After our interview with the lovely and gracious Kylie and Larry on Channel 7’s The Morning Show, we’ve received so many requests to publish our Top Tips on how to host a fabulous kids birthday party and still stay on budget. Or as we like to call them parties with more dash than cash :).
It almost goes without saying but the key is not setting the budget, the key is S-T-I-C-K-I-N-G to it. You may think you have the upper hand but your child has spent their entire life perfecting the perfect pitch, speed, and repetitiveness of “mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum…why can’t I”. If you don’t focus, remain firm and buy ear plug, you’ll have thrown in the towel after a day. Don’t consider it, don’t even look at more expensive options – you’ll thank us later.
There’s nothing like over-dosing on Pinterest and Instagram searching for that perfect hit. Want rainbow unicorns, there are countless Pin boards for it. If it’s Batman you crave, Instagram can flood you with images of OTT parties and tricked out BatMobiles. Our advice? Don’t covet the decorations or the venue, keep Rule #1 in mind and hit the discount party outlets, the two dollar shops, online stores and your friends & family network. Think atmosphere – be disciplined. Use what you’ve got, borrow what you can, buy only if you need to. Necessity truly is the mother of invention, but in a totally fun way.
There’s no need to spend money on paper invitations and stamps, embrace technology and let it do all the heavy lifting for you. At GroupTogether.com, we provide e-invitations, tally RSVPs, send reminders, allow you to collect for a group gift and create a group card all in one place. Other websites and apps can help you organise the party, set calendar reminders so you stay on track and create a photo album of memories.
Don’t spend all your time, energy and money trying to make everything perfect because you can’t. Instead, breathe deeply, let go of the tension and focus your energy and resources on one activity. Is your child dying to play paintball or lasertag? How about a DIY party at the local park where you split the kids into teams, paint their faces and arm them with water balloons. Or, our favourite, buy bulk donuts from your local grocery store and hang them on line but at eye level so the kids have to reach. Make it a contest to see who can eat their donut the fastest. Keep your camera (charged) at the ready to get those perfect shots for Instagram (you may not even need the filter :).
There’s no need for candelabras or boiling cauldrons on the table, you can use simple tricks of the trade to impress guests. For example, use height for impact – buy bulk cupcakes from your grocery store and stack them in a pyramid or on tall (lego) blocks. Not only do you save yourself the cost of making a big birthday cake, you can cater to entirely different tastes by choosing different frostings and decorations. Want to turn it into an activity? Supply un-iced cupcakes and have bowls of coloured icing sugar and decorations on the table and let each child ice and decorate their own. Messy but satisfying.
We’d love to hear from you on your best tips for More Dash Than Cash, there’s nothing better than hearing from a community of smart, clever mums and dads on how they plan parties.
Also, if you’d like a bit more information on the nitty gritty of organising a party to make sure you make your lists and check them twice, read our step-by-step guide on planning a kids party.
Julie + Ali