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25 Birthday Party Tips. How to throw a super fun, super cheap event. By Lindsay Armstrong for The Babble List.

Once upon a time, kid’s birthday parties went hand-in-hand with things like piñatas and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Now, you’re more likely to hear about party planners and catering services. Everyone wants their child’s birthday to be a day filled with special memories, but what if you are unable-or unwilling-to shell out the big bucks? Here are twenty-five bright ideas to help you keep the party going without breaking the bank. – Lindsay Armstrong

1) Avoid paying for space.

If you have a large enough home or yard to host a party, have it there. This is a bit trickier if you live in a cramped apartment (although temporarily moving furniture can help). The park is a great option in the warmer months. If you’re working with a winter birthday, call your local church, synagogue, or community center. Many of them have spaces that you can use for a very low cost.

2) Limit the hours of the party.

Most kids have an attention span of approximately 6 minutes, so there is no need to throw a four-hour birthday extravaganza for a three-year-old child. If you limit the party to two hours in the afternoon, you will greatly reduce party costs. This way you don’t need to provide a meal, just some light snacks along with cake and ice cream.

3) Go retro.

Sure, we think of limbo and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey as boring, tried-and-true activities, but when was the last time your kids actually played these games at a party? Throw an old-fashioned birthday bash! Play musical chairs, Twister, and that game where kids pass a balloon around and sit on it until it pops. You can complete the retro feel with snacks like Rice Krispie Treats and Jiffy Pop.

4) Go on a field trip.

If your child has been begging to do something special, like visit that rock-climbing gym or see a Broadway show, why not do it for his birthday? Make it clear that this field trip is in lieu of a party and let him pick one or two close friends to share in the experience. Even if you spend a little cash, it’s still cheaper than a full-blown party.

5) Cook up a storm.

Kids love to help out in the kitchen, so why not combine the food and entertainment portions of the evening? Set out bowls of toppings and let kids create their own pizzas, cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes. Another option is to give each child some dough and cookie cutters and let them go to work. You can open the presents while their creations are baking and avoid paying for costly entertainment.

6) Don’t invite everyone.

Smaller parties are more manageable for you and are often more enjoyable for your child. The general rule of thumb is to invite as many children as your child’s age plus one. So, if this is a sixth birthday party, invite seven children.

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