Birthdays, Low Cost
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Planning a memorable birthday party without spending too much money can be a formidable task. Here are some ideas you can expand on to create a truly unique party that won’t break the bank.
 The basics
No party will be complete without:
 Tips for all parties
Now think of a theme that would interest your child. It could be your child’s favorite character from a book or movie, or a subject that they are interested in like ponies or transportation. Then think of ways to tie the theme in with the decorations, games and cake.
Use a large white tablecloth for the table, and draw roads that wind around the top. Set up trees, buildings, vehicles, and street signs for table decorations and as decorations throughout the room. Use children’s toys for what you can, and make the rest out of cardstock or cardboard. Buy inexpensive toy cars to use as cake decorations and to give away in goody bags. Fashion vehicles out of large bottomless cardboard boxes; use a thick black marker for the outlines, and add shoulder straps out of strips of material. Let the kids decorate their boxes as an activity. Then they can wear their creations for another activity – transportation tag.
Your fairy princess will adore her birthday table set with:
Have enough supplies so that every girl has her own wand, tiara and party horn. Activities can include fingernail painting, dress up relay race, and bubble blowing. Find small plastic green frogs to decorate the cake with.
 Down on the Farm
Ask guests to dress in overalls for a day down on the farm. Set the table with bandanas at each place setting. For room decorations, fashion a barn and fencing out of cardboard boxes. Give hay rides in a little wagon, and drag out all the stuffed animals for a petting zoo. Activities can include a hoe down (random dancing to country music) and a rousing game of Simon says, where all the commands are animal sounds or movements. Find a small plastic farm set at the dollar store to decorate the cake with.
 Super hero extravaganza
Invite the kids to come dressed as their favorite superhero. Have additional items like masks, gloves, and capes on hand for them to add to their ensemble once they are at the party. Look for costume items on clearance after Halloween to save some money. Enlist an adult to make an appearance, dressed as the birthday child’s favorite character. Decorate the room with posters of action heroes, and play music from shows featuring super heroes. For activities, set up various physical activities like an obstacle course, a long jump, and relay races.
 Balloon blowout
Does your child absolutely love balloons? Have a party with balloons as the theme. Make or buy balloon invitations, fill the room with lots of balloons, and have balloon games for activities. Try balloon toss, keep the balloon in the air and see how many balloons you can tape to yourself.
 Educational fieldtrip
Take the kids on an educational field trip in honor of your child’s birthday. Take the kids on a trip to the fire station, children’s museum, or other exhibit that is geared towards children.
 Other ideas
If you would rather not or cannot have the party at home, consider taking a few of your child’s friends to a movie, swimming, skating, or putt putt golf.