Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frugal & Fun Birthday Idea

Last Saturday my son, Connor, turned 7 years old!  We had a simple birthday party at a pizza restaurant and here is what I printed on the invitations:

There will be a Hot Wheels Car Exchange Game at the party.  Instead of a gift, each child will need to bring a Hot Wheels Car (new or gently used) to exchange.

Now, I want everyone to know that I am not the meanest mom in the world.  I ran the idea by Connor before writing it on the invitation and he approved and was even excited about the idea.  Connor gets so many gifts from family that it can be overwhelming to also get presents from friends.  For most kids, a birthday party is about having fun with friends, not about the gifts.

At the party, the kids sat in a circle and we passed around a bowl with pieces of paper that had instructions like:
  • Pass to the left 5 times.
  • Pass to the right 2 times and to the left 6 times.
  • Trade with anyone.
  • Trade with the birthday boy.
  • Trade with the person on your right.
There were also several pieces of paper with a gold star sticker.  If this one was picked, the child got to choose to stop the game and keep the car they had or keep playing.

The game was a huge hit with the kids and everyone went home with a "new" hot wheels car!  This game would work with lots of different items like lip gloss, bubble bath, Pez candy dispensers, silly bands, etc.

Connor loved the game and he was not disappointed about not receiving gifts.  He is already planning an exchange game for his party next year!

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  1. Stopping by from Frugal Friday - That is a wonderful idea! My kids get so many toys for Christmas and from family. I just love that idea!

  2. Great idea. My son's grown now, but I would have liked to do this. I'll bet other families were grateful for either not having to buy a gift or at least an inexpensive one. I know the gift giving budget adds up quickly, and I always winced at probably sending along the cheapest gifts due to budget constraints. Parties are amazingly expensive these days. Hope you start a big trend.


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