Ideas for Budget Birthday Parties

Remember back in the day when your birthdays parties were as simple as playing pass the parcel and blowing out candles on the birthday cake? These days, it can feel as if you are battling it out for the title of best party host, and the pressure is on to provide a memorable experience year after year. With H's third birthday party only a month ago and Baby J's second birthday looming in May ( also announcing his lack of baby status) I certainly have birthday's on my brain! So I thought I'd get few ideas together for parties that are guaranteed to deliver hours of fun without breaking the bank!

1. Swimming party
Children love to splash around with their friends and if you can persuade a few of the parents to help you supervise, a swimming party always goes down a treat. Provided that you have a small group, it is usually far cheaper to show up to one of the public sessions than to book one of the centre’s dedicated party packages – look for a family session with inflatables if your local pool offers this. Keep your costs down by having the birthday tea at home afterwards rather than asking the centre to cater. There are some great ideas (plus clothing for your watery little ones) of water parties on Splashabout Children’s Swimwear sites.

2. Fancy dress party with face painting
Children just love dressing up and fancy dress parties are always a hit. It’s kinder on other parents’ budgets if you keep the theme fairly loose as they’ll be able to use whatever costume their child has already have rather than having to buy a new one. Hire a face painter to help finish each child’s ‘look’ – the cost varies but expect to pay about £50 for an hour in which a professional can usually complete 8-12 faces.

3. Pizza making party 
Kids love making their own pizzas and with this party idea, the birthday tea takes care of itself! You can buy pre-made dough bases or dough mix, and you will need tomato puree for the children to spread over the bases. Provide bowls of pizza toppings and encourage the kids to make patterns, faces or their favourite character. Extend the fun by allowing each child to ice and decorate their own mini ‘birthday cake’ for pudding.  Plenty of food ideas and pizza inspiration is all over the internet, such as Taste.com’s Kids Party Food and Pizza Party Plan & Ideas, and head to Pinterest for even more ideas!

4. Treasure hunt 
Rather than budgeting for both entertainment and a goodie bag, why not make finding the goodies part of the party? Get the children to help decorate their own pirate booty bags in preparation for the game, and have a pile of clues as to the location of the ‘treasure’ ready, for hours of fun in the house or garden. Extend the party by allowing some of the ‘treasure’ to be won by playing pirate-themed games such as 'pin the patch on the pirate'.

5. Sleepover
Kids love having their friends over to sleep and sleepovers make great low cost parties. Little princesses will love bringing along their make-up, dressing up, brushing each other’s hair and painting their nails; while pirates prefer to guard the living room in tents or dens full of duvets and pillows. Karaoke is a good way to let them burn off some energy before bed, and they can finish the night with a movie and popcorn in pyjamas. Of course, the best thing about a sleepover is having a midnight feast, so make sure you plan for the inevitable and leave them some tasty treats in the kitchen.

Hopefully these tips will help you plan a lovely treat without breaking the bank, but at the end of the day if all you have is a little cake at teatime with your family around, it is up to you how you celebrate. As long as your little one enjoys their big day, that's all that matters.

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