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Children's birthday parties can actually be quite stressful for the parents. However, they do not have to be. At the end of the day, your child will not really care if you have selected the right shade of blue for the icing- as long as he has fun, then this is all that matters. As a parent planning a birthday party for your child, you need to think like him. And this often means you can eliminate all those expensive extras and stick to the fun basics.

Planning a Birthday Party

What do children love? That's easy - they love candy and sweets; they love games and adventure; and they love certain characters. Little girls often love Dora, princesses, teddy bears, dress up and dolls. Little boys often love sports, balls, trains and cars, Thomas and super heroes. Think about what your child is passionate about and stick to this. If they are old enough, ask them what type of party they would prefer to have.

It can be easy to go overboard when planning and buying for a birthday party but once you have a theme in mind, you can make it a lot easier. Stick to the basics - plates, napkins, food, cake, games and goody bags. Let the kids run wild, either at your home or at a chosen venue for a couple of hours and that's it. Children's parties do not have to go for more than two hours and should include a fairly basic routine - free play, games, presents, cake and goodbyes.

You are going to need to spend a little cash on decorations and food. However, you can save a lot by shopping online or looking for items on special, or by using your own birthday or Halloween food recipes. You can also save by making your own invitations and thank you cards and making your own decorations. Stick to balloons and streamers which are always a hit for kids. When you are making the goody bags buy bulk items and look for small toys that are on special. Little things, like balloons, balls and bubbles are always a hit for kids.

Budgeting and Preparing

When it comes to the food, stick to simple things. You don't need to make special veggie quiche or a roast for children. They love cupcakes, party pies and sausage rolls. Veggies and dips, fruit and chocolate platters, even cheese and crackers - all of these things are simple and inexpensive and will go down much easier with kids than expensive and exotic ingredients. Wait to serve for special mushroom and brie cheese frittatas when you are hosting an adult party.

Before you start shopping for your kid's birthday party, set a budget. If you have $100 to spend on the food, decorations and cake, then this is it. You may wish to set certain limits on each item such as $50 for the food, $20 for the decorations and $30 for the cake. That way you will not get carried away. Try to do all your shopping on the same day so that you know exactly what you are spending and can always take items back if you go over the budget. Superstores are great for kid's birthday parties as you can get chips, frozen foods and decorations all in the same place.

Throwing your child a great birthday party without breaking the budget means you need to think simple. Make your own decorations and invitations and don't get carried away. After all, the most important thing is that the kids enjoy themselves and this often comes from the simple things, not the expensive ones.

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