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Ideas for 5yr old dd's small birthday party/outing because big all class parties are going to bankrupt me!

(34 Posts)
Wills Fri 07-Jan-05 09:27:01

For dd1's 4th birthday we ended up spending in excess of 300.00 on her birthday party (this does not include her birthday presents). 100.00 hire of local hall, then food, plates, plastic cutlery, party bags etc etc took up the rest. Don't get me wrong I SCRIMPED - tesco basic plates, ran the party myself etc but her class numbers 33 and then there's family and most of the class members parents stayed + bought siblings etc so in the end there were over 55 kids + their parents all expecting food and cups of tea/coffee (NO alcohol). I CAN'T/WONT do that again!!!!!


I need ideas that will so appeal to my almost 5yr old daughter that she'll prefer it to a party. She's planning her party already (beginning of March) so I really need some alternatives. Someone's suggested a few kids, bowling and Macdonalds - but I live on London's doorstep, surely there's some other ideas? Took dd1 to the ballet (Nutcracker) over Christmas and she adored it. What else have people done?

jampots Fri 07-Jan-05 09:34:54

How about a Teddy Bear Factory birthday party - they start from about £12.50 per head which I know sounds a lot but for that each child gets an activity pack, they each get a bear (you can increase the cost ph to include an outfit if you desire), no minimum numbers, they have games etc, a little goody bag and the birthday child gets a gift. So if she invited 5 friends you could do it for less than £70 and they have a brill party gift too, so no hidden extras (apart from food but after that a pizza and ice cream at home would be just great.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 07-Jan-05 09:37:20

Blimey, not surprised you won't do that again, sounds bloody hard work! What about the cinema followed by Pizza Express for just a few of them? Ice skating?

JanH Fri 07-Jan-05 09:54:37

We took a small group to see the BFG for one of our DD birthday parties - that was in Blackpool so cheaper than London but what other towns are near you? ents24 is useful for finding what's on where when, if that appeals - would show ballet too. (How about Sleeping Beauty on Ice (???) at Sadlers Wells, second week of March? Sunday matinee second circle cheapest tickets £10.)

frogs Fri 07-Jan-05 10:03:09

We've generally done smaller, DIY parties at home. Rule of thumb (inherited from my older sister) is that children can invite as many friends as the age of the birthday, ie. 5 friends for 5th birthday. That keeps it manageable.

Then we usually start off with a craft activity to postpone the racing-around-senselessly factor -- making party hats is a good one, if you cut out the cardboard shapes first, and let them decorate with stickers and shiny bits. Masks works well, too. For a girl you could do a camped-up Barbie princess theme.

You can then do basic party games -- musical bumps, musical statues, pass-the-parcel. Sleeping lions is a good one to calm them down before tea. Then tea, then cake, etc, and before you know it, it's home time!

I know it sounds really retro and mean, but we've had some fantastic parties using this formula, and it's a bit more personal than a huge affair in a hall, tho' we've done one or two of those as well.

BTW, pound stores are a brilliant place to cut the cost of party stuff.

lunavix Fri 07-Jan-05 10:05:35

Ballpond/wacky warehouse inflatables type place?

jodee Fri 07-Jan-05 10:18:18

Gosh, I would NEVER EVER have the whole class to my son's birthday party. 10 children max. DS is going to be 5 in March as well and wants to go to a Brewster the Bear 'restaurant' with a ball pit.

How about 5 friends, go to see a matinee performance at the cinema, follwed by a nice kids-orientated restaurant, like Rainforest Cafe?

Wills Fri 07-Jan-05 11:38:34

Wow - some really good ideas there. There seems to be a standard within the class to invite everyone so I suppose I'm scared of looking too cheap - but at the same time I know some of the other mums are struggling as well. Time to break the mold I think! Love the teddy bear factory and love the sleeping beauty. Thank you all. Not sure dd1 would accept a party where she didn't invite the whole blasted class - she's a little too much of a socialite!

weightwatchingwaterwitch Fri 07-Jan-05 11:43:32

Wills what about saying she can take in a mini pack of sweets or lollies to hand out to the whole class (one each!) but she can't invite the whole class to a party? I invited the whole class to ds's 5th birthday as he'd just started school and didn't have any particular friends and I was mad! But thereafter it's just been a select few. I bet everyone else will be relieved!

frogs Fri 07-Jan-05 12:17:05

The inviting the whole class thing peters out as they get older and want more activity-based things rather than proper parties.

I did one big party for each of mine, for the 5th birthday, which set them up well in the popularity stakes, and then did smaller ones after that. No-one seems to mind. If she's set on a big party, could you try teaming up with another child whose birthday is close to your dd's and having a joint party? We've done that a few times, and it's worked well.

