single super dad superhero.gif to DD5kissy.gif and DD2energy.gif 
ILoveMyBabyBird is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 04:49 PM
 
crunchy_mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Missouri
Posts: 5,936
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am digging all these ideas as I have a birthday party to plan for, very, very soon. For goodies I had kind of planned on going to WalGreens and stocking up on little notepads, pencils, markers etc they are going to have a lot of stuff for 5c each.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
crunchy_mama is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 05:02 PM
 
Katie Bugs Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post
Um... any brilliant ideas for those of us in the north with winter birthdays?

My oldest is turning 3 in late November this year and has enough close friends that I'd like to have a "kid party" for him, but we have a very small house (and there are some accessibility issues, since one of his friends uses a wheel chair and there's stairs and no accessible potty at our house) so I don't think we could do it here. I can't count on snow, so sledding is out (plus, tough with younger siblings). I'm trying to think of something inexpensive and fun, but I'm not coming up with much.
DD has a December bday, so I feel your pain. My biggest tip is to call around (or ask around) for a room to rent. Churches, community centers, libraries, etc., often have rooms that are available fairly inexpensively. Once you have the space, you can use the frugal tips that the pp suggested.

IIRC, we paid about $100 for the basement of a local church for 4 hours. That's not cheap, but it was substantially less expensive than having a party at Chuck E. Cheese or Pump It Up or any of the other indoor options that are available around here.
Katie Bugs Mama is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Knittin' in the Shade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: near Philly, PA
Posts: 4,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
we're having the newly 9 year old's birthday party with his friends at the community pool that we have a memebrship to. He's invited 8 of his friends, 4 of which also have memberships so we don't have to pay for them We're doing it on a monday night, when it's half-price guests, so the 4 kids I have to pay for will be $4 instead of 8. I'm making a baseball cake (square homemade cake, with green colored icing for the outfield and crumbled up graham crackers for the infield, and chiclets for bases) and I'm making pizzas to bring up for dinner. Goodie bags are brown paper lunch bags with homemade cracker jacks, a pack of baseball cards ($1 each on eabay) and little hack sacks I crocheted to look like baseballs. I already had everything on hand to make the cake, cracker jacks and hackey sacks, so total $$ output was for cheese for the pizza, the baseball cards, juice and the admission. I've spent less than $40 and it's going to be a super fun party!!
Knittin' in the Shade is offline  
Old 07-12-2008, 10:50 PM
 
ewp11100's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Tied down in MD, feeling restrained
Posts: 1,159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
choc covered frozen bananas!!!
Fun, messy and CHEAP

Erin Mama to thing 1 and 2 WAH with CELIAC?! Living and Learning
ewp11100 is offline  
Old 07-13-2008, 01:48 AM
 
2 in August's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,362
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentilla View Post
This year we are doing a tea party with cakes, sandwiches, the works. I'm still planning, but I love parties and I usually don't spend much at all..mostly labor! DD friends talked about her party for months. I've been to some REALLY boring parties with her.
When we did a tea party, we went to goodwill and got cups and saucers and spoons really cheap. The kids used them at the party and got to take them home for the party favor. I also got two tea pots (one for apple juice and one for water) at goodwill and we kept those as dd's party favor. It was a ballet tea party so we got tulle and ribbon on sale and made tutus for the girls and there were 2 little boys and I found vests for them at goodwill too. I made mini-muffins, tiny sandwiches, grapes and apple slices and instead of a cake each child got a cupcake and they each had a candle to blow out. Dd had a fancy 4 candle and the others just had a plain party candle, we served them on a silver tray. Also I had scooped out the ice cream into foil cupcake papers ahead of time and so the ice cream scoops were on another platter to hand out. We had it out on our deck with the big umbrella up. The kids loved it and loved that they got to take home so much of the party stuff. I doubt that I spent more than $50 for everything.
2 in August is offline  
Old 07-13-2008, 01:52 AM
 
lifeguard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Coyote Rock Farm
Posts: 6,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
For the winter birthday: do you know anyone who lives in an apartment or condo - they usually have free access to party rooms & you could host it there.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

lifeguard is offline  
Old 07-13-2008, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
Patrick's mummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, we had ds1's party yesterday (aged 5) and it was a big success.

We hired the local community centre for $16 (provided we cleaned up afterwards and emptied bins, vacuumed etc)

The weather was good so the kids could just run around. Balloons seem to provide hours of entertainment for $4!

I made the food as the party was 11-1 but shopped at Aldi and did homemade cupcakes and birthday cake. I didn't want to end up with lots of food wasted/leftover so I was very careful in the amounts I made. It all went but I don't think anyone was left hungry including the adults. I think in total I spent $36 on the food and it was nice healthy stuff - grapes, strawberries, cupcakes, sandwiches, barbecue, cucumber and carrots etc plus juice.

I bought each child a little set with stampers and stickers for $1 which was the "party bag" so that was nice to give something fun but not pollute the world with more plastic bags. The kids looked a little surprised but pleased.

So, all's well that ends well. I'm interested to see the winter parties tips as ds2 is a winter baby, although he's only 2.5 and I don't start doing parties til age 4 at the earliest! (Frugal and lazy!)
Patrick's mummy is offline  
Old 07-13-2008, 11:56 AM
 
Hey Mama!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: MO
Posts: 2,903
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
We are doing a ice cream sundae bar for dd's birthday on the 22nd. I will have it at a local park at 7pm. No messy house to clean up and I don't have to feed the guests a meal. The "entertainment" is the sundae bar and the playground at the park. I'm going to make a pan of brownies instead of a cake. I haven't bought any supplies yet but I don't foresee spending tons of money on this party. Last year for her birthday I spent $75 on food alone.

student/sahm to three awesome girls who are always on the go!
Hey Mama! is offline  
Old 07-13-2008, 12:34 PM
 
CompostMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: W/my family & all that matters!
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I always have a "stash" of birthday stuff around.I get very cheap plates/napkins after a holiday ex: Valentine's day(I have 2 girls)and save then from yr to yr. I never have to go out and buy a bunch of party junk. I go the Michael's on occasion and hit their clearance rack and get some insane cheap party bag/prize stuff. I make any decorations personalized on the computer (never buy any- except 1 reusable generic Happy Birthday banner that I have had forever) Homemade playdough is easy and you can make homemade bubbles and homemade finger paint for cheap. The bubbles are always a big hit. I really like the idea of letting them make a craft to take home as their party favor. That rocks! I also like the paper bag idea but let each kid decorate their own to take with them or put their craft in with their names on the bag so no mix ups- will be using a lot of the great insite this coming year for birthdays.

Thank you guys! Ya'll rock!
CompostMom is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 03:10 AM
 
Mama2-4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Nursing my little sweetie!
Posts: 1,211
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
: We are having ds1's 6th birthday party this week, keep the ideas rollin!
Mama2-4 is offline  
Old 07-14-2008, 08:34 PM
 
medaroge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,120
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think all those ideas sound great!
medaroge is offline  
Old 07-15-2008, 11:49 AM
 
Stone Fence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 1,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:

I love these ideas. Keep 'em coming!

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
:
Stone Fence is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off