Clowns, cakes, streamers, balloons, and pizza. These elements often accompany the laughter of grinning children seated around a table, all proudly sporting bright, cone-shaped hats and staring eagerly at a candle-filled cake. A child’s birthday party is a time of fun and laughter commemorating the joy he or she has brought to the world. It is a time of celebration.
For many parents, however, the celebration becomes stressful. They want to provide the best party money can buy, one to match if not surpass the one little Bobby Jones had last week when his parents rented a circus for their front yard. Rumor has it an elephant was even spotted behind the garage. How can you compete with those Joneses? (Remember, they are in debt to their eyeballs over those extravagant purchases.)
Instead of focusing on the cost of a party, focus on the quality. While people often consider these two words the same, they are quite different. Cost is only a number. It may or may not create an enjoyable birthday party. On the other hand, quality includes things such as creativity, fun, and memories. You can have a fabulous birthday party for your child without destroying your budget. In fact, such a party may even be more fun than a more expensive party. Here are a few ideas for planning a child’s birthday party:
1. LOOK RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE. What about your house? It may be the perfect place for a party! Cook your child’s favorite meal and plan some fun activities. Make crafts out of simple household items, or you can have the kids ice and decorate their own cookies. What about making party hats out of construction paper? If you have a pool, sprinkler, or water guns, what about water games? The possibilities are endless.
2. GO TO THE PARK. A local park may provide the perfect venue, and it’s free! Have a picnic or a barbeque for your meal, and plan some outdoor games! You can use the classics, such as hide-and-seek or tag, or you can discover some new games from the internet or books. You could even have your child create a new game before the party for everyone to play. Since you spent less money on the party, you can also invite more friends! If the children are younger, you may want to invite several of the parents to assist you in supervising them.
3. FREE, LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT. Does your community offer any free entertainment such as arts festivals, concerts, or plays? With a little research, you may discover a free or inexpensive activity near your home that is appropriate and fun kids your child’s age.
4. GO IN FOR A MOVIE. Instead of buying ten movie tickets for $5 each and spending $20 on a few boxes of candy, borrow a movie from the library. Complete the experience with popcorn, candy, and drinks! You could even set up your own concession stand.
Most importantly, have fun! Enjoy planning this special day or your son or daughter. It only comes once a year.
Frugal College Student
Editor @ MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
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