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For whatever reason my ex has passed responsibility for our daughters 8th B'day party with school friends to me. I have never had to arrange a big do for her before, just family gatherings. I've been to loads of parties at childrens play centre's, which is the easy option, but just wondered if anyone had any amazing ideas that don't cost the earth? My daughter actually said to me the other day that the birthday she remembers is the one where my ex and I hired a village hall and did the catering (ex) invites (ex) and me the party games ourselves. She remembers the party games particularly because i set up things like trying to catch bobbing apples and strawberries from a barrel of water and eating donuts using no hands that were hanging from string from the rafters. Great fun and a giggle but it was hard work and ex sorted most things just the fun side left to me. I don't want to let my daughter down but also feel lost in what to do how to organise and incapable of doing it all on my own.

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Hey TEIN. I didnt do anything for L's birthday this year (bad mummy!!) as its in the school hols and a nightmare to organise! Last year i let her choose 4 friends i think it was and we went to the movies and then to Frankie and Bennys for lunch. If you have a local Cineworld they do childrens showings on a saturday morning for £1 or 80p if you book online! Other cinemas offer similar deals but cneworld is the cheapest. And then Frankie and Benny's is £3.99 for a kids meal, drink and dessert. Was £5 a head and they loved it, especially as they are getting a bit older now.
Village hall again then? Trad party games etc. Don't worry about the catering - you can always get your daughter to help you choose in the supermarket, and prepare things like sandwiches. Ditto invites - she will likely enjoy making them herself. Nobody cares too much about the food or decor in any case.

Another thing I have done in the past which was quite successful was to give the children some kind of craft activity, then they have a going home present at the end to boot, you can do it more economically than the pottery painting places. Cheap Tshirts or other items which they can paint a design on (puffy paints?) or see if you can buy a job lot of beads and have them string necklaces etc. That should give you some time to eg set out the tea.

By the way, don't forget that other parents or friends and family of yours will probably be very happy to help them, all you need to do is ask. Then you will have an extra pair of hands, and some company. Make sure you delegate so they can make themselves useful. And remember to task someone with taking photos.

Try not to worry too much about it - if you are relaxed everyone will be fine.
I know what you mean about the play centre ones esox, hence my search for alternatives especially as my daughter only said the other day to me her fav party was the one where we hired a village hall and ex sorted catering etx and i sorted games eating donuts hanging by string with no hands.
I like the movies & cake at cafe before /after idea, if you can't do a movie night at home. You can relax and maybe even enjoy it too! Or bowling? Parks are nice but even here in Oz I wouldn't risk rainy weather without a backup plan. And remember, crying is a sign of a successful party, so don't feel bad when the inevitable tears happen from at least one person, it happens at every good celebration. Vx
Local park and a big treasure trail worked for me. Took some work putting clues and ribbons on trees etc.
at the end was a picnic hamper (guarded by my mum) .
Then a few silly games and a face painter.
They loved it.
Was a sunny day tho.... Risky? Maybe?

While going to these play areas that do parties are fun the kids seem to remember the bespoke ones much more. IMO any way.

Another winner was a local farm - meet the animals party

It does not have to cost the earth though.
Enjoy it TEIN :0)
Great ideas thanks but sadly i don't have my own place since being dumped on.

Flicks and pizza was a good idea i will look into and pottery parties too but i have a feeling the local one closed down.
How about a baking party? For my daughters 9th birthday we did pancake making with about 8 of her friends. Each child brought their own bowl/whisk and I provided the ingredients.
You could do similar with fairy cakes and then when they are cooked the girls could decorate them. Ingredients are really cheap and you could measure everything before hand.
Girls love baking. In between baking you could do the usual party games and food.
Princess party at yours. Tin foil around chairs to make thrones. Latest barbie princess did and lots of pink food.
Add a sleepover to movie night. Make sure there is enough snacky stuff left for a midnight feast. Pizza if they don't normally have it will seem like a treat.

Apple bobbing is now frowned upon by the health and safety police. But other traditional games might go down well, especially if the kids have done lots of posh parties with entertainers etc and haven't actually had a chance to play them.

I once had major sucess with roller skating, but I needed help to sort out catering.
movie night at yours ?
get your daughter to choose the films, then just buy the popcorn, pop etc, value ranges don't cost much