How to Entertain Kids at a Birthday Party
You’ve probably seen the reality TV shows about parents who are willing to spend thousands of dollars to make sure their kids have a one-of-a-kind birthday party (that they’ll have to try to top the next year). The truth is, most kids are just happy to have some cake, presents, and a few friends to play “pin the tail on the donkey” with. Unless your children are used to a lavish lifestyle and you’ve spoiled them ceaselessly, you really don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on an annual celebration of their birth (even if they are spoiled, maybe it’s time to turn that around). So here are just a few ideas for a fun and entertaining party that won’t leave you dipping into the college fund to pay it off.
- Board games. Why not go old-school with your child’s party by pulling out favorite board games (and maybe ordering a few new ones off Amazon)? Kids love board games and you can probably provide a variety. You could even hold a tournament with prizes of some sort. And if you don’t particularly like the idea of a competition, look online for some of the many cooperative games that make all the players work together towards a common goal (so that everyone wins).
- Video games. If your child would rather handle a controller than roll the dice, then you can set up a video game party instead. You might be a bit skeptical about how this will work since many games only allow for one or two players, but if you have Rock Band you can get four kids at a time rocking out to their favorite songs, and the increments of gameplay are short enough (the length of a song) that you can rotate new kids into the band every few minutes to make sure everyone has a chance to play.
- Scary movie slumber party. What kid doesn’t like a campout complete with scary stories? If you live in a climate that is warm or your child has a summer birthday, you can certainly pitch a couple of tents in the yard and get a controlled fire pit blazing. But it might be easier to set up an awesome blanket-fort in the living room for the night, have everyone roll out their sleeping bags, make some s’mores and popcorn in the kitchen, and then pop in some age-appropriate scary movies to keep them entertained.
- Scavenger hunt. You’ll have to do some prep work for this one, but it will certainly keep the kids busy for an afternoon. If you don’t have much space in and around the house to hide stuff, ask your neighbors to participate by holding items that the kids have to come and pick up. Then team up the guests for some sleuthing fun! Everyone who completes the list will go home with small prizes.
- Entertainers. Although you may not be able to afford Bozo the Clown or that close up magician that your kid saw at his friend’s party last month, it doesn’t mean you can’t engineer some entertainment for the party (for less). You can start by finding out what the professionals charge and whether or not they have discounts available. Or ask other parents to find out if they know of anyone who has reasonable rates. You might also want to talk to any friends that have a passion for arts, crafts, or even cooking to see if they’d be willing to instruct the kids for an afternoon and send them all home with a cool new creation.