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How To Throw A Budget-Conscious Kids Party

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photographed By Jocelyn Filley

Your child’s birthday is a momentous occasion, and often one that the entire bunch enjoys celebrating—friends and family included! But, with twelve months in a year and what seems to be a never-ending influx of party invitations from tiny friends, it can sometimes be tough to celebrate the way both you and your birthday babe want (and for a price that doesn’t make you cringe) when the big day finally arrives. Not to fear, mamas! We’ve tapped Emily Coulter, florist, designer, and shop owner at Martha’s Vineyard, to give us all the 4-1-1 on how to craft an awe-worthy shindig everyone can enjoy, even when the budget is strict. Read up on her 10 ace tips, below:

1. Start with big picture details
You’ll first want to think about who the party is for. How old are the kids? What do they like? Once you’ve done a bit of research, start with the guest list. Sometimes throwing a great kids’ party on budget means inviting fewer little ones and keeping the day simple.

2. Location, location, location
Consider free or affordable party venues like parks, public gardens, farms, beaches, playgrounds, or libraries. Kids love to be outdoors, so that’s always a great place to start! You’d be surprised how many great locations you can find for no cost at all.

3. Pull from what you have
Try utilizing decor and toys from your own home to add to the zest of the party. Little toys make great party additions for details such as cake toppers. Are there any additional flags, big pillows, bean bags, rugs, bunting, play mats, wands, dress-up clothes, art supplies, or balls you can utilize, too? The more items you can bring from home, the less you’ll have to purchase out-of-pocket.

4. Ditch the disposables
Avoid purchasing throw-away plates, napkins, and cups in favor of using your own favorite china or everyday dishes. It might be a bit more work on the backend, and you’ll have to encourage careful handling, but it’s definitely kinder on your wallet.

5. Get crafty
Try your hand at a few simple decorations to fit the party. Bunting crafted from felt, cake toppers built from wooden skewers and cardstock, and chalkboards can all be detailed to fit a party theme. Homemade games and no-cost activities are also just as fun as pricey options. Why not try your hand at making a quick pin-the-animal-on-the-habitat game (i.e. a bee on a flower garden), hanging donuts from string, bobbing for apples, crafting popcorn necklaces, setting up a treasure hunt, asking a local farm for grainstacks for races, or bringing bandanas for a three-legged race.

6. Forgo hosting during a big meal
To decrease costs, try avoiding hosting the party during mealtime. It is much more affordable to provide snacks, drinks, and a treat rather than a full meal. And, don’t fret: the kids will love a special treat, big or small.

7. Don’t set foot in a party store
You’ll only end up buying things you don’t need. Head to the thrift store, hardware store, or market for useful party supplies instead. They have great, affordable options that’ll often last you far beyond the party itself.

8. Don’t go overboard with favors
If you want to give a party favor to your kids’ tiny guests, opt for something affordable and useful like seed packets, a seedling plant, flower confetti, or a small edible treat. Kids are sure to love them just the same as the often plastic alternative!

9. Let the kids help you
Ask party guests to come with a favorite stuffed animal for a “stuffy” party, a favorite book for a story party, or dressed up in a costume for a costume party. The work is nearly done for you, and the kids love participating in this way.

10. Finally, don’t forget florals!
Look to your yard or garden to cut options that are blooming first. Even simple greenery or delicate tree branches are great to cut and use. If your yard is empty, talk to a local florist about getting a few bunches of affordable blooms that go a long way (feverfew is a good option). You can also ask about borrowing supplies to make flower crowns or take old flowers to dry into petal confetti.

For even more kids party tips and tricks, be sure to read 12 Simple Kid Party Ideas, Not Your Average Birthday Party Supplies, and Birthday Party Gifts Under $20.

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