I feel so honored and thrilled to share with you Marnie Pacino. She is a Midwestern soccer mom with a passion for creativity and organizing. With over 20 years of experience planning parties for her own three children, she’s inspired to write and share her ideas and advice with other busy parents. She is the author of two fabulous books that are completely focused on party planning. Marnie is here with us today, sharing her wisdom on how we can throw a party without breaking the bank.
PLANNING A BIRTHDAY PARTY WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK
Long gone are the days of simple birthday parties with homemade cake and ice cream. Today’s parents (self-imposed or not) are under a lot of pressure to plan something over the top for their child’s birthday. “Sarah Stinkypants had her birthday at Krazy Kid World! What are we doing for mine?” With some careful planning and a little thrifty imagination, you can still arrange an amazing day without spending a fortune and without losing your marbles! Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:
Birthdays don’t just appear out of nowhere. A few months before the big day, make a shopping list to keep in your purse. This way, if your 11-yr old daughter wants a beach birthday party in November, you’ll be able to pick up discounted beach-themed items when they go on sale in August. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll have a harder time finding what you want, and you’ll pay a fortune for the same stuff that was gathering dust on the clearance rack just a few months before!
Unless you find something simply irresistible, skip the pre-packaged invitations. Look for small, theme-related items at your local dollar store! If you’re planning a Jungle Party, grab an armful of beanbag monkeys. Pick up a bucket of plastic sandbox shovels for an Under the Sea Party or a handful of magic wands for a Princess Party. Use your computer to print simple invitation tags, and attach them with a hole-punch and scrap ribbon. More than likely, the bulk of invited children will be schoolmates or neighbors, and hand-delivering these unique invites will not only save on postage, but will spark the imagination of your guests. A little time and 10 bucks at the dollar store will earn you 10 kids that are excited about a party that hasn’t even started yet!
I don’t know who started the idea that kids need some sort of parting gift for showing up to a party, but party favors are basically mandatory. And, since I have no desire to torture other moms with tiny pieces of plastic junk that inevitably ends up between the cushions of the sofa, I’ve come up with the perfect solution!
Head to the local supercenter and look for inexpensive, one-gallon glass fishbowls. Line them up on the countertop and fill them with various candy and treats for the party. These will serve as the perfect “help yourself” snack bar. Near the end of the party, pass out small bags for the kids to fill up and take home. The same money pays for two party expenses- snacks and favors! Win – win!
Save yourself some time and hassle by using the “3 2 1 Method” when planning. Breaking it down in this way will not only feel less overwhelming, but it will keep you from planning too much and spending too much. For a two-hour party you’ll need:
- THREE things to do (games, crafts, activities)
- TWO times to eat (snacks & cake)
- ONE finale (opening gifts or pulverizing a piñata.)
Traditional backyard games are still fun for today’s kids. You’d be amazed at how, with a little persuasion, even a group of aloof teens will burst into giggles while playing a game of dodge ball! Here’s a quick list of time-tested, kid-approved party activities that cost next to nothing:
- Scavenger hunts
- Relay races
- Hula hoop contests
- Apple bobbing
- Toilet paper mummies
- Crazy fashion show
- Worst makeovers ever
- Kitchen science experiments
- Talent shows
- Movie night (Line shoe boxes with aluminum foil -add popped popcorn, a juice box and a bag of fruit snacks to each to make individual snack trays!)
So you see? Entertaining today’s kids really doesn’t have to cost a fortune. All you need is patience, desire and information… Oh, and don’t forget your list!
Want more help planning parties and activities for your kids?
Check out Marnie Ann Pacino’s books
For more information about Marnie and the books, go to her web site: www.CoolPartyMom.com