EEP editors sometimes link to products to make your planning process fast and easy. We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase from a link.

57 Kids Birthday Party Ideas

Kids Birthday Party Ideas

Updated on: Mar 03, 2024

Birthday parties for kids can be stressful, time-consuming, and extremely expensive. Every parent wants their child to have the best birthday party ever and they can throw one without breaking the bank. If you are on a budget and want to figure out some cheaper ways to create an amazing and fun-filled party for your kids, we have you covered! Be sure to download our helpful birthday party checklist.

Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Budget Tips

1. Make A Budget

Before picking a theme, ordering supplies, or generating a guest list ask yourself: what am I willing and able to spend on this party? Once you have created a budget that suits your financial needs, try your very best to stick to that budget and only make exceptions if something is necessary. It is helpful to keep an itemized list of each item you buy and record your spending. If you can save a few dollars on one item, write it down, and use that money on decorations or food.

2. Price Out Different Venues

If you are set on having your party at a venue, make sure to price out different locations. It may be tempting to go with the first bowling alley you visit but, other venues may have lower prices or different deals. Also, take into consideration the time that you book your party. While Saturday may seem like the perfect day for your party, a Thursday or Friday party date may be significantly cheaper due to those dates being less popular and having less traffic.

3. Hunt For Supplies As Early As Possible

It may seem odd to hunt for party supplies in April when your child’s birthday is in August but, you may save a ton of money in the process. The most popular birthday months are August and September, meaning, party supplies will be the most expensive and sought-after during these months. Beat the rush and buy supplies early or when you see things on clearance. If you are passing by a party supply store on the way to work, stop in, and see what decorations are on sale.

4. Optimize Your Location

Personally, some of the most exciting and entertaining parties were in the backyards of my friends and family. If you have an accessible backyard opt to have your party there instead of a venue. If you do not have a backyard, look to have your party at a nearby park. At a park, there are free picnic tables, places to run around, and even working grills. Take advantage of what is around you and create an amazing outdoor space for all your guests.

5. Buy Things Online Or From The Dollar Store

Party stores inflate their prices tremendously because they know people will pay for their products. However, places like Amazon or The Dollar Tree charge much less for the same products and usually come with free delivery. Save the extra penny and order your decorations, supplies, and goody-bag filling at your local dollar store or Amazon.

6. Make A Homemade Cake

The average 8-inch, a two-layer cake can cost anywhere between $25 and $50 depending on icing, flavor, filling, and decorations. This is an extremely large expense considering most children only care about one thing: how the cake tastes. Instead, buy a boxed cake mix or use household ingredients to create this tasty treat. As a bonus, make the cake with your child the night before and allow them to present the cake themselves; they will most definitely feel pride in their creation.

7. Cook Your Own Food

If your child is younger, you may have the parents at the party as well, making the guest list a bit bigger. Food and drinks should be included in your budget, especially if your party is during dinnertime. Some choose to buy food to reheat beforehand, but this is often more expensive. Try cooking finger foods, which can usually be bought in bulk, like chicken nuggets, pizza bagels, and many more. Offer a few options of fruit as well. Finally, pick a few drinks to serve but be sure to include water.

8. Limit Your Guest List

It may be tempting to invite your entire family to your next birthday bash, but this is not always necessary. Before sending out invitations consider what people your child would prefer to have at the party. Make sure you are inviting the people that mean the most to you or your child. It is okay to limit your guest list to those people.

9. Send Online Invitations

While sending invitations is nice, it can be costly. Not only do you have to pay for the invitations to be made, but you also have to pay for stamps and envelopes to mail them. Instead, opt for the electronic version and save time and money. Most parents will be checking their emails regularly, so this might make it easier for them. Plus, you can choose a service that provides an RSVP option and get a more accurate headcount for the party.

10. Pick And Choose

While a birthday party with all the bells and whistles is great, it is okay to pick and choose what you have at your child’s birthday party. For example, if it is too expensive to have both a bouncy castle and a water slide, pick which one you think your child would like more or deduct your spending from other areas to pay for those extra costs. Your child will have fun no matter what is or is not there if they are with their friends and family.

