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    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 5th Apr 13, 12:34 PM
    • 9,258Posts
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    MSE Andrea
    Great Cheap kids' birthday parties Hunt
    • #1
    • 5th Apr 13, 12:34 PM
    Great Cheap kids' birthday parties Hunt 5th Apr 13 at 12:34 PM
    Great 'Cheap kids' birthday parties' Hunt

    Children's birthday parties can be a huge drain on parents' wallets, particularly if it's a "special" age. We'd like to gather MoneySavers' fantastic collective wisdom on how to cut the cost on everything from venues to party bags, entertainment to dressing up and, of course, the cake.

    Click reply below to discuss. If you havenít already, join the forum to reply. If you arenít sure how it all works, watch our New to Forum? Intro Guide.

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Page 1
  • elliep
    • #2
    • 10th Apr 13, 8:01 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Apr 13, 8:01 AM
    For younger primary school age children, invite a few of them to your house. Play games like pass the parcel, the chocolate game, musical statues etc.
    Search pinterest for interesting party food ideas. Jelly worms (made a bit stronger than normal jelly and allowed to set in straws) are good. Anything colourful or unusual but containing lots of sugar goes down well!
    It doesn't have to cost much, but the kids will enjoy it.

    For older kids then a pizza and DVD night followed by a sleepover for a few friends is a really nice way to celebrate. The food doesn't have to cost much and you can buy/rent/borrow a DVD that fits within your budget.
    Cross Stitch UFO club member 18.
    • ITonyI
    • By ITonyI 10th Apr 13, 9:20 AM
    • 78 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    • #3
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:20 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:20 AM
    I seem to have reached that stage in life where it feels I'm planning parties every couple of months (even though it can only be a couple of times a year in reality). I always shudder when I look up venue costs, so I tend to keep things at home, although that does mean fewer numbers.

    Fortunately I can usually funnel at least one party into the garden in the summer months (although last year was a little bit of a nippy one!) This is great for setting up a treasure hunt with cheapy sweets hidden everywhere. Keeps them quiet for a good hour of searching and munching.

    When it comes to party bags I've had some good experiences with Hawkin's Bazaar. The first time I put together a bundle of ten toys for £20 to include with a bit of cake and a party popper, but since then I've found they also do pre-filled party bags. You save money on each if you buy in bulk, but I've never bought more than 12 (which takes the price per bag from £4 to £2.75). Would definitely recommend them to anyone. Just watch that £3.50 delivery charge - make sure you get everything you want into one order.
  • emmamc1976
    • #4
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:32 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:32 AM
    If your child has a friend whose birthday is near to theirs, try asking the other parent if they fancy sharing a party/location? Often local community halls or family pubs have rooms for cheap hire or that can be used for free or for a donation, if you do your own catering and split the costs of food and party bags it can keep the larger party costs down. My son is still preschool age and I know that at this age as long as there are lots of children to play with he's happy, even if some of them are someone elses cousins. If you have a room like this you can also take toys from your own home and garden to play with, things like any climbing tunnels, swing ball, paddling pool (without the water) filled with balls, a bubble machine etc... or create your own party games, musical statues is always a good one. I'll be looking at this option next year when he's at school and the "who hasnt been invited" politics begins, it'll be a much cheaper way of entertaining 40+ children.
    • jellybrains
    • By jellybrains 10th Apr 13, 9:54 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    • #5
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:54 AM
    Party bags
    • #5
    • 10th Apr 13, 9:54 AM
    My mum and I always collect the tokens for the free lego with the newspapers. The children always seem pretty happy with a small bag of lego and some sweets and cake.
    • yorica
    • By yorica 10th Apr 13, 10:35 AM
    • 199 Posts
    • 236 Thanks
    • #6
    • 10th Apr 13, 10:35 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Apr 13, 10:35 AM
    There loads more tips on mumsnet
  • mann-banks
    • #7
    • 10th Apr 13, 10:48 AM
    Kids parties
    • #7
    • 10th Apr 13, 10:48 AM
    I have found a great recipe to make a millies style birthday cookie, the kids love it and it cost a fraction, I cook it in a pizza tin. I also find with the pizza style party, buying plain pizzas and giving the kids dishes of topping is great once they are about 7/8 yrs old they can then create their own pizzas. For teen girls I buy cellophane bags (the kind they use in posh choc shops) in poundland/99p store approx 20+ for £1 including ribbons, I fill with a nail file, varnish and a full choc bar , all bought on offer in supermarkets or poundshops in multipacks the girls love them and they look great. The cost works out to approx 75p a child.
  • squishyclaire
    • #8
    • 10th Apr 13, 11:22 AM
    • #8
    • 10th Apr 13, 11:22 AM
    I have found a great recipe to make a millies style birthday cookie, the kids love it and it cost a fraction, I cook it in a pizza tin. .
    Originally posted by mann-banks
    That sounds like a great idea. Do you have a recipe? I have a birthday party coming up and I could use up all the old Easter eggs as choc chips.
  • gfaulks
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 13, 12:19 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Apr 13, 12:19 PM
    My kids often want a party at home, guess it just feels more friendly. We're always done pass parcel type games plus my daughter likes craft stuff so I've printed off face mask outlines and they've coloured and decorated them. We've also done a film and pizza night (without a sleepover) and the boys loved that.
    I like making cakes so usually make one and decorate it - I'm really not an expert but have a book of ideas or go to Google Images and see what other people have done and try to copy.
    I hate party bags as they seem so expensive and are usually full of little bits of plastic rubbish! I use The Book People and order a set of 10 or 12 books appropriate for the age of the children then wrap each in cheap paper and they take these plus cake home instead of a party bag. I think we've only ever had one complaint and it losts about £1 per child. I hope this helps.
    • liz-paul
    • By liz-paul 10th Apr 13, 2:09 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 4,806 Thanks
    Instead of party bags for my sons birthday next week I have bought punch balloons from ebay, cello cone bags from Ebay, personalised stickers from ebay and some sweets. Each child will get a blown up punch balloon and a cute bag of sweets with a sticker on (says thanks for coming to my party and has an angry bird on it). Total cost - just under £10 for 20.

