top of page

All You Need to Know to Host a Low-Cost Kids’ Birthday Party

Invitations Don’t Have to Be Paper

According to a recent Parents’ Magazine survey of almost 1,500 participants, 73% of them sent out paper invitations. Sending digital invitations through Paperless Post or Evite saves both time and money. And each offers a wide variety of appealing designs, a good number of which are free! Do this and you’re off to a money-saving start!

Very Low-Cost Venues and Entertainment Options

Instead of renting a venue for your kiddo’s party, host it at home. Add some fun with a DIY

photo booth. Use fabric for a backdrop to avoid the glare of wrapping paper or use a plain white wall. Fill a basket with props—scarves, masks, neckties, mustaches, sunglasses, hats, headbands with boppers, and anything else you can think of. Finally, make sure your booth is well-lit. One expert advises using three different lamps from three different angles for optimum low-cost lighting.

After photo shoots, you can offer a few of these in-door game choices—freeze dance, keep-up-the-balloon, Simon Says, charades, limbo, musical chairs, scavenger hunt, and Twister. Or create a dance-themed party. In addition to setting up limbo, make a conga line, or teach a simple line dance. Everyone can learn The Cupid Shuffle! Host a painting party for your budding artists. At a local thrift store, buy men’s shirts for smocks and sheets for drop cloths and watch the magic happen. Keep it simple—offer painting, drawing, or collage.

For an outdoor option, reserve a pavilion at a local park. That way, the party goes on even if it rains. Here’s a reminder of great outdoor games-- sack race, three-legged race, egg-spoon race, cornhole, balloon stomp, water bottle bowling, hide-and-seek, Red Rover, and the perennial favorite—the piñata.

Food, Glorious Food

If you have your party between 2 and 5 p.m., you’ll be able to get by with budget-friendly light snacks. No one will be expecting a meal. After asking about any food allergies, create a buffet of finger foods—popcorn, Goldfish, mini pizzas or Bagel Bites, chicken nuggets, trail mix cups, mini doughnuts or doughnut holes, and fruit skewers. Feeling adventurous? Mud pies can be made in advance. Use clear plastic cups, fill halfway with chocolate pudding, and top with a layer of crushed chocolate cookies like Oreos. Top with a gummy worm or

two. Feeling even more adventurous? Assemble a DIY ice cream sundae bar. Make it as simple or elaborate as you wish. Use waffle bowls and voila! No dishes.

Swag Bag Surprises

Shop Dollar Tree and clearance merchandise at Walmart or Target throughout the year for affordable swag bag stuffers. It’s OK to go old school--use brightly colored wooden yoyos, finger puppets, sunglasses, mini balls, bubbles, coloring books, tattoos, keychains, or small boxes of crayons. Add a sweet touch with mini-Tootsie pops. And remember—when stuffing a swag bag, more isn’t necessarily better. Choose fun, low-cost items the kids will enjoy.

Kids’ Birthday Cakes That Won’t Break the Bank

Walmart cakes rate high on a recent Taste of Home Survey. So do Costco cakes. And here are more than more than 100 homemade birthday cake ideas for kids, including this No-Bake Candy Cake. Or serve ice cream cones baked with cupcake batter topped with whipped cream, Rice Krispie treats, cake pops, a doughnut tower, chocolate-dipped fruit skewers, a chocolate chip cookie birthday cake, or these kid-pleasing Birthday Rainbow Waffe-wiches.

Do you have a low-cost kids’ birthday party tip you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page