With six kids we host a birthday party on average of every two to three months. I don't want to short change any of our kiddos in the celebration department, but it can really add up. Our oldest son, Sutton, recently turned seven. During the couple of weeks that lead up to his birthday, he and I brainstormed to come up with a fun idea of something different to do to celebrate. In the past we have done the big parties such as bowling or going to a kids fitness center but typically we have parties at our house and grill out with close friends and family. I wanted to do something special for him, but keep it well within our tiny budget.
Sutton made the list of who he wanted to invite. There were four friends and I thought, even if we went to a movie and had lunch, by the time we bought the movie tickets, the popcorn, drinks, etc. we were still going to shell out quite a bit, and he still wanted to include his brothers in the celebration as well. So we came up with the idea of a Drive Inn Movie night at our house.
I made the invitations on our computer and made them look like pillows and invited the kids to wear their p.j.'s, (this alone was nice because after the party was over, the transition for our kids to go to bed was already half done!). There was one concern I had though, this was going to be the first time that I hosted a party where there were no other adults other than my husband and I. I was trying to figure out, "How do I keep nine kids busy for three hours?" I have to admit, it was a lot easier than I had first thought. Each child had their own cardboard box that they could decorate to look like a car (I got the idea from Family Fun Magazine). After gluing and coloring, their vehicles were complete and we moved on to the next project while my husband went to pick up the pizza.
For the second activity, each child had their own white pillow case to decorate. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible because we did have smaller kiddos that were participating so I bought a package of fabric markers for them to use instead of paint (less mess and less dry time). I also had bought little plastic bowls for each child for fifty cents each and wrote their names on them with a sharpie. The pillow case and bowl were part of their goodie bags that they got to take home with them. After we ate pizza, sang "Happy Birthday" and had homemade cupcakes, it was show time! While the kids "parked" their cars in front of the television I popped some popcorn and filled their bowls, ( I didn't realize this at the time, but with them sitting in their "cars" while they ate and watched the movie, it cut down on kernels on the floor tremendously). I didn't even need to rent a movie. Sutton wanted to show his favorite movie, "Shorts", so that was easy enough as well!All in all, I think the evening went rather well. Sutton had the party he had imagined, there were smiles all around and laughter filled the house. And we managed to only spend roughly $45, so averaging $5 per kid. Now the next question is, "Will I be able to do it again next month?"