This is the second of a two-part series packed with tips and tricks to help you host a children’s party for under $100.
In part I, I explained how to save money on the venue and activities. Eight super fun activities and prizes to go with them added up to $25.
Part II tackles the food, cake, decorations, prizes and party bags, as well as the optional craft activity. And we still stay under budget.
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – PRIZES
I allowed $2 per prize for the activities in part I of this Host a Children’s Party article.
How did I come up with this number?
A visit to the supermarket and cheap shop and a little imagination.
A bag containing six jungle animals cost $2.95 – that’s less than 50 cents per animal and a great prize for a jungle-themed party. You could pair it with a bubble wand (a four-pack was $2.50) and still be spending about half of the $2 budgeted. These would work for pass the parcel too. They would also work for the party bags.
There were harmonicas for $2, large bubble wands for $1.95, frisbees for $2 and skipping ropes for $2.
Sweet sets of stickers – what kid doesn’t love stickers? – $1.99 per sheet.
Don’t be frightened to split things up. Such as the jungle animals.
What’s important to remember here is that this is YOUR child’s birthday party. The little prizes and pass the parcel gifts shouldn’t upstage the gifts your child receives. And it’s good to remember that everyone has different budgets and those on tighter budgets could feel uncomfortable if they think their gift doesn’t even match up to the party prizes.
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – CRAFT
I could rave on forever about how wonderful it is to incorporate creative ventures into kids’ parties.
Just read How to Help Children Learn More Through Creativity to discover how important creativity is when it comes to children. When you add it to a party, each child leaves with something special they have made and can be proud of. For some fun and easy craft ideas, that won’t break the budget, read 25 of the Best Craft Cures for Holiday Headaches. You could safely do any one of these for around $5 – for all eight kids!
Total Cost of Craft Projects = $5
If you are not confident running a craft segment but would like to incorporate one into your party, Wacky Workshops will come to your party venue (if it’s in the lower Blue Mountains area) and run a one-hour workshop designed to suit your theme. All materials will be supplied but beware – it will cost you more than $5. 🙂
If you are uncomfortable creating the decorations and making the activities etc, you can book a pre-party workshop with your birthday child and siblings or a few friends, and we’ll do the work for you. Again, this is going to cost you more.
I’m so passionate about trying to save you money and to promote creative time with children that I am happy to come up with suggestions – free of charge – if you have a theme you’d like to create but are stuck on ideas. Just send me an email via the contact button in the menu and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – FOOD
My experience has been the kids are so busy having fun, they don’t eat all that much and I’m often left with lots of left-over food. I’d prefer too much than too little though.
A typical menu would include:
I use the microwave kind at a cost of $5.55 for a four-pack. You’ll only need one bag so the popcorn costs less than $1.40. If you stove cook the kernels (a bag costs $1.95), it costs even less.
It costs around $1.80 for a full loaf of bread. You will have plenty left over. You could use the leftover to add to the menu with little triangle sandwiches. The sprinkles cost around $2 and again, you’ll have heaps left over. In view of the leftover sprinkles and bread, this fun snack will cost you less than $2 to make enough for eight.
I make my own which saves money. They cost around $6 to make around 80. Buy thick sausages ($5 for 750 g) and puff pastry ($2.30 for six sheets – you won’t use them all). Link to the recipe is below.
Again, homemade and cost around $3 – $4 to make 20. Free-range 600g cost $3.80 – but you’ll only use three or four, so allow $1. You’ll use around $1 worth of puff pastry and another $2 will more than cover the other ingredients. Link to the recipe is below.
I just thread in season fruit onto wooden skewers. I sometimes add marshmallows. Total cost is dependent on the fruit you buy. I have made 10 for under $4.
Veggies and dip
A couple of carrots and some celery with an easy dip (maybe sour cream with dried French Onion Soup mixed in) is healthy and cheap. It costs around $3 – $4.
Again homemade. They can be any kind you choose. My white chocolate and macadamia cookies are always a hit. Assuming you already have the basics, like flour, on hand, the biggest cost for these is the macadamia ($8.50 for 200 g – you’ll use about one-third of the packet, which makes it around $2.85) and the white chocolate ($4 for a 180 g block – you’ll use about a third of it, so around $1.30). The cost, including the flour and other ingredients, works out to be less than $5 for about 40 biscuits.
You can find the recipes to most of these in my post How to Make Food Fit for Fairies.
Total Cost of Food = $26.40 – let’s say $27.
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – DRINKS
I used to offer cordial as a party drink when my own kids were young. These days I’m much more sugar conscious so usually just offer water (free) or juice (often watered down so they are consuming less sugar and it lasts longer). A two-litre apple juice costs around $2.
Total Cost of Drinks = $2
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – THE CAKE
If you make your own you will save a fortune! You can use packet mixes or start from scratch and save even more. A supermarket packet cake mix will cost you around $2. Allow another $5 for icing and decorations. You can make the cake to suit any theme. I’ve made monster cakes, pirate treasure chests, guitar cakes and so many more to fit a theme.
Total Food and Drink Plus Cake Cost = $7
Total Food, Drink and Cake Cost = $36
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – DECORATIONS
Again, save money by making your own. And get the birthday child and siblings to help. As I mentioned in part I, one of the Goddesses had a ball creating dozens of fairy pictures for our party. I added colourful streamers (which cost around $2 from the cheap shop) and we were done. I’m going off balloons a little because of the whole plastic thing, but you can pick up a packet for $2 from the supermarket.
Having a pirate party? Print old-style maps on A4 paper, soak them in tea overnight. When completely dry, use a lighter to burn the edges – awesome decoration and you could even make them as part of a treasure hunt game. This will cost you less than $2.
Does your child love flowers? Make your own big, colourful ones out of paper.
Jungle animals are a great theme for costume parties. Use large boxes from refrigerators or washing machines (ask around – this is why you start planning early) to make a giant tree trunk. Cut large leaves from A3 coloured cardboard and attach them to the trunk. It will cost you around $2.
The parrot craft mentioned above would work well for this too.
You can make your own decorations for a fraction of the cost of buying them – and have fun with the kids at the same time. Set your decorating budget to $10.
I bought several decorations for a baby shower last year. None of them cost too much but I was stunned by how much all those little purchases had added up to.
Total Cost of Decorations = $10
HOST A CHILDREN’S PARTY FOR UNDER $100 – PARTY BAGS
All that’s left is those little gifts we give to the children when the party is over – party bags.
These days, the lollies are not as popular as people are becoming more aware of the danger of too much sugar.
You can save on these by making your own bags. Have the birthday child draw lovely pictures on paper and then transform them into party bags.
Cheap shops offer an array of party favours that are very affordable or you could think outside the box and make your own treasures to suit the theme.
You can buy small terracotta pots for around $1 each. Buy a packet of flower or veggie seeds for around $2 and divide to seeds into eight equal lots. Place these in the pots with instructions you have printed out about how to sow and care for them. Add a beautiful flower pen – (you can buy a 10 pack of pens for $1, a bunch of artificial flowers for $3 and some ribbon for $2 – total cost to make eight = $6). Find out how to make them here. Fill the pots with a bit of tissue, cello or crepe paper (less than $2). This whole thing costs less than $18 to make eight truly original ‘party bags’ – that’s only $2.25 per party bag.
Total cost of Party Bags = $18
Let’s add up the tally and see where we are.
Activities and prizes = $25
Craft activity = $5
Food, drinks and cake = $36
Decorating = $10
Party bags = $18
GRAND TOTAL = $94
For under $100 you can host a three-hour children’s party for eight that includes fun games, prizes, crafts, yummy food and drinks, pretty decorations, the cake and the party bags. Check out these sweet DIY party invitations you can make and still stay under budget.
WHAT THE VENUES COST YOU
See how this compares with the one-hour parties at the venues I researched. Note: these prices may have changed since the time of writing this post. It’s doubtful they will have gone down.
AMF Bowling and Laser Skirmish has a party package for kids that includes one game (either bowling or laser skirmish), invitation, a host 5 ‘arcade bucks’ for the arcade games and a child’s meal consisting of either hot dogs or chicken nuggets with chips and a drink. Cost per child is $27.90. Total cost for eight children is $223.20. This does not include the cake.
Lollipops Playground which has a playground consisting of jumping castles, a play frame, slides and ball pits charges $249 for eight children. The cost includes use of the equipment, one hour use of a themed room with a host, invites, hats, lolly bags. Food includes fairy bread, popcorn, potato chips, mixed lollies and a meal choice of chicken nuggets, cocktail frankfurts or sandwiches, all with chips, plus water or cordial to drink. It also includes a gift for the birthday child, including a ticket to revisit. The cost does not include the cake.
Monkey Mania has a large play area including inflatable castles, climbing frames and slides. The charge for eight children is $199 and includes snacks such as fairy bread, water biscuits, cheezels, popcorn, jelly cups, cheese and vegemite sandwiches as well as water or cordial to drink. The package includes the use of a themed room, with a host, for one hour, invites, placemats, balloon, return entry for the birthday child and two drink vouchers. This does not include the cake.
Whatever you decide, happy planning and partying, and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.
PS: Don’t forget to claim your free party planning checklist. It’s loaded with heaps more tips. 🙂