Planning your child's birthday party can be a lot of fun, but it can also mean a lot of stress. One thing that's especially worrisome is the cost. You want to throw a great party that all the guests will enjoy, but you don't want to go broke in the process. The venue is often a major expenditure. Renting a skating rink or family entertainment center might be fun, but it'll take a big chunk out of your budget, too. Instead, consider holding the party at a venue that will be little or no cost to you. That way, you can save your money for a rainy day -- or, perhaps, spend it on extra presents.
Check out the following pages for our tips on affordable birthday party locations.
If the birthday in question falls during months with warm weather, consider holding the festivities at your local park. There's plenty of space for games and activities -- and zero worries about stained carpeting. You can make use of what's already in place, such as picnic shelters and playground equipment; check with your park district to see if you need any permits or reservations.
Of course, you'll want to have a back-up location planned in the event of inclement weather. Keep that location in mind when sending invitations, because you don't want to invite more kids than can comfortably celebrate in that more limited space.
Another good option to consider is a gym or recreation center. Places like the YMCA, for example, often have rooms available for rent. Plus, the costs could be even lower if you're already a member of the organization.
See if there are physical activities and games available for you to incorporate into the birthday party itinerary, or access to any of the sports facilities. You can build a theme around the setting, like a basketball or swimming party. Plus, if you're expecting a rambunctious crowd, it's a great way to burn off some of that limitless energy.
Check in with churches and community centers in your area for other possible party locales. Often they'll have a gymnasium or multipurpose room that can easily accommodate a birthday celebration, along with a kitchen for any food storage or prep space you might need. Plus, any rental fee is probably going to be far less than what you'd pay to rent a room at a restaurant or banquet hall.
Organizations like this could also offer the opportunity to lend a socially-conscious approach to your party. For example, if the church has ties to a food pantry, one of your activities could be making and decorating cookies. Set aside some for your party-goers, and have them put the rest in snack bags for distribution.
Looking for a no-cost outdoor event space? It might be right in your own backyard. Use the open space to set up games like a sack race, bean bag toss or scavenger hunt. Have other kinds of crafty materials on hand, such as sidewalk chalk, and turn your little artists loose on the driveway.
If there's an artistic adult or teen among the chaperones, ask if he or she would consider offering face-painting services to the participants. Child-safe face painting kits are readily available; you can even get a how-to book (complete with paints) from Klutz Publishing if you need a little more guidance.
Your own home can also be the perfect, low-cost party venue. A rec room, dining room or living area can be turned into party central with relative ease. Temporarily rearranging some of the furniture will provide you with more space for games and activities. (You might also consider relocating any breakable knickknacks before the guests arrive, just to be on the safe side.) Plan specific activities for the partiers, rather than letting them loose; this will keep chaos to a minimum. Web sites like Kaboose have lots of great ideas for arts and crafts to keep your guests occupied and happy.
So, the next time a birthday rolls around in your family, keep these affordable party locations in mind!
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- Birthday Party Ideas.com. "Birthday Party Ideas." (Feb. 3, 2011)http://www.birthdaypartyideas.com/
- Kaboose.com. "Birthday Party Crafts." (Feb. 1, 2011)http://party.kaboose.com/party-favors/
- Martha Stewart.com. "Birthday Party Planning 101." (Feb. 2, 2011)http://www.marthastewart.com/article/birthday-party-planning-101?page=6&backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/planning-kids-birthday-parties#slide_6
- Simply Stated Blog. "Kids' Birthday Party Ideas." (Feb. 1, 2011)http://simplystated.realsimple.com/technology/2008/05/kids-birthday-p.html