    I always do a buffet (cos the parents eat it too) but it is a lot cheaper to buy some cardboard boxes (the sort that kiddie chip or sandwich meals come in from takeaways/cafes) & dish up chips and sausage/nuggets followed by birthday cake.

    One year I did a treasure hunt (kids had to find tokens hidden around the garden. They could exchange each token for an item for their party bag = activity & party bag for one price!
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    • JimmyTheWig
    • By JimmyTheWig 10th Apr 13, 2:18 PM
    • 11,733 Posts
    • 11,305 Thanks
    Have the party from 2pm until 4pm. You don't need to do lunch or tea (which, mostly, doesn't get eaten). A few packets of cheap biscuits for a snack at 3pm is fine.
    • jellybrains
    • By jellybrains 10th Apr 13, 4:34 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    I think we've only ever had one complaint .
    Originally posted by gfaulks
    Really? How ungrateful
  • Gemptamav
    Cheap parties
    I did my 1st proper party last year for my 3 year old and it cost me £30

    We held it at home in the garden (nicely timed summer birthday) it was pirate themed, we played:
    - pass the parcel with a £1.99 pirate book prize in the middle and a sweet in each layer so everyone got something (big bag of wrapped sweets from poundland)
    -we did a fishing game using the paddling pool filled with water, fishing nets and pirate ships made from yogurt pots with a cotton sail on a stick blue tacked in the bottom (looked a lot better than it may sound). This was hugely popular!!! Child won a sweet for fishing out a boat. (This one cost me nothing but a bit of time, could be done in by filling the bath if outdoors is not an option)
    - Treasure hunt round the garden. The clues were photos of places/things round the garden, at that place there was another photo and I ended it in the sandpit. I made a treasure chest (any kind of box would do) and put the party bags inside as the treasure. Another hit with the kids!!

    Food was buffet style, probably the bulk of my cost.

    I planned party bags way ahead of time to make the most of offers and got most from ebay - eye patch, temporary tatoo, I printed my own maps that they could colour in and rolled them up into a scroll tied with a piece of ribbon, 10p bag of harribo. The actual bags I got from ebay too and they worked out as 2p each they were paper candy stirrped bags which I stamped a skull and crossbone onto. Total cost was 50p per bag

    Everyone had a great time and it didn't break the bank - result!
  • Gemptamav
    This year turning 4 we are doing a fancy dress party, again at home and hopefully in the garden.

    -Hook a duck. I bought a bag of 5 ducks from poundland and some hooks for 60p from my local hardware which I have srewed into the top. A garden cane cut in half and painted with a larger hook in for fishing out.
    - Pin the tail on the donkey. I have drawn and painted this myself but you can always make use of clipart if youre not arty.
    - Musical statues/bumps.

    For prizes I am filling a box with sheddings and wrapping up small items to hide inside (lucky dip style) glittler pots 10 from 99p store, and funky animal pencils with animal eraser ends 6 for 20p tesco sale.