For cheaper hall hire, you could try local one-o'clock clubs, who often hire out their premises (with toys and outside space!) quite cheaply. (Ours was £40 or thereabouts, and split between two families it's even cheaper).

tigermoth Fri 07-Jan-05 13:12:45

wills, we are in the same position. My 5 year old has been to 20 or so all class parties sinche he started school three terms ago. When it's his birthday I will feel duty bound to return the invitations.

I believe our church hall is around £20.00 to hire. The £100 you spent on hall hire seems a lot to me. Can you look around for something cheaper? Agree that pound shops are invaluable places for party gear. If you scrimp more on food, make it really child centered, then hopefully the grown ups and older siblings won't dig in. You can pointedly offer them drinks 'while the children are eating their food' Alternatively provide food boxes for each child.

I also intend to tell my son that the big party is part of his present. I will not spend as much on his present as usual, as I know he will get lots of extra presents from the guests.

Tortington Fri 07-Jan-05 21:05:33

i would just have a ta party with max 4 friends over to your house - sounds mean - no. the kids not 5 yet and you are supporting expectations that she is entitled to celebrate her birthday excessivley in a manner which included lavish parties and lots of friends and attention.

there has already come the time and the kids not even 5 yet where you are trying to meet the expectations you have created by last years party without the means to do so.

keep it small - leave that rod your making for your back at the front door.

naughty1 Fri 07-Jan-05 21:06:35

Party at home for a few friends with party games and party food.

shrub Fri 07-Jan-05 21:18:58

we hired a 12 person boat and skipper for our ds last year for his 4th birthday. we took a picnic, it cost £30 for 3 hours and then we had a few back in the afternoon for a play. we are thinking this year a treasure hunt and picnic in the woods again just with a few friends so it stays his day and doesn't become everyone elses. maybe ask her what she wants to do and take it from there?

milliways Fri 07-Jan-05 21:24:48

My friend runs parties for girls called something like "Little Princess" Party. She does mini sparkly makeovers, hairdo's etc, with safe make-up, a provides crafts and a few games + a party bag for each child - ideal for small numbers. She copied this idea as another lady nearby was so overbooked. Does anyone near you do this? (only if you have a v.girly DD)

deegward Sat 08-Jan-05 10:36:24

Can I hijack here? Was coming on to post on this very subject, and found this. Again ds1 will be 5 in March, and we have always done whole class things, (but is at a very small school so numbers will be about 25 including outside friends). We have done the bouncy castle, and the magic show, anything else for a boys party? Do people do more games type partys for 5 yr olds, I feel I have made a rod for my own back, as ds1 has usually had "the best party" of the year. Not the most expensive, but I try to put a lot of thought into it. Any ideas. In Watford btw.

alexsmum Sat 08-Jan-05 10:54:00

just booked my ds's 5th birthday party.its a swimming party at the local pool.£55 and he can have 14 children.we get the pool to ourselves for 45 mins and then 45 mins in the cafe, and we provide our own food.i thought that was good.

Twiglett Sat 08-Jan-05 11:10:36

Well it may be the 'standard' but I bet there will be a collective sigh of relief if you break the trend

Take them to an adventure playground .. they do parties per head .. between £8 and £10 usually which include food, party bag, invites and let you sit down whilst its happening with clearing up afterwards

I too have learned from the last 3 years .. and this year we're going to do one of those .. I would actually like to see one of my children's parties rather than being stuck in the kitchen / church hall preparing food and clearing up

Twiglett Sat 08-Jan-05 11:11:37

Deegward ... I'd do a Pirate themed party or a superhero party for a 5 year old boy personally

do the things that worked best from previous .. like bouncy castle and just theme it all to pirates

scaltygirl Sat 08-Jan-05 11:22:01

Message withdrawn

Wills Sat 08-Jan-05 13:09:59

Barcelona! Our girls should meet (or maybe they shouldn't) did the same with dd1 the other day. Her response.... Disney! Have decided to offer her ideas instead of giving her the whole world to choose from. At the moment a few friends and Sleeping Beauty on Ice is winning.

louisse28 Sat 08-Jan-05 13:22:57

How about Mcdonald's? I used to work there years ago, and occasionally did a few children's parties and the kid's loved them. They are relatively inexpensive, the food and entertainment is taken care of and the parent's drop them of and pick them up afterwards... and you get a clean house!!!

ScummyMummy Sat 08-Jan-05 14:16:33

lol at dd1 wanting to go to Barcelona, scaltygirl. I hope your daughter accepts one of the ideas, wills. They all sound rather fab.

oops Sat 08-Jan-05 16:50:35

Message withdrawn

tigermoth Sat 08-Jan-05 23:57:53

can I throw in a question? All my son's class have class parties. We have happily accpeted umpteen invites. How do I suddenly hold a numbers limited party without the risk of offence?

My son has never had a party since he has been to this school. I feel forced to hold one class party this year just to reciprocate the invites we have received. After that I'll do limimted parties.

An alternitive is to not let my son go to any clas parties so we don't offend people by not invitimg them to ours, but I think that's too cruel.

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