Birthday Parties on a Budget – guest post

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Princess C’s birthday is coming up. Next week actually! I’ve had so many ideas run through my head, and I still don’t know which idea to run with. It’s hard having her birthday so close to Valentines Day.  I’ve thought of having a party just for her. Or having a Valentine’s party and inviting some of Princess V’s friends as well. I don’t like inviting friends over and having them feel like they have to buy a present. Maybe I should just call it a playdate. Or we could do what we did with Princess V. Mark and I take her out to dinner and an activity, just the three of us. Perhaps we’ll do that anyways. I really don’t know yet. 

Check out these 10 great ideas for some Cheap but still Fun birthday party ideas from Molly at Live-in Nanny

  1. Pool party: If you are lucky enough to have a birthday in the summer then it’s a great time to have a pool party for your birthday. Bring two dozen colorful helium balloons with weights on them. (Inexpensive weights can be made by adding some play sand to balloons and tying a knot.) Bring coordinating paper plates and napkins from the Dollar store. Go early so you can grab a couple of tables and cover them with inexpensive plastic colorful tablecloths. Make your own cupcakes topped with crushed graham crackers and a paper umbrella. If you’d like you could take some pretty pitchers full of fruit flavored water with fruit floating in it. Budget: $50
  2. Ladybug party: Cover round tables with red table cloths and set out round black plates. You can find red napkins with black polka dots and these would be cute, but would cost a couple dollars more than plain ones. Use red cups and decorate them with black punched out circles. Serve pink lemonade with lady bug cupcakes. Make your own cupcakes and frost with red frosting and using black licorice you can make the wings and you can make the spots with some black icing or M&M’s. You can play pin the antennae on the ladybug (draw your own or buy at the Dollar Store.) Play freeze tag outside or musical chairs inside. Play pop the balloon with red balloons with black polka dots. Blow them up with air and then each child has to try to pop the balloon by sitting on it. Budget: $40
  3. Tea party: Have everyone meet at the food court at the mall. Cover all of the tables with inexpensive pink table cloths. Set the tables with cute plates and cups. Serve pink lemonade and little sandwiches. Simple baby carrots and grapes can round out the little lunch and then bring on the tiny treats. The fun thing about a tea party is to have little bits of several things. Mini muffins or mini cupcakes, small cookies and maybe some butter mints in little paper cups will make a fun dessert course. Decorating with some pink helium balloons that can be sent home with the kids when they leave the party is a great favor idea. Budget: $50
  4. Sports birthday party: Wal-Mart has a great selection of plates and napkins for $ .97 each along with matching tablecloths too. So you’ve got $5-$6 in with the paper goods. Make a cake in the shape of the sports ball that is the theme. Footballs, soccer balls, or basketballs are easy. Juice pouches go on sale for less than $2 for 10. When the kids get to the party break up into two teams and play the sport that you are there for. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand and small paper cups for quick drinks. Bottled water is not necessary for this because most of it will just get wasted. Once the game is over serve the cake and drinks. If you still have time, play some old fashioned games like Duck, Duck, Goose with the kids in a circle or Red Rover, Red RoverBudget: $20
  5. Under sea party: Truly a fun party to throw. If it’s for a girl she could be an undersea princess like Ariel and they could wear tiaras. You could send all of the kids home with a live goldfish. At the discount store you can get buy goldfish for $ .19 each. If you’d like you can also buy a little glass bowl for the fish at $1 ea. You can play pin the eye on the goldfish or clown fish or whatever fish. Your child can help draw fish to decorate the walls and some inexpensive green streamers hanging from the ceiling as sea weed and you are all set. You can show the movie Finding Nemo or read the book version. The kids can dance around to music from the movie and do the fish dance. The cake can be a fish that is made using an 8” round cake and part of another round cake for the tail. Frost both pieces together and use candy or frosting to decorate it like a fish. If the child can help with the cake it will be even better. Budget: $50
  6. Curious George party: This could really be any monkey party, but if you do Curious George you can read a Curious George book or play one of his videos. You can pin the tail on the monkey (see a trend here?) You can dance around like monkeys. You can have this party at the park and play on the jungle gym and act like monkeys. You can serve bananas for a snack with some lemonade. Then when it’s time for cake you can make a 2 layer banana cake with frosting. Then put Runts banana candy all over the cake. Or you can make a monkey face cake. Using a round cake and two chocolate donuts for ears you can easily decorate the cake into a simple monkey face. If you’re at the park you can create a great monkey race where they have to run on all fours. Budget: $20
  7. Pizza Party: If you want to incorporate dinner with the party this is a great way to do it. Have the kids make their own pizzas and have some two liters of soda. The dough can be made at home for little or nothing and then pick 5-6 toppings for the kids to pick from. Then as long as the kids have made their own pizza you can let them decorate their own cupcake. Make the cupcakes and then have some colored frosting and various sprinkles and let the kids decorate their own cupcake. All of these things are activities and take time. Once they finish making the pizza you can put it in the oven and let the kids start on the cupcakes. When the pizzas are done they can eat and then finish up with the cupcake for dessert. Play some fun music while the kids are working. Keep the guest list small and you can send each child home with their own apron. Budget: $50
  8. Movie night birthday party: Maybe your kid is into a specific movie like Twilight. You can plan the party for after dinner which will save you money. Then set up a cool popcorn bar with popcorn boxes that you can buy 8/$1 at Target. Put out 3 different popcorn flavorings and 3-4 different mix-ins in different bowls and let the kids make up their own popcorn treat. Then everyone can settle in for the movie. Be sure to have bottles of water that you’ve dressed up with a cute label that says Movie night or the title of the movie. After the movie you can have cake. Try to tie the cake into the movie. If it’s Twilight you can serve caramel apples instead of cake. Budget: $40
  9. Butterfly garden party: Make antennae for each girl using headbands and pipe cleaners. Then have a craft where they make tissue paper flowers. When they finish the craft you can have everyone go outside and do a bug hunt. You’ve hidden a bunch of butterflies that you’ve made out of coffee filters and clothes pins. Whoever finds the most wins a butterfly net that you can buy for $1. For the cake you can make a butterfly. Start with 2-9” round cakes. Cut them at 2/3 and 1/3. Turn all of the curved pieces in and make the wings of the butterfly. Using colored sugar and sprinkles decorate the butterfly. You don’t have to buy colored sugar, this can be made with white sugar and a few drops of food coloring mixed in. Serve the cake with some inexpensive butterfly plates and matching solid colored napkins from the Dollar store and you are all set. Give every child a butterfly net when they leave. Budget: Under $40.
  10. Snowman party: These are best if you have a winter birthday. If you live where there’s snow then you can go out and build real snow friends, but if there’s no snow where you live then you can make snow friends out of Styrofoam balls and felt decorations. Buttons and other little doo dads will help make this a really fun project. For the treats they can make their own snowman face on a white cupcake. You can serve hot chocolate to go with the cupcakes. When everyone is done making their snow friend you can have a contest for the funniest, tallest, cutest etc. Make sure you have enough categories so everyone can win something. Playing pin the nose on the snowman is really fun too.

Original article by Molly Cunnigham can be found at Live-in Nanny.  Article reposted with permission!

One thought on “Birthday Parties on a Budget – guest post”

  1. Does your daughter like "Fancy Nancy"? You can have a Fancy Nancy tea party and everyone, including adults can come over dressed to the nines in whatever dress-up stuff they have. You can even go out with her to a diner and wear a tiara.

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