For this month’s “Just For Mom” article, I thought I’d tackle the topic of kids’ parties. You might wonder why this falls into that category so let me explain….

In this day and age of over-the-top birthday bashes and party-planning mayhem, it’s not always easy to keep things simple. A lot of time and energy goes into planning a child’s birthday party and, honestly, I think Moms (me included!) could use some of that time for us… to read a book, get a manicure or go for a run – whatever recharges us.

So in the spirit of saving time, money and sanity, here are some fab kids’ party ideas – because having a modest budget doesn’t mean you can’t throw an amazing, expensive-looking bash. (And be sure to do something fun for yourself with the time and money you save!)

1. Pick a fun theme

It may seem obvious to some party die-hards, but if you haven’t thought about choosing a theme for your child’s party, you should. Why? Because having a theme with coordinated decorations, food and games makes your party appear more cohesive – almost like you hired a professional – but without the huge cost. Even something as simple as choosing an eye-catching colour scheme can make all the difference.

Inspiration: Farm, Construction, Fancy Nancy/ Tea Party, Superhero, Dress-up, Ballerina, Cowboy, Over the Rainbow/Wizard of Oz, Princess, Big Top Circus

2. Make your own party treats

Buying specialty candies and cakes can really add up. Make your own fancy-looking treats and they’ll serve as decorations, too… which means more bang for your buck (and your time!). Some of my favourites are “pops” – brownie,ice cream and marshmallow varieties; and chocolate-dipped cookies. They are easy to make, don’t cost a fortune and have huge visual appeal. The best part? They can be made ahead of time and stored for a few days (up to two weeks, depending on the item), so you’re not pressed for time on the day of the party. The chocolate-dipped cookies are so easy, even kids can help! I made these marshmallow nail polish bottles and fancy chocolate crème cookies for my daughter’s last birthday party and they were a huge hit.

Fab Frugal Kids’ Parties 101

How To: buy coloured chocolate wafers (I prefer Merckens melting chocolate), melt and dip! You can add your favourite sprinkles, too, if you want them to be super fancy. (Click here for detailed instructions on how to make the Marshmallow Nail Polish Bottles.)

3. DIY custom decorations

I purchased three paper punches to make place cards, loot bag tags and food decorations for my daughter’s birthday party. It was a bit of an investment ($50 for three), but I made sure to buy versatile shapes that I’ll use over and over again.

How To:

Place cards and loot bag tags – I designed these on my computer, then punched them out and, in the case of the tags, layered different shaped pieces then secured them with hot glue.

Butterfly decorations – simply glue the punched out pieces onto sucker sticks and toothpicks (my daughter helped make these!)

Pom Poms – I scoured the internet for high-impact, yet inexpensive, decoration ideas and found instructions to make amazing tissue paper pom poms. Each $1 package of tissue makes two decorations – now that is what I call a good deal! And, they only take about 10 minutes to make each. I added fishing wire to hang the pom poms and stuck them on the ceiling with sticky tack, which gave the illusion they were floating.

Here’s how my decorations turned out…

Fab Frugal Kids’ Parties 101

Loot Bag Tags & Place Cards

Fab Frugal Kids’ Parties 101

Butterfly Decorations

Fab Frugal Kids’ Parties 101

Tissue Pom Poms

If you’re not savvy with graphic design, there are lots of websites that offer free printables for almost any party theme. One of my favourite resources is Gaddie & Tood (

4. Have fun with your child!

Many of these projects can be enjoyed with school-aged children. Get your child(ren) involved – they love to help out and do fun activities with their parents. And, when they see the final result, they will be blown away!

5. Planning is key

Doing all of these tasks in a short period of time would be overwhelming. But, with the right planning, they become easy and (relatively) stress-free. And, if you want some help, invite your Mom or some girlfriends over to get crafty… make it fun!

If you have any party pics to share, please post them on the CMR Facebook wall or tweet us (please tag @fabfrugalmama and @MotherResource). We’d love to see them!

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