    Buffet food again.

    Party bags- fake moustash 6 from poundland, glow in dark fangs 7p each from tesco (this was at halloween, Im always on the look out for bagins so stashed these away as it was such a bargin!!) and a spy ID card each wich Ive made up myself with the childs photo on. Harribo 10p bag of sweets again and paper candy stripped bag 2p from ebay.
    • purpleweasel
    • By purpleweasel 10th Apr 13, 5:45 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 202 Thanks
    Recently did a party for a 4-year old. Got a load of paper bags and the kids coloured them in to make their own party bags. Had games with small bags of sweeties or pink sparkly plastic magic wands (4-year-old girls, what do you expect?!) for prizes then an indoor picnic on a blanket on the living-room floor. Would have had it in the park if the weather was better but after tea they still had fun playing in the back yard. You can get little packs of pencils/crayons/stickers from poundshops for prizes or party bags pretty cheap. Some people do make-your-own crowns or pirate hats which occupies time and doesn't cost much. We also did home-made ice lollies which went down better than the birthday cake!
  • Pharmaknit
    Have done various things over the years as my 2 girls like to try different parties to their friends. At home we have done various crafting parties, the best probably being a deco patch one. Ordered each girl a black animal, chopped up the paper into colours beforehand. Cheaper than the kts and no need for party bag beyond cake. They were about 8 yrs then. 10 yr old had a treasure trail party. Bought guide from website for walk around town here then used vouchers for pizza express. Did a murder mystery one and was considered to be very cool much to my surprise. 12 yr old had cup cake decorating party at home with 6 cakes each. Went well.
    Another thing I've found is that kids will happily eat a proper meal if timing is right and eat more than if just party rubbish. Have done roast chicken dinner and lasagne meal. Lucky for me my kitchen able can squeeze 10 round it. Also more traditionally hot dogs work well.
    Also hate party bag plastic tat so have done books, proper chocolate bar etc. We have also played a type of pass the parcel prize game. Buy a gift for each child but one must be terrible. Wrap them all and put in centre of circle. Each person takes it in turns to throw a dice. If it is even no then take a parcel until everyone has one.nif that means you could get 2 then you must just swap with one in middle. When everyone has one you get to unwrap it with an even no or swap it with an odd no. When all unwrapped set a secret timer. Continue to go round throwing dice. You choose what nos mean must swap pressie. When buzzer sounds that's it. You need a terrible one to keep them swapping and for fun of it. This alo works well with secret Santa gifts at Xmas do.
  • smiley-sue
    I have used the bag as the gift eg socks, plant pot etc.
    Also decorate a simple sponge cake with plastic toys your child likes. E.g dalmation dogs, little mermaid. The birthday child gets an extra gift to remind them of the party.
    Party bags are expensive use pastel coloured food bags or cellophane ones from lakeland
    If you are playing games try not to let anyone "be out" They soon get bored.
    Team games are always popular.
    For older teens I have used murder mystery games. Try the ones which involve role playing and simple dressing up rather than the boxes. free form games are great fun but take a bit of organising
    • freebears3
    • By freebears3 10th Apr 13, 6:06 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Saturday Morning pictures
    We have found that Saturday morning pictures makes a great party and at only about £2 per child excellent value for money. We have also followed with Pizza Express (can use Tesco vouchers) or pizza hut is also a good option.
  • ntms
    Great cheap Kids' birthdya party idea!
    My son has a birthday in December and we were pretty limited as to what to do - indoor play cost a fortune and a trip to the cinema wasn't cheap either! Not to mention booking something like this depends so much on other parents letting you know whether or not they are actually going to attend as it still costs silly amounts!!
    Enough said, we decided to book our local leisure centre for a swimming party and it was a bargain! It cost around £40 for us to hire the pool with inflatables for 2 hours and we got the room for a tea party later too. This allowed 24 children to swim although our biggest problem was getting parents to actually get in the water with them!! It does depend on your local leisure centre's policies about how many can attend etc but this was by far the best bargain party we arranged.
    • vikki_louise
    • By vikki_louise 10th Apr 13, 7:40 PM
    • 2,305 Posts
    • 5,879 Thanks
    I'm always amazed at how much fun kids have with simple things like balloons, bubbles and streamers. If you hunt around, especially if its a week day or not in June/July you can often hire a bouncy castle from around £30. Buy a face paint kit or tattoos, have a castle and some balloon and kids will have fun.

    Those with kids of 'children party' age, do you have a million and one book people books as everywhere I go on the Internet people always advice buying the sets of book people books instead of party bags!
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