11. Embrace No-Cost Activities

Hiring entertainment is an amazing experience but is not always necessary for children to have fun. Instead, encourage party-goers to play games such as:

  • Dress-Up
  • Freeze Tag
  • Musical Chairs
  • Red Rover
  • Red Light Green Light
  • Charades
  • Board Games
  • Duck Duck Goose
  • “Simon Says”
  • Pictionary
  • Draw
  • Paint

12. Pick Party Themes That Are Fun And Cost-Effective

Most parents pick places such as Chuck-E-Cheese and bowling alleys for their children’s birthday parties but this can be expensive and sometimes out of the way. So why not decorate your home to emulate these places or create brand new at-home party ideas!

13. Get Crafty

Every child likes to go home with something exciting after a party. Buying swag bags and elaborate goody bags is time-consuming and expensive; instead, buy crafts that double as party favors. Maybe the guests make slime or decorate their own aprons, these are two activities that can be cost-effective and fun for every party-goer.

14. Rent Instead Of Buy

A lot of outdoor parties and events need tents, tables, and chairs. Buying all of these can cost a fortune, the average tent costing around $200 and that amount can get more expensive with size. Conversely, see if any party rental shops around you would allow you to rent these things for a fraction of the cost.

15. Make Your Own Decorations

Children (and adults) love making crafts and feeling like they are a part of something. Take this opportunity to save a little money and spend time with your children making some of the decorations at home. A little glue and construction paper can go a long way! To save even more money while also having your child's favorite trademarked characters, an easy way is to choose one or two items with the character (if there is a specific character theme). Then have the rest of the decor be a color-coordinating solid color. For example, choosing solid color plates and utensils that match the themed tablecloth.

16. Do Not Schedule Parties Around Meal Times

Food can easily become the most expensive aspect of any party, skyrocketing the price of a budget-friendly party into the hundreds. If you schedule a party around 1 PM rather than noon or later in the evening most patrons will have already eaten and you could provide snacks (ex. Chips, pretzels, ice cream) rather than full meals. This would save you a decent amount of money and you could even create a DIY snack for your party-goers (Ex. Popcorn balls, candy bar, caramel apples).

Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Games

kids birthday party games

Source: Unsplash

17. Last Balloon Standing Wins!

Divide kids into teams of two and spread them out equidistant apart. Have them toss a water balloon back and forth and with each completed toss they each take a step back. They keep doing that until only one team is left with their water balloon intact.

18. Don’t Get Wet!

Place two sprinklers a considerable distance away from each signaling a start and a finish. Have one kid control the sprinklers by turning them on and off at random while having the other children try to run back and forth between the two without getting wet. This is perfect for the summer weather!

19. Guess Who

Tape a picture of a character from a show (if that’s the theme) or object onto each kid's back. Then they have to ask questions to the other guests about whom they are or what they are. The trick is, they can only answer yes or no. Set a timer for 1 minute and have kids switch partners if they still haven’t guessed. The first person to guess correctly wins.

20. Bingo

Have a little downtime before or after lunch to give yourself, and the kids, a break with a game of bingo. It’s a classic game everyone loves. You can print out cards easily online and have the kids mark their spots with markers.

21. Don’t Drop The Egg

Line everyone up and give each a spoon and an egg. Find a good distance for a finish line and have them race to it with the egg on the spoon without dropping it or holding it. First to the other side with their eggs on their spoons wins.

22. Kick It

Divide the kids into two teams and have them each form a single file line. Place an object in front of each of the first kids in line like a pillow, can, etc. The first kid in line will kick it once and then run to the back of the line. The second kid gets to run up and kick and so on until the first team to get their object across the finish line wins. This is an easy activity to set up and can be played on birthdays in the park.

23. Three Legged Race

Have the kids pair up and tie one of their legs to each together so they’re facing the same way but appear to have only one leg. Make a start and a finish line and have them three-legged race to victory!

24. Stomp That Balloon

Tie up one balloon to a string about 2 feet in length and make as many of those as there are kids. Tie the balloon on the string to each kid’s leg and have them try to stomp on the other kids' balloons and pop them without their own balloon getting popped.

