Last week we started the “Minimalist’s Guide to Birthdays” series. I explained why I’m doing the series and discussed birthday party mom-guilt. Another reason we have minimalist parties in our home that I forgot to mention is that it cuts down on overstimulation for Dr. J.
Today we’re talking easy decorations and snacks. Let’s get started!
Easy, affordable party decorations
Here’s my favorite kid birthday party tip: Let the kids help make decorations! There are three benefits here–save money, they feel involved/proud of their work, and you get a few minutes of quiet to do something else while they work.
Start with this list of birthday party decorations and see if you get inspired.
Use brown paper bags for goody bags. Let the birthday child decorate each bag. This can be as simple as crayons and markers or you can purchase some stickers that match the party theme.
Get a roll of white paper or newsprint. Roll it out on your table and cut to appropriate length. Again, let your kids decorate it according to the birthday theme.
Make personalized placemats. Simply let your child use a piece of printer paper for each placemat. Again, decorate at the level that fits.
Purchase a few helium balloons at the dollar store. You don’t need many to create a festive atmosphere.
Mix licensed character party goods with plain ones. For example, for Meatball’s super hero party, I spent money on Spiderman cups and napkins. Then I bought red plates. You can even purchase just one special item like cups or plates and use that to add some pizzazz to the other plain items.
Let your kids make signs. I know this seems repetitive, but the kids really enjoy doing all this decorating and guests enjoy seeing their artwork.
Cover things you already have. Need some balloon weights? Wrap up a soup can. Want some extra decorations around? Wrap up grocery store items from your pantry and place them around the party. Buy clearance wrapping paper to stock your supply.
Simple birthday party food
Someday I hope to order my son a fancy cake from the gluten-free bakery. Until then, we’ll just keep things simple.
Decorate your own cupcake. Kids love this and you don’t have to be creative! Just put out sprinkles, mini M&Ms, frosting, or anything else you think the birthday child and guests would like. Give each child a knife for frosting and a plate big enough to catch the mess. This also serves as a fun activity–double duty!
Use muffin liners to create individual snack bowls. Pretzels, cut up fruit, cheese cubes, and dried fruit all make easy kid-friendly snacks.
Start shopping ahead of time so you can buy on sale or clearance. Kids love juice boxes and fruit snacks. If you start shopping early, you can save money when they go on sale.
Build your own ___. You can do build your own pizza. Have a hot dog creating contest. Again, kids love making their own food, and you can buy on sale ahead of time.
Make kabobs. Use toothpicks to make fruit kabobs or add some veggies and cheese in there, too.
Utilize things you already have. Don’t think you can make a fancy cake? Me neither. This year I used food coloring to make blue and red frosting. Then I frosted the cupcakes. I covered a plate with foil, added the cupcakes, and then put my son’s Spiderman action figure in the middle of the cupcakes. Nothing fancy, but it worked!
Want more options? Here you go!
Grab ideas at this Alice in Wonderland unbirthday party.
Maybe you can convert some ideas from this butterfly party.
Gather possibilities at this puppy party.
Check out the simple fun at this rainbow party.
Get step-by-step instructions for a Bad Piggies party.
Now it’s your turn!
What are your favorite frugal and easy birthday party food and decoration ideas? Leave them in the comments to inspire others!