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Do-it-yourself birthday party cuts costs in half!

A child’s birthday comes once a year, every year, and commercial celebrations are costly. However, being creative with party themes, games, and food for a do-it-yourself party can cut costs in half.

Investigate your child’s interests in order to develop themes and color ideas for decorations.   Also, try using what you have at home for games and activities. These parties take more time than going to a water park or to a laser tag/bowling venue, but part of the fun for your child is preparing for the party.

General recommendations for children’s birthday parties include:

  • The number of guests invited should not exceed your child’s age (5 years old = 5 guests) until the age of 7.
  • Make sure to have a sufficient number of adults to supervise (at least 2).
  • Think about rules you want to establish and discuss them with your child ahead of time.
  • Keep phone numbers of guests’ parents handy.
  • Plan time well: 15 minutes for greeting, 15 minutes for good-byes, and activities should be planned in about 30 minute increments.

If you would like to see some inexpensive party suggestions and their costs, check out my ideas for do-it-yourself birthday parties on the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website.

Amanda Miller, Senior, ISU Dietetics

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  1. When working with EFNEP families (or talking to friends, for that matter), I often suggest a Parfait Bar (with fruit, yogurt, granola, etc.) as a “party food” option instead of pizza. Presentation is simple and can be pretty, and everyone gets to make their own parfait.

    (Also, don’t tell my nephews and nieces, but when I make grape punch I use real grape juice with water and Splenda. 🙂

  2. I agree with Ruby on the healthier option of a Parfait Bar. It won’t fill the kids full of sugar and they’ll have more fun with it when they can create their own 🙂

    Not only is it more cost-effective, but organising the party yourself can be more fun. I never thought about the idea of inviting the same number of kids as my child’s age. That’s not a bad idea.

    @Ruby Nancy

  3. The number of guest would not be a bad idea… But my son is in daycare and has a couple friends who bring gifts, I would feel horrible to leave them out… not to mention, the close friends with kids his age, and family members with kids his age…
    We are big on Family and very close Friends. Its not really a party unless they are invited to celebrate 🙂

    But cutting the budget with Parfaits, sounds wonderful!!

  4. I did a taco bar one time and that was healthy, cheap, and a huge hit for kids and their parents.

  5. I ususally do house parties with veggies and fruit as finger food. juicy juice real fruit juice and spaghetti with whole grain pasta.