Kids aren’t the only ones who get a little carried away on birthdays. Parents often do too, throwing parties that exceed their children’s wildest dreams… and their own financial expectations. Increasing social pressures to host a spectacular birthday party coupled with the increased cost of living make it difficult for parents to keep celebrations affordable.
On the plus side, it doesn’t take much to keep the kids happy. After all, the party is for the kids, not the parents. Catering to what the kids like instead of what will look good on social media keeps the party affordable and enjoyable.
With some creative thinking and ingenuity, an inexpensive birthday party that doesn’t skimp on the fun is totally doable. From birthday parties at home to a crafty birthday party or a scavenger hunt, here are some cheap kids party ideas to get you started.
Tips for hosting an affordable birthday party
These suggestions make it easy to use the resources you already have when planning and looking for the cheapest birthday party venue.
Stick to your budget and party theme ideas
Without a budget, you’re destined to be unpleasantly surprised once you calculate the cost of the party. On the other hand, a carefully crafted budget will set guidelines that will help you stay within your means.
The same goes for your birthday party theme. Focus on one subject and then stick to your guns.
Use parenting skills
Birthday parties require skills like cake baking, decorating and more. But you don’t have to go professional — why not tap into your network of parents who can get involved? Some parents may be willing to teach children a hobby they have picked up, such as juggling or calligraphy. It saves you money and gives the parent some practice in a low key environment.
Be strategic about location
Aside from the size of the guest list, where you choose to host your party can be one of the biggest cost factors. Free or cheap birthday party locations can include your garden, church or rooms at your local sports club or community hall. If you don’t have a big enough house or community connections, choose a location that includes another party element. For example, a park party can eliminate the added cost of decorating. Or a pizza-making party at a restaurant means the activity is also the meal.
You can also save money by booking cheap birthday party venues on venue rental sites like VenueScanner and Spaces.org.uk. Just keep in mind that with spaces with a blank canvas, although you save money on rent, you may end up spending on decorations.
Be selective about customization
Parents want to organize an excellent birthday party for their children. But that doesn’t mean each The decorative element or food item must be one-of-a-kind. While personalized items are trendy, it’s okay to personalize one item, like the birthday boy’s t-shirt, while keeping other aspects more generic. One special element is enough to make the birthday boy feel special and make an impact on his guests.
It also reduces costs and potential waste. Even if you want to keep event decorations as a keepsake, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to keep the kids’ personalized party invitations, banner, cake and tablecloths forever.
DIY as much as possible
The work behind all the moving parts of birthday parties is expensive. That being said, DIY party ideas can save you a lot of money. You might even be able to get your child involved, like helping make DIY birthday decorations. But remember that DIY birthdays can still be expensive, so assess what you already know how to do and what supplies you have at home before going the DIY route. To reduce stress, keep things simple and see if you can find shortcuts, like searching Etsy for character activity sheet templates that you can print at home.
10 cheap birthday party ideas
Here are 10 budget-friendly birthday party ideas.
1. Birthday Brunch Party
If your kids just don’t care how much you’d like to sleep in on the weekends, try making the most of it by giving them a breakfast Pancake and Pajama Party.. Invite the kids over in their favorite pajamas, make pancakes, and grab a few boxes of cereal for an extra treat. They can have fun experimenting with flavors by mixing different ones together. Then gather the kids in front of the TV to watch cartoons.
You can also pull out the champagne flutes and orange juice (and maybe bubbly for mimosas) for the parents to enjoy. Birthday brunch ideas are endless!
2. Simple Nostalgia Birthday Party
For an inexpensive, stress-free idea, treat the birthday party like a big play date — just like our parents used to. Before social media and trending topics, parents threw parties with a birthday banner and whatever they had around the house. And the kids had a blast!
3. Dance birthday parties
Dance parties aren’t limited to traditional dance studios that teach ballet and tap. ONE dance party it’s the natural choice for a child with toe-tapping feet and a song in their heart. Introduce them to Just Dance video games or other dance-related activities like freeze dancing. Fortunately, we live in the age of YouTube, where there is no shortage of kid-friendly music options. You can even have them follow this kids Zumba routine to a remix of a “Frosted” classic.
4. Birthday party with paint
Save money on decorating by keeping the space a blank canvas and letting the kids decorate it during a painting party. Give the kids some canvases that they can close up when they’re done with their masterpieces. White table mats and tablecloths can also be fun in color.
5. Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party
A lost button, an old book, loose change, Mom’s gold necklace. Children always find “hidden treasures”. A scavenger hunt party is the perfect way to incorporate their natural tendency to find hidden gems. Hide some things all over the place, print a list of scavengers and go to town.
6. Relay Birthday Party
Children are natural competitors. Whether they’re getting dressed, finishing a snack, or running to the car, they can turn anything into a race – which makes for a cheap but fun birthday party!
If you can’t think of birthday party relay games on your own, One Simple Party’s blog has lots of cheap and stress-free racing ideas. Kids can be challenged with turtle relays, balloon bounce relays, bean passes and more. Don’t forget the cheering section for the supportive watching parents.
7. Backyard Movie Birthday Party
If your child’s birthday falls during a season with suitable outdoor party weather, all you need is some popcorn and a favorite movie like Shrek the Paddington. Invite the kids to bring some folding chairs and blankets to sit on, or pick up some bouncy chairs from the pound shop. Kids will sit still for at least an hour and a half and parents won’t have to worry about chasing them. When the movie is over, let the kids roll and count the stars or look for constellations.
8. Game-night birthday party
Create stations with various toys you may already have, or buy some cheap toys from charity shops. The best part about a board game birthday party is that it can be modified to suit all ages and abilities. Games like Twister can be set up and played by older guests and those who may be more relaxed. Meanwhile, bingo or Snakes and Ladders can be a great option for younger visitors or people with limited mobility.
9. Throw the birthday party
Some children have a talent for building unique structures. And there is no limit to what children can eat when they have enough supplies. Pull out your usual building materials like blocks, Kinetic Sand, LEGO sets and Play-Doh. Even the boxes from your last online purchases can be a party haven. Throw in some goggles or a hard hat to make the kids feel like the real deal.
Even more good news: You won’t have to share too many instructions. All you need to do is be prepared to repeatedly hear the phrase, “Look what I made!”
10. Birthday party with cake decorating
Any party that can combine life skills and a fun activity is a win-win. With a cake decorating party, kids can have fun finally helping out in the kitchen and start learning how to cook. Aprons and chef hats make the cutest party accessories.
For a cooking challenge with a twist, try making this “cake” with layers of fruit. It’s a fun alternative if you’re worried about food allergies or the amount of added sugar in traditional birthday cakes.