One4mom4All asks:

Looking for inexpensive birthday party ideas

For several years, we have been celebrating our daughter's birthday with expensive parties at family fun facilities (Disneyland, Boomers, Chuck E. Cheese, etc.). While everyone has a great time, especially the birthday girl, and it's been well worth the expense, I'd like to also explore some ways we could celebrate without spending so much money.

Having a slumber party is one idea we had, but since we live in an apartment, this option would unfortunately reduce the number of people who could participate (and we don't want to hurt friends' feelings by leaving them out). We were also thinking about having her party at a park, but since she was born in early spring, we can't always rely on the weather cooperating for a park party.

What are some other low-cost ideas we should consider? Would be great too if learning is incorporated into the party somehow (while still being fun).
Member Added on Apr 5, 2009
Our daughter will be turning 8.
In Topics: Chores, allowance, and money management, Family fun / holiday celebrations
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Mar 31, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear One4Mom4All:

Good for you! Birthday parties can be such a production, and don't need to be. Kids love the simplest things!

What we've done for my grandson's party (and then for some friends of his at their parties, too) is to do a pillow play time. Everyone brings pillows (without zippers or buttons). You clear away as much furniture as you can, and pick the room with the thickest carpet. Move all lamps and delicate knickknacks to other rooms, so nothing can be broken. Allow jumping on the sofa, for once. Then, whatever grownups are there get down on their hands and knees, and the kids get to throw pillows (or balloons, if you'd rather). It's amazing how much play kids can get from this situation. They laugh, they jump, they tumble, and as long as some thoughtful adults are in the room, kids don't tend to hurt each other at all. If a child does get too vigorous, just put him in your lap for 2 or 3 minutes, to help him or her unwind. Slowly, it can turn into kids wanting horseback rides on the backs of the adults...into more wrestling and affectionate horseplay.

Maybe a grandparent has a bigger living room, or maybe a church hall has a room for rent for something like this...

Every child I know who has done this has never forgotten it, and can't wait until the next chance to try it.

Another idea is a face painting party, with a camera. Let the kids paint each others' faces, let them take each others' photos, and see if you can hook the camera up to a computer there, so they can see each other on the "big screen". Have stuff for doing funny things to their hair, too. And cold cream, so they can be a tiger for 20 min, then move on to butterflies on their cheeks, and on to something else after that.

Another idea is to make the biggest fort possible in the living room, again, by moving furniture, hanging sheets and ropes from the windows to the light fixtures...and serving "tea and cookies" inside...

You would need to invite the number of children your place can hold, rather than every child your child knows.

We've also done scavenger hunts, and for that, you need adult chaperones, who accompany children as they look for the items on the'd have to have a safe neighborhood for that one, or to go to a park and put items on the list that are found in parks: acorn, bottle cap, insect, bud, clover, pebble, candy wrapper, etc.

Have fun figuring out alternatives...


Patty Wipfler

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Wayne Yankus
Mar 27, 2009

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Many of my patients try cooking or chocolate parties.  Many local food stores have "labs" and rent them out with a teacher for a party.  Since they use local products it is usually not expensive and each child goes home with something.  Another is one of our local farms gives tours of the animals and ends up with letting the kids pull out carrots or what ever is growing and talk about nutrition and fun things to do with what they harvested. Recently a seven year old had a few girls to her apartment and made "sneezle bags" for the local childrens' library.  They are bags with a drawstring filled with paper puzzels, coloring books, and books the library donates to fill the bags for kids who are home from school sick. Not expensive ideas and fun to do. My stuff bags foundation also helps to prepare bags for kids in foster care.

Also check out books by Joseph Leeming. He wrote "fun with paper" and fun with etc..

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (1)

twinplus1mom writes:
how old is your child
> 60 days ago

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