Children at a briight, colourful birthday party

Planning Your Child’s Birthday Parties

Planning your child’s birthday parties can be a financial worry, especially with the cost of living so high. At East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau in west-central Scotland, we are here to help. If you live or work in the East Dunbartonshire area, we can help you if you are struggling with the cost of living. Please contact us here, chat online, or call us on 0141 775 3220. If you reside outside East Dunbartonshire, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance. Find them here.

As parents, it can be hard to say no to things like birthday parties and celebrations, even when the budget is tight. This often leaves us frantic and stressed, trying to crunch the numbers to determine whether we can afford to host a children’s birthday party. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to throw brilliant parties for your child’s birthday without breaking the bank – you’ve just got to think ahead.

Children at a briight, colourful birthday party
Your child’s birthday parties don’t have to break the bank

Finding a Venue

The first step of your child’s birthday party planning process is to decide where you’re having it. You could opt for somewhere like an adventure playground or a laser tag arena, but unfortunately, they’re never cheap. So what are the venue options for a child’s birthday party on a budget?

Cheap Child’s Birthday Party Venue Ideas

If you definitely want to hire somewhere for your child’s birthday party, then it’s worth considering that most towns and cities will have a selection of halls and buildings for hire that do not charge extortionate amounts. Local village halls are usually especially cheap; some even offer free services. You can use the East Dunbartonshire Council website to search for venues near you.

Have a wander around your neighbourhood, or look on Google Maps for local village halls and function rooms. You’ll often find that these rooms are much cheaper than you think. A lot of them will have functioning kitchens, perfect for preparing food if you choose to. Some venues might even have optional extras like bouncy castles for you and your guests to use!

Free Child’s Birthday Party Venue Ideas

For those whose budget doesn’t stretch that far, you’ll be pleased to know that plenty of free children’s birthday party venues won’t cost a penny. For example, your home and local park are great places to host. You could have a picnic or a BBQ in the park, or even host something like a sports day if your child is particularly sporty! There are lots of options when it comes to hosting children’s birthday parties in public parks. Likewise, hosting at home gives you the option of a sleepover or a movie night and protects you from any issues with potential bad weather!

Children playing with bubbles outside
A picnic or BBQ in a local park works well

Keeping The Kids Entertained

Cheap Child’s Birthday Party Entertainment Ideas

Once you’ve nailed down an affordable venue, the next step in planning a budget-friendly child’s birthday party is to keep the little ones entertained. Here are some creative and cost-effective ideas to ensure a fun-filled celebration.

Make your own gift bags:

Skip the pre-made party favour bags and create your own. They don’t need to be full to the brim of stuff; you can personalise them with small, thoughtful items that won’t break the bank.

Use Spotify or YouTube for music:

Often parents find themselves trying too hard when it comes to their kids’ parties. But if you’re scrolling through DJ listings online – stop right there. Forget about hiring a DJ. If you want music, create a fun playlist on Spotify or find kid-friendly music videos on YouTube to keep the party atmosphere lively.

Happy child listening to music
Create a playlist instead of hiring a DJ

Hire, Don’t Buy

Consider hiring party essentials like tables, chairs, and decorations if you don’t plan to reuse them. It’s more cost-effective than buying new items for each party and more eco-friendly too! This is especially useful if you’ve not got a lot of storage space at home.

Consider Digital Invites

Instead of splurging on paper invitations and postage, go digital. Create an e-invitation on platforms like Evite or even a simple Facebook event to save both time and money. Most schools will have a WhatsApp parents group or email chain, and it can really ease some of the stress to pop the notification in there. Plus, you don’t have to chase down parents at drop off, pick up, or trust your little one to give out all the invites. And, of course, it’s better for the environment.

Make Shareable Food or Personalized Boxes

Instead of ordering or cooking individual meals for each child, you should consider making a big batch of kid-friendly food like homemade pizzas, hot dogs, or sliders. It’s cost-effective and allows kids to customize their own meals. If you’re worried about sharing, you could also choose to create little cardboard lunch boxes for each child with a sandwich, a bit of chocolate, and a bit of fruit – that way everyone’s got the same thing!

Face Painting

Why not give face painting a try yourself? Yes, you could hire a professional, but with a bit of practice, this could be something cheap that you could do.

Child having her face painted
Practice face painting before the party

Free Child’s Birthday Entertainment Ideas

Games and Sports

Organise classic outdoor games like sack races, three-legged races, or even an egg and spoon race. Many children love things like this and will usually get playfully competitive, giving your child’s birthday party a lively atmosphere and keeping everyone entertained.

Nature Exploration

If you can access a nearby park or woodland area, consider taking the children on a nature walk. Collect leaves, rocks, or pinecones to create nature-themed crafts later. You could even make it into a little scavenger hunt to see who can find the brownest leaves or rocks with holes in them—then they can make something pretty with it to take home at the end of the party!

Home Cinema

Transform your living room into a cinema. Stock up on some sweeties and popcorn and queue a bunch of Disney, Marvel, or whatever else your kids love. Layer them up with blankets, and you’ve got a cosy, low-cost birthday party that everyone can enjoy.

Kids watching a movie with popcorn
Set up a few films and have a home cinema night

Combining a handful of these budget-friendly children’s birthday party ideas, you can, without a doubt, host a memorable birthday party without emptying the bank. With some planning and creativity, it’s amazing what you can create.

And if you are struggling with the cost of living, take a look at some of our other blogs for help and support.

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