25. How Long Can You Hula?

Give each kid a hula hoop and the idea is to see who can keep the hula hoop off of the floor the longest without touching it or having it hit the ground. This is a great game for parties. Additionally, you can have kids walk around hula hooping to another side to make it more challenging.

26. Simon Says

Simon says is a classic children’s bday party activity idea that will surely entertain your guests. Let the bday girl or boy start as being Simon and make sure you don’t do anything without Simon saying or you’re out!

Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Themes

kids birthday party themes

Source: Unsplash

27. Arts and Crafts Party

Grab the paint clothes and prepare for this messy yet fun birthday event! If your boy is an upcoming artist then he’ll love this idea. An art-themed birthday party can be low-budget and keep the kids entertained for hours.

Set up three separate tables: one for painting, one for crafts, and one for food. You’ll definitely want to cover the tabletops with an old cloth or fabric. For supplies, you can opt for washable paints, watercolor, and acrylic for painting pieces. You can purchase a bundle of canvas from your local store or use computer paper.

There are so many ideas for crafts as well! Some classic examples are origami, straw rockets, craft stick airplanes, and paper pinwheels. You can make the crafts table really special with origami paper but if you’re on a budget computer paper can work as well. You can find supplies for the other crafts at your local craft store. These crafts are great because there’s room for creativity and aren’t too challenging to make. If you’re planning for an outside event you can even set up an area for chalk art on the sidewalk. So, what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to have an awesome art party!

28. Pirate Theme Party

Argghh matey! Pirates are a great costume and summer birthday idea. The kids will most likely be excited for a time to dress up and pretend to be pirates for the evening! My suggestions are more outdoor-friendly but feel free to tweak this idea to host a party inside.

The guests can arrive with costumes prepared or you provide everyone with light attire like spyglasses, eye patches, pirate hats, and hooks. Another idea is to have the kids make their own pirate costumes! You can set up a table with craft supplies. They can create pirate hats or they can decorate their own cardboard sword, compasses, and flags. With this idea, the children can make their own unique items and it’s sure to keep them occupied for a while.

The costumes, however, aren’t the main theme of this event. There are still many fun activities to choose from. Like, a pirate water balloon fight! This one can get a little messy but what child wouldn’t love the time to run outside and throw water balloons at each other? For a full-on battle, you can make two teams that have their own ships and flags. Then, they’re all set to have a water balloon fight! Another wonderful game is a tricky scavenger hunt. In this game, you can set up clues around the backyard and have everyone find the missing treasure.

Don’t forget about adding some pirate theme decorations. Red and black would be a great color scheme. Some decoration ideas are red and black balloons, pirate party decorations, treasure maps, treasure chests with fake gold, and plush parrots. These items should be available at your local stores.

29. Nerf Gun Theme Party

If your son loves to play outside and likes nerf guns, then I highly recommend throwing him a nerf gun party this year! If he doesn’t already play with nerf guns then what a better time to start than his own birthday? This is another great idea for the summer and an activity that will keep the kids excited.

You can request the guests to bring their own nerf guns or have a supply on hand. It can be easy to set up a nerf gun game in your backyard. You can plan to capture the flag game by setting up two bases opposite from each other in the backyard. They can protect an item like a flag or a football. But they have to make sure they aren’t struck by the other team’s nerf gun or else they have to go back to base one. You can also keep an extra set of supplies outside. Things like goggles, darts, and bandanas.

To add a little something extra, goodie bags are always a great idea as well. A nerf gun theme party can be such a fun day for your son to play one of his favorite activities with friends. What’s even better is that he can play and then eat a delicious birthday cake!

30. Lego Theme Party

Kids love Legos. They can spend hours just building and playing with Legos. And there are so many amazing activities and Lego birthday decorations you can use for a party. It’s very versatile and effortless to work with. This type of party can work well indoors and outdoors if you can set up a few tables.

You can invite all of your son’s friends with cute Lego-themed invitations, hang party decorations, and even buy a Lego-style cake and cupcakes. You can top these birthday desserts with a Lego man to add a nice touch to the cake. When everyone arrives at the party you can begin with fun mini-games. You can host a 10-min creative challenge. See who can build the best castle in 10 minutes and the winner