Children’s birthday parties have evolved into huge spectacles that, to be quite honest, I’m struggling to keep up with. My head is left spinning at the very thought of it all, not to mention my purse. Before even attempting to plan your child’s birthday party you’re often faced with demands and a checklist your 5-year-old drew up just in case you were struggling. Truth is, I often wonder if I worry too much about ensuring my little one fits in and ‘competes’ with the other children’s parties. I’d be lying if I denied I didn’t feel a little competition too. Which of course is all totally ridiculous. So I’m on a mission to bring back the party spirit, the DIY attitude to children’s birthday parties. After all, they are children. We must stop encouraging them to be anything but.
Now I’m not suggesting we dive straight back into the days of cheese sandwiches and one round of pass-the-parcel but I do believe parties can be just as fun at home compared to renting out the town hall for the day with five entertainers. With large amounts of parents admitting they are spending a whopping figure of £800 pounds on their little one’s birthday celebrations. Way above the average of £250 – £300. For the sake of us parents who are trying to maintain a happy child on the day without breaking the bank, what do we do?
Speaking from personal experience, parents who are less prepared for the party will rush around at the last minute and spend an extortionate amount on decorations and activities because they have no choice. Know what is on the agenda and then you can begin to slowly gather everything you need, sticking to your tight and pre-planned budget. Remember that so much is accessible online these days, birthday cards and digital invitations included. You can create and send invites at literally no cost whatsoever via email, SMS and you guessed it, Facebook. Have your child help with any vital colour and decoration adjustments and feel proud you’re doing one more positive thing for our environment.
Affordable games and activities
A birthday party must avoid boredom at all costs – a handful of bored children on your plate is the last thing you want on a Saturday afternoon. Craft has to be one of the most money saving and entertaining activities for your youngsters to embrace. DIY cupcakes and sweets treats will allow the children to get as messy and creative as they so wish with the reward of something naughty at the end. Nothing maintains concentration like the prospect of sweet treats. This way you avoid spending half of your budget on expensive designer cupcakes, instead you can save that for the show-stopping photo cake. As well as edible craft, save money on the decorations by having the first challenge of the party to be ‘who can make the shiniest, glitteriest decorations and party hats’. Sorry in advance for the cleaning up needed!
Once you’ve completed all of the fun inside of the house, made the treats, decorations and played a few new quirky games such as smash the piñata, food on a string, duck duck goose and, the absolute classic, musical bumps, it’s time for some well-earned fresh air. If you’re lucky enough to have a local park nearby your house, I recommend taking the party outside. A change of scenery will keep emotions high and attitudes positive. Not to mention the flexibility it will give you when planning your outdoor activities. Of course, gardens will work just as well if that suits your situation better.
Take all of your homemade goodies and pack them inside the hamper along with your selection of other homemade and money saving party foods. A picnic is a great photo opportunity and will re-fuel your little ones before they take to the scavenger hunt, obstacle course or makeshift sports day you have planned. The great thing about both scavenger hunts and a makeshift sports day is that it encourages team work and exploration. Providing you make sure everyone is a winner somehow and avoid making anything too competitive, it will be smiles all round.
If this blog post does anything, I hope it lets worrying parents know that fun can be found in all sorts of magical ways. If your only birthday party aim is to be ‘better’ than the one you attended last month, the point has been lost completely. Sure there may be a few tantrums along the way when they find out you won’t be paying to rent the whole circus but once you encourage their participation and plans begin to be set in place, I have no doubt excitement will soon commence!
*This was a guest post.