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Being a mum is expensive in every way possible. From big things like school trips and after school clubs, to clothes, haircuts, food and everything in between, it feels as though we're constantly reaching into our purse and nervously handing over the plastic.
A birthday is one such occasion when we want to make the biggest fuss and do something special for our little ones, but what if we need to stick to a budget and throw fantastic but cheap kids party?
Splashing the cash doesn't necessarily mean that there's more fun to be had! In fact, there are lots of ways you can throw a kids' party. Our cheap kids party (opens in new tab) guide will allow you to invite all their little pals, feed them, entertain them, and send them on their merry way with a gift - all for under £100!
What's more, if you stick to planning a cheap kids party, there may even be enough cash left to pay for a bottle of wine to recover with...
Cheap kids party
Our guide sets out three possible party options:
All you have to do is scroll to the party you like the look of, and work out which options we've calculated you'd prefer, all of which will keep you within your budget of £100 for either 30, 20 or 15 guests. May the party force be with you!
1. The Traditional Party
Number of kids: 30
Download 30 invites (opens in new tab) and print them at home!
Download your FREE party invitations (opens in new tab), print it out, fill it in and get sending!
Hold the party at home, or if you're worried you don't have space big enough, ask a friend or member of your family nicely!
You don't need to go mad with the decorations, just a few simple touches will get everyone in the party spirit! We found so many lovely decorations at Poundland, so pop along to your local store to get into the party spirit without breaking the bank!
We chose: Pack of unicorn 20 plates x 2 (£2), Pack of unicorn birthday cups x 2 (£2), 20 pack Holographic Party Poppers (£1), 80 pack white plastic cutlery (£1), 24 Pack napkins (£1)
Making a cake big enough to serve to 30 hungry kids is no easy feat, so why not make everyone their very own cupcake instead? You could even make decorating the cakes one of the party activities, and then gather them all up to sing Happy Birthday once they're done!
Basic cupcakes (opens in new tab) £3.60 for 30 Betty Crocker vanilla buttercream-style icing £2.50 for one tub Sainsbury's Party Sprinkles cake decorations £2.50 Total: £8.60
Entertaining a lot of kids may sound like a total nightmare, but games are a great way to keep kids entertained on the cheap. If you're prepared and have a list of games ready to go to keep them busy at all times, you may just survive!
We have a whole host of party games for kids (opens in new tab) to play, including classics like 'What's the time Mr Wolf?', 'Simon says' and good old fashioned musical chairs! Fancy something a bit different? There are some great ideas on Pinterest including free printable bingo cards (opens in new tab)!
Download your FREE bingo cards! (opens in new tab)
When it comes to keeping the cost low at a kids' party, it's all about the power of frozen. You simply can't go wrong by stocking up on some tasty treats the kids are sure to love. We found a whole host of amazing party treats at Iceland, so make sure you take a trip and stock up the freezer in advance!
60 cocktail sausages (2 per person): £2
32 chicken goujons (1 per person with 2 leftover): £2 36 mini deep dish pizzas (1 per person with 6 leftover): £6
90 cheese and onion rolls (3 per person): £4 Classic dip selection: £1.79 1 bag of carrots: 65p 1 bag mixed peppers: £1.29 2 large bags of share crisps: £2 1 loaf of bread and one block of cheese (for sandwiches – cut into triangles): £3 Party rings twin pack: £1 Jaffa Cakes twin pack x 2: £2 Chocolate eclairs x 3: £3 No added sugar fizzy lemonade x 3: £1.50 No added sugar apple and blackcurrant squash: £2 Orange juice x 3: £2.67
If you'd like your small guests to leave with a little something, you don't need to go crazy. Poundland sells packs of toys and treats for, yes, you guessed it, £1, that can then be split between your guests to go even further.
Option 1: Tombola (1 thing each from Poundland) You can make the party-bag giving into a fun event but turning it into a tombola! Simply buy 30 things from Poundland, pop them all on a table and give out 30 pieces of paper with numbers 1-30 on them. Have 30 more pieces of paper with numbers 1-30 written on them, and draw a piece of paper from a bag one at a time so your guests choose their present to take away.
Example items include: My Little Pony Carry Colouring Book Fluffy Eyes pencil case Dreamworks Brick Puzzle - Shrek Total: £30
Option 2: Instead of buying 30 individual gifts, you can buy multi-packs of toys from Poundland, split them into party bags with 5 things in each bag each from a packet from the Poundland. You'll be giving each child 5 things each, but only spending £2 more!
We chose: 1 choc bar each: 6 in a packet/5 packets: £5, Sports Ball Party Bag Fillers 4 in a packet: £7, Medal Party Bag Fillers 4 in a packet/7 packs: £7, Chatter Teeth Party Bag Fillers 3 in a pack/10 packs:10
Total party cost:
With Option 1 party bags: £80.50 With Option 2 party bags: £79.50
2. The Pool Party
Number of kids: 20
Download 20 invites (opens in new tab) and then print them at home!
Download your FREE party invitations (opens in new tab), print it out, fill it in and get sending! Total: 0
Hold the party in your own garden, or if you're worried you don't have space big enough, ask a friend or member of your family nicely! Total: 0
As the party will be outside you don't need too many decorations, some colourful balloons, bunting and a few other touches is all you need!
From Sainburys: Home Assorted Rainbow Balloons x50 (tie with string and give each child one at the end of the party): £1 Pack of 10 Home Yay Paper Cups x 2: £4 Pack of 25 Sainsbury's Home White Paper Plate x 2: £4 Birthday bunting: Make your own using some old material, and you can even personalise it too! We show you how to make your own name bunting (opens in new tab): £0
No pool party would be complete without the, err, pool! Option 1: 10ft round paddling pool (opens in new tab)
Who says you need to buy a shop-bought cake for the ultimate pool party celebration? You can make your little one a really special and personalised cake for their birthday without needing to be a cake decorating pro!
By making a simple Victoria sandwich and buying some fondant icing and food colouring, you could design your very own pool party cake, just like this one. All you need for this is fondant icing, some different food colouring and some imagination! Cut and layer up the icing to make the shapes on the cake.
Victoria sandwich (opens in new tab) ingredients: £3 Fondant icing x 2 bags (one for covering cake, one for decorations): £6 Food colouring x 4 bottles and mix for different colours: £4 Total: £10
The paddling pool will keep the kids occupied for most of the time, but it doesn't hurt to make sure you have some fun garden games at the ready. Check out our retro outdoor kids games for lots of fun ideas!
Use the same food list from our 'Traditional Party' plan for some guaranteed party pleasers, minus the mini pizzas, cheese and onion rolls and chocolate eclairs to stick to your overall party budget Total: £34.90
Instead of a party bag, why not buy each child their own water squirt rings and give it to them when they arrive? They'll love playing with them throughout the party and will have something to take home with them too. Water squirt rings 6 pack (opens in new tab) 99p x 4: £3.96 Total: £9.60
Total party cost:
With Option 1 paddling pool: £90.85
3. The Sleepover
Number of kids: 10
Download 10 invites (opens in new tab) and print them at home!
Download your FREE party invitations (opens in new tab), print it out, fill it in and get sending - don't forget to remind guests to bring their PJs! Total: 0
One of the best things about throwing a sleepover is that you can host it in the comfort of your own home (and keep an eye on them all of course!) for no cost whatsoever. Total: 0
Use the same decorations as Option 2.
Why not try something different for your special sleepover party? Instead of one big cake, or cupcakes, make a mound of brownies and add a sparkler for a really special touch! To make 24 chocolate brownies you will need: Dark chocolate, butter, Caster sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, plain flour, cocoa powder Indoor sparklers Total: £6.70 Make your own chocolate brownies with our easy chocolate brownie recipe. (opens in new tab)
Paint your own mug Why not get crafty with the kids and let them design their very own mug? You don't need any expensive equipment or supplies, just some pens and some mugs! Oil-based sharpie pens: £10.38 White mugs x 10: £7.70
How to paint your own mug (opens in new tab)
Hot chocolate station Build a hot chocolate station for your guests to try out their new mugs! All you need is: Cocoa powder: £1.09 4pts milk: £1.15 Spray cream: £0.99 Mini marshmallows: 85p Chocolate sauce: £1.30 Total: £5.38 Don't miss all our ideas of ways to pimp your hot chocolate (opens in new tab)
Grab a selection of your child's favourite DVDs or Netflix and cosy up with a hot chocolate, a box of popcorn each under the duvets for DVD time. They'll love it! Popcorn boxes (opens in new tab) x 2 packs: £2.58 Popcorn kernals (opens in new tab) (add sugar and butter): £1.40 Total:
Truth or dare Truth or dare is a popular game for a reason - it's fun, and it's cheap! It's also the perfect accompaniment to a sleepover. Turn it into a real event by writing out 'truths' and 'dares' onto slips of paper, pop them in a jar, and then have your guests pass the jar round and taking it in turns to choose one!
Truths: What super power would you like to have and why? If you won a million pounds, what would you do with the money? What did the last text you got say? What animal would you most want to be and why? What are 3 things about you that no one in the room knows?
Dares: Eat a doughnut without licking your lips
What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
See how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth
Sing the first song that comes into your head
Show us your favourite dance move Total:
£2 for two packets of doughnuts
Keep it simple and buy guaranteed crowd pleasers. They'll already have hot chocolate, popcorn and brownies, so you don't need to go too crazy with extras! Pizzas x 4: £4 60 cocktail sausages (2 per person): £2 Classic dip selection: £3.58 1 bag of carrots: 65p 1 bag mixed peppers: £1.29 2 large bags of share crisps: £2 Party rings twin pack: £1 Jaffa Cakes twin pack x 2: £2 No added sugar fizzy lemonade x 1: 50p No added sugar apple and blackcurrant squash: £1.50 Diet Coke (1.25l) x 1: £1 Total: £19.52
Breakfast Pancake Party:
Kids will love a pancake party for breakfast the next day! All you need to do is triple our ultimate pancake recipe, and set out a few toppings for them to choose from.
Triple our ultimate pancakes recipe (opens in new tab) Pancakes: £1.50 Strawberries: £4 Blueberries: £3 Squirty cream: £0.99 Nutella: £2.70 Total: £11
Total party cost:
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