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Birthday Ideas for Children's Parties

We all want to give our children a good time and make them feel special on their birthdays. The key to planning frugal parties that kids will love is to think like a kid: give them the simple pleasures that they enjoy instead of spending an obscene amount of money trying to keep up with friends and neighbors.

It is easy to get caught up in the 'competition' of thinking that your party has to be as extravagant or more so than the last one your child went to. Hired entertainers, rented restaurants and expensive outings have taken the place of balloons and cake in the back yard. In reality, though, all the kids really want to do is have fun with their friends, eat junk food, and open presents!

Frugal moms know that birthday party ideas for kids do not have to be expensive. Here are some tips for keeping them fun for everyone as well as affordable:

• Very young children have much more fun just playing than they do in organized activities. If the children are under the age of four, just have the party at a park (or your yard, if it is equipped with enough sturdy, safe play equipment or room to run around), take some balloons for decorations, a cake and other snacks and let them have fun!

• For older children you can combine the food and activities – let them put together their own pizza or ice cream sundae. Be sure to allow time for just playing with their friends, too.

• Make your own invitations. You can do this on your computer or visit a craft store and get some fun scrapbooking paper to use for handmade ones. If your party has a theme, reflect that theme in your invitations. You can find fun ideas at teaching supply stores, too - paper with animal borders, etc. make very cute invitations.

• Use paper lunch bags as goodie bags. As a fun activity, have the guests decorate them at the party. Fill them with candy bought in bulk, and think about buying some low-cost gifts in quantity as well - stickers, inexpensive yo-yos, and so forth.

Punch holes in the top of each bag with a hole punch and put a colorful ribbon through both sides and tie it closed, if you want.

• As kids become teens their tastes will change. Sometimes teens don't want parties anymore; some would prefer to go to the movies with some friends, or some other similar activity. Let them know how much money is available to spend on the occasion and let them decide if they want a small party, or to use the money to go out with a friend.

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