Go For it Mom and Dad! You CAN keep your sanity and plan a budget friendly, kid friendly, birthday party for your child right in your own home. Simply consider your guests, your available space, and your inventory. Here’s How…
Who to invite?
The guest list should include the friends your child chooses to spend most of his/her free time with. I recommend a guest list of no more than ten and aim for an even number. Know your guests! Kids love to be engaged and challenged and have fun as a result. They are some of the most creative creatures on Earth and tapping into this natural ability also draws out positive behavior. Even better, you don’t need a fortune to engage and challenge your guests.
Consider your available space and inventory.
Take some time to dig through your closets and garage. Perhaps you have a large backyard and enough equipment to run some organized games or silly races. Do you have equipment for free play such as hoola hoops, jump ropes, or hopscotch? A good size yard is also a great place to hold a scavenger hunt.
Try to balance energy charged activities with quieter ones. Get out all of those board games (Operation, Twister, Perfection, Charades) that have collected dust since we’ve made a shift to technological entertainment. You’ll be amazed how much they enjoy playing these classic favorites. You can even challenge your guests to create new rules using the same playing pieces.
Also on a quieter yet challenging note, provide your guests with straws or popsicle sticks, glue, tape, and string. Have them work in groups to build a structure strong enough to support a soup can or two or three… It’s quite a challenge not to get involved yourself!
If a large backyard or playing area is not an option, perhaps you have a kitchen that could handle baking and decorating cupcakes or pretzels. Kids love getting their hands messy and sampling their own creations.
Do you have a home with several rooms? You can have fun with your child setting up a miniature golf course. One challenging hole per room! A plastic vase makes a great hole and tupperware containers act as tough obstacles.
Lastly, consider the talents of your friends and relatives. Does anyone know karate and would be willing to spend one half hour teaching some skills? Is there a magician in the family that could share some tricks? Does anyone own a karaoke machine or play an instrument?
Favors: Make your activity pull double duty.
Crafts are a great activity and can serve as a favor for each guest to bring home. The craft should be age appropriate and for younger ones take no more then 15 minutes. Make frequent visits to your local craft stores for sale and clearance items. Stock up when prices are comfortable and you will always be ready when your child’s birthday rolls around. Creating T-shirts using iron on decals and fabric paint has been successful party activity at our house.
What to serve?
A pasta is an inexpensive crowd pleaser for kids of all ages. Cook up a few pounds of maccaroni in a fun shape, like Fusilli (spirals), Gemili (twists) , Rotelle (little wheels) and serve it plain in a large pan. Let kids dress the pasta the way they wish by putting out butter, Marinara Sauce, Parmesan Cheese, the pastabilities are endless. Add a tray of fresh veggies and dip. You can feed the adults at the party too and they will appreciate a break from pizza and chicken nuggets!