As you'll know if you've read my article Cheap and Easy Children's Birthday Parties , I'm all about stress free, easy and low cost parties. In addition to those tips about staying sane and saving your wallet these ideas about venue and entertainment options are guaranteed to keep the kids happy. We have road tested each option either as party organisers or as guests.
1. Good old fashioned backyard/garage party - great if you have a large yard. Buy some bubble wands, water balloons, chalk, soccer balls or whatever your child likes and sit back and let the kids go wild.
2. Enhanced backyard party with jumping castle - same as above but you also hire a jumping castle for around $150 for quite a few hours depending on the company.
3. Party in the park. It's hard to go past the party in a park. It's free, it's easy and kids love it. Save on the effort of lugging stuff to the park by holding the party between meal times so that you can provide minimal food and drink which also saves on clean up. You might have to get there early to stake out a table but that's about the worst of it.
4. Combined party. How about combining efforts with other parents to jointly organise a combined party for a few kids. With expenses shared you can either have a very cheap party or lash out on entertainment or decorations or the cake. Also more eyes to watch kids and more hands to clean up.
5. Party at a play centre. This is another easy and surprisingly cheap option if you stick to the number of guests in the package deal. Food and entertainment provided and best of all there is no cleanup! Also as these are indoor you don't need to worry about the weather. Options include Rowdy Rascals Jindalee, Tiddlywinks Dance and Play Cafe at Nundah and Chipmunks at Everton Park. Prices are around $200 for 8-10 kids.
Ginger Sports party
6. Soccer Party either with Ginger Sports or just with some active parents. If you have a soccer mad child you can buy some blow up soccer goals and enlist a few parents to get a game going. Alternatively you can hire Ginger Sports to run the games for you. Coaches with Ginger Sports are experienced at running games for children and in coaxing less enthusiastic kids to join in. There are several price options from $165 to $305 depending on the number of guests. I am sure you can substitute other sports and there will be organisations who can help run the party.
Patting snakes with Geckoes
7. Wildlife party with Geckoes Wildlife. Geckoes will bring a range of wildlife to your house or a park and will host an educational experience for the kids including letting a python slither over their outstretched legs and having photos with a snake around their neck. The scare factor is always a hit with boys and girls. This is probably one of the more expensive options at $300 for 15 kids but if you keep your other costs down or combine with another child in the class it becomes a more viable option.
A helping hand at Stafford Skate
8. Roller Skating Party. My son has been to two roller skating parties in the last three months so clearly this is a popular option. Again the entertainment and clean up is taken care of. At Stafford Skate Centre a cake and ice cream is included in the package so you just need to provide a few snacks and party bags. Prices start from $140 for ten kids and there are wonderful staff ready to give beginner skaters a few tips so the experience is enjoyable.
9. Science Party. Let Street Science come and entertain the kids with slime and explosions. Parties start at $300 and are suitable for ages six and up. These are fantastic hands on parties that get kids to do their own experiments. The street Science team bring everything and clean up after themselves. Too easy.
10. Super Hero Party. This can be held at home or in the park and is probably best for under fives. This is a do it yourself superhero cape and mask party. I went to a fabric shop and bought a few metres of shiny red material (approx. $4 per metre) a few cardboard party masks from a discount store ( a few dollars for ten) and some sticky foam letters from Riot Art Store ($10 for a huge tub). On arrival each child got a superhero kit with red cape, sticky foam letters to form their name, a sparkly mask and some star stickers. Decorating their cape and mask is the first activity and then the rest of the party involved kids inventing their own superhero games. For decorations I pulled a superhero comic apart and pinned the pages around the yard. This is definitely more work up front than some other options but it was quite cheap with the cape and mask working out to only a couple of dollars per child.