Hosting a birthday party at a venue is a great idea, and there are plenty of places you can go on a budget. Finding a birthday party venue for your budget is a simple as taking a look around your neighbourhood. Here are some great ideas on venues to get you started.

Local park : The beach : School playgrounds : Hot pools : Skating rinks and skate parks : Recreation centres

Local Park

Your local park has everything you need to host a birthday party, and best of all it’s free. There is plenty of room for kids to run around, a safe playground to play on, and a nice patch of grass to have a picnic. If you want your party to go off without a hitch, the trick is finding a park with toilets!

Picnic party food needs to be easy to transport, so keep the snacks nice and simple. Either pack a picnic for everybody to share, or make up individual party boxes so that everyone has their own packet of snacks. — Alternatively organise a “pot luck picnic”, although you may need a little behind the scenes co-ordination of the “pot luck” aspect. — Make sure you have lots of rubbish bags on hand, and some plastic containers for leftovers. If you have packed everyone an individual party box, they can put all their rubbish back in there.

Instead of making one birthday cake, make a whole pile of cupcakes, and decorate them individually. If you like you could present stack them to look like a giant cake, but then each guest can easily take away their own individual piece.

Relays are great games to play at the park, or try some of the good old fashioned picnic races in our Outdoor Party Games article.

The Beach

Like your local park, a NZ beach has everything you need for a party – plus water!

Pack a picnic or buy a big bundle of fish and chips on the way. A lot of fish and chip shops offer family packs for $10 – $15, and there’s usually enough to feed at least 5 kids. These packs have a little bit of everything in them, so while there won’t necessarily be enough for everyone to get the same thing, there will definitely be enough to keep everyone happy.

Some beaches also have coin operated barbeques available, but it may pay to scout them out a day or two before. Community barbeques have a habit of being out of order just when you need them.

Beach party games could be the same as those described for park parties, plus there are bonus adventures because of the environment. You could go rock climbing, have a scavenger hunt in the sand dunes, or host a sandcastle competition, and if you have plenty of supervision, you could even head for the waves. If you are planning on swimming, make sure you have lots of adult help, and find out how competent each child is in the water before you go.

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School Playgrounds

With permission from your local school, you could host your child’s party in their grounds. There is the playground to play on, plus plenty of room on the fields and courts to play some games.

Split the guests into two teams to play some relays, or have a game of netball or mini ball on one of the courts. If the school allows skates and skateboards in their grounds, the kids could bring their wheels and entertain themselves for awhile.

You probably won’t have access to the school toilets (unless you are on amazingly good terms with the principal!), so you will have to have a plan B should someone need a toilet stop.

Some schools have picnic tables for children to sit at, but most don’t, so make sure you pack a picnic rug to lay out your party food.

Hot Pools

Hot pools are a great party venue at any time of the year, and they are usually cheaper than water parks. Simply pack a boogie board, a beach ball, and some dive rings, and the kids will make their own fun.

Many hot pools have barbeque facilities available for a small charge, so you can make an easy party meal of sausages in bread with tomato sauce. Throw in a few packets of chippies and a box of drinks and you’re done.

Make sure you have plenty of adult supervision on hand, and find out how competent each child is at swimming before their parents disappear.

Skating Rinks and Skate Parks

Skating rinks and skate parks have a minimal entry fee, if any, and all the entertainment is taken care of. You don’t need to organise any games, the guests simply bring their wheels and go to it. Pack a picnic or stop on the way to pick up takeaways.

Recreation Centres

If your child is a bit of a sports fan, then you could hire a court at your local recreation centre and have an hour or two of games. Some recreation centres will organise a whole party for a price, but if you are happy to be the host, then it is much cheaper to simply hire the court and bring along your own balls and equipment.

Court hire ranges in price depending on where you live, but you can expect to pay between $10 and $20 per hour.

When the games are finished, head to the local park (which by default is usually right next door!) and have a picnic.

Remember, party venues don’t have to be expensive. Even venues that specialise in parties have different versions for different budgets, and there are often ways you can make it even cheaper. Some venues offer discounts for mid-week parties, or for parties before or after a certain time of day. They may also be happy for you to bring your own food if you ask.

If you are spending money on a venue, don’t feel like you have to go overboard on everything else. Being at a party venue is fun enough.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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