Kids of all ages look forward to celebrating their birthdays each year. Whether you plan to mark your child’s special day with a special family outing, a small get-together with a few classmates or a full-blown party with family and friends, you don’t need to break the bank to make the day meaningful and memorable.
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. —Psalms 37:4, KJV
Planning our child’s birthday party together is the perfect time for you to affirm your faith in God’s providence. Counting pennies as you plan for the special event won’t feel like a burden if you’re also counting the many blessings He has bestowed upon you, your child and your family over the past year.
If you have a big family and simply must invite them all, avoid a big grocery bill or catering fees by throwing a potluck party at home. Enlist friends and family members to help with the entertainment, too. Buy a package of face painting markers or paints and some stamps that can be used safely on children’s skin, then ask adult guests to paint faces. Instead of a cake, make cupcakes in advance and set up a decorating station, where everyone can create their own edible masterpiece.
Build Your Own Party Package
There are plenty of local venues that specialize in children’s birthday parties, such as that popular pizza party venue with the video games and ball pits, skating rinks, movie theaters and bowling alleys. Party packages at these locations are often pricey and require a minimum number of guests, putting the experience your child is requesting out of reach.
You can still give your child the party he’s asking for by building your own package. Check with the venue in advance for days when they are running specials, ask about coupons and find out if you are allowed to bring in your own food and drink. Even if outside food isn’t an option, you can usually bring in your own cake, and ordering a couple of large pizzas to eat at a nearby park can be far less costly than the per-person markup you’ll be charged on a party package.
With your child, choose activities that don’t require you to keep purchasing more, as is the case with arcades. Skating rinks often have discounted community skate times you can take advantage of, while your local bowling alley may offer specials like one lane for up to six bowlers for a couple of hours — shoes included — for a flat fee.
Ice Cream Social
What child doesn’t love ice cream? You don’t need to provide an full meal or expensive entertainment for your child’s guests to have a great time. All you need is a few tubs of ice cream, cones, bowls, spoons and an assortment of toppings.
Kids always enjoy sleepovers, and a way to make your child’s birthday sleepover memorable — without investing a dime on entertainment — is to make it a campout. Borrow a tent or two and set them up in the backyard. Let the kids roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire (under adult supervision, of course). If it’s too cold to sleep outdoors, provide the sheets and blankets to build a tent indoors.
Picnic at the Park
You can’t go wrong with picnic food. Reserve a pavilion at your local park or go early to stake out some tables near a playground for an easy and inexpensive party venue. Bring along the fixings for sandwich makings or make it a pot-luck and just bring the cake and party decorations.
Take Advantage of Free or Reduced Cost Days
Local museums, zoos, movie theaters and other attractions often offer free or reduced admission days. Check in with these organizations and venues in your area to find out when they’ll be, and plan your party as an outing followed by a picnic in a nearby park, a gathering at home afterwards for cake and ice cream or even a tailgate party in the venue’s parking lot.
Plan Your Party around a Special Event
While your child may hope to have his party on his actual birthday, explain to him that the event will be even more special if it includes a parade or fireworks. Combine your backyard birthday party or potluck picnic with fireworks or a parade to give your child — and their guests — a party to remember.