Birthdays can be pricey at the best of times, If you’re throwing a child’s birthday party, you don’t want to break the bank, so first, check out the cost of any shopping using a price comparison site such as Moneysupermarket.
Deciding on which games are to be at the party is a good place to start. For younger children, games can be simple and cost very little. Action games such as musical statues and ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’ will cost nothing at all and will have the added benefit of tiring them out a little.
If you want to keep the children entertained when they first arrive, especially if you’re having a party at home or in a hall, set out a table or two with some coloring sheets. Sheets can be downloaded from the internet and printed out for nothing more than the ink and a few packs of crayons or coloured pencils can be bought cheaply.
If you intend to have prizes for the winners of games, depending on the children’s ages and how well they deal with competition, you could buy a few inexpensive medals. These can be bought from a party shop or online, or make your own by covering circles of card with tin foil and threading onto a piece of spare ribbon.
Pass the parcel is a fun game that needn’t cost the earth. Tiny prizes, such as stickers or sweets, can be hidden in each layer if you wish. Use leftover wrapping paper, newspapers or magazine for your wrapping paper.
Piñatas are popular at children’s parties. This Mexican party game features a hollow papier mache model that is hung from the ceiling and the children take turns to hit it with a stick.
When it is finally opened, sweets and toys fall out to be collected by everyone. Shop-bought ones can be pricey, but you could make your own in any shape you wish using papier mache.
Small, blindfolded children and sticks are not a very safe combination, so you could choose to have several little doors that are opened by pulling on a string or ribbon instead.
Face painting is another popular pastime at parties, but hiring a professional is a cost you can do without. You can buy your own set of facepaints very reasonably and do it yourself (or enlist the help of an artistic friend). Have a few practice runs beforehand and stick to a couple of easy designs (one for girls and one for boys perhaps).
Whatever their age, children enjoy a good dance, so wherever you hold the party, take along a portable sound system and a selection of songs. Nursery songs are good for very little ones and a selection of kids and pop songs for the older ones, depending on the children’s ages.
You could choose to have a prize for best boy or girl dancer, most energetic or even most elegant!
Party bags are a matter of choice and taste. Keep costs to a minimum by simply presenting each visitor with a piece of cake and a bag of sweets to take home.
If you feel you should do more, search around for bargain toys, hair bands and little cars. Make your own little bags from material scraps tied with ribbon.
Balloons are always popular and really cheap. If you can manage it, each child could have a balloon model to take home. Again, have a practice and stick to one or two designs.