By Cyndi Roberts and Tomilyn Lane
Natural and Easy:
Thrill Your Little Girl with a Princess Birthday Party
Kids' birthday parties seem to have gotten a little out of hand these days. The only parties some children have ever attended have been at places like McDonald's or Burger King! However, with a little planning, you can throw a great party in your own home for a lot less money.
A princess theme might be just the thing for your little girl. What little girl doesn't dream of being a princess? Here are some ideas to help you plan a princess party on a budget.
More is not merrier
First of all, remember that more is not always merrier when it comes to children. A good rule of thumb is to invite four friends to a 4-year-old's party, five to a 5-year-old's party, etc.
Start watching for invitations ahead of time at the dollar store, garage sales and discount centers. If you don't find a bargain, think about letting the birthday girl help make some. Fold half a sheet of typing paper in half, write the pertinent info inside and the guest's name on the outside. Decorate with glitter, stickers, etc. Staple closed and hand deliver, or slip into an envelope and mail.
Simple craft activities
The girls will love to make "treasure boxes". Cover a box (shoe boxes work fine) with tissue paper, or spray paint gold ahead of time. Then the girls can decorate their own box with stickers, glitter, buttons, silk flowers, beads, markers, crayons — anything you can think of. Any prizes from games (such as a pinata or grab bag) or favors can go in their boxes for taking home.
Necklaces are fun and easy to make. Use colored twine or narrow ribbon (whatever you have on hand) and let the guests string with cereal, Life Savers, uncooked pasta or anything else you can find.
Fun and games
A neat game to play is a beanbag toss. Make beanbags out of clean, old socks. Find a large box and cut holes in the shape of crowns. Let the girls take turns tossing the beanbags into the holes.
Younger children will enjoy this grab bag game. Wrap little toys (things you have gotten on sale or at the dollar store, of course) and put them in a box. Hold the box up high and let the girls grab using tongs. This is fun because they get to open little gifts, just like the birthday girl.
For girls a little older who love to play dress up, take an old sheet and cut out an "apron" shape, one that fits over the head. Use pinking shears for a decorative edge and no need to hem. The girls can decorate these "dresses" with glitter pens, markers, buttons, etc. Slip them over their heads and tie a ribbon around the waist.
Instead of baking a big birthday cake, you might want to consider making cupcakes instead. Just frost and decorate with candies, then put a candle in the top of each cupcake. Each child gets to blow one out!
The day before the party, dip ice cream into paper-lined muffin tins and keep in the freezer ‘til time to serve. You'll have much less hassle at refreshment time.
These ideas can be modified to fit any theme, for boys or girls. Do you have a "little cowboy"? Make your invitations in the shape of cowboy hats or boots. Just use your imagination and have fun!
© Cyndi Roberts
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly newsletter and founder of the web site of the same name. Tomilyn Lane, her daughter, holds a degree in fashion merchandising and is a happily married stay-at-home mother to one "little princess" and one "little cowboy." Visit http://www.cynroberts.com to find creative tips, articles and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill."