3 Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Kids


For kids, birthday parties are like a right of passage. They count down the days until they are showered with gifts and they can blow out the candles on their cake. But throwing birthday parties can be expensive and exhausting. Sometimes it’s just easier to send those goodie bags into school and have the family over for cake and dinner. Before you right off a party altogether, or spend $250 to book the pool at the YMCA, try these affordable birthday party ideas for kids.

The Scavenger Hunt (1.5 to 2 hrs)

Scavenger hunts are exciting for kids. With electronics and the internet, outdoor games we grew up with are far less popular with kids today. To host a scavenger hunt party, invite twelve to sixteen friends, always assuming on three to four kids not being able to come to the party. You are aiming for three teams of about four kids each.

Before the party, decide what the kids will be hunting for and take time to come up with five to six riddles/clues for each item. Think about your yard, and where you can stash each item. Think trees, playgrounds, cars, grills and more. At each stop, have an envelope for each team with a clue on where to go next, and what they are looking for.

Example: Fill a bowl with pennies. Hide it in the playground. Clue would read: Up the ladder, down the slide. Find a penny from 1965”

Stagger stops for each team, so no two teams will be hunting in same area for same item. Start the hunt the same place they need to finish, such as the front porch. Hand each team their first clue and they are off and running! First team to return with all the items they need gets first choice at a prize.

The Makeover Party (2 hrs)

For girls, one of the easiest parties is the makeover party. Designate a room, such as the dining room, as the “Makeover Station.” Cover table with a table cloth, and set out make up, nail polish and hair supplies. You will need a few teenage girls or aunts, friends etc to work the makeover room.

Serve pizza or food when girls arrive. As they finish up, send three girls at a time to the makeover room. Have girls rotate stations, having their nails painted and hair done. For make-up, keep it simple. Apply light make-up such as lip gloss and blush. The girls who are not in the makeover room can do a craft while they wait, or have a running game like Bingo.

When girls are finished, take a picture of the group. Finish up with cake and presents.

Capture the Flag (1.5 to 2 hrs)

A great party for boys and girls is capture the flag. Purchase or make fun flags, such as pirate flags, for each game you plan to play.

Split kids into two teams, and stash a flag on either end of your yard. The goal is for each team to protect their flag, while at the same time trying to get the other teams flag. Set up a “jail”, and if a child is tagged by the opposing team, they must go to jail and wait until a teammate tags them back into play.

The first team to successfully get the other team’s flag back to their base is the winner! The child who gets the flag in each game takes it home as a prize.

Birthday parties don’t have to be expensive to be fun. With homemade invitations, fun games, cake and pizza you can host a great party for minimal cost. With proper planning and a few supplies, your next party will be one your child won’t soon forget.



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One Response to 3 Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

  1. I agree with setting up a scavenger hunt as part of a kid’s birthday party. Kids these days have their eyes always stuck to the computer screen or any gaming device.
    It really is expensive and exhausting to plan and carry out a kid’s birthday party, so I understand that most average people give it to their children when they are 5 years old, 10, kinda like milestones.
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This post was written by Rick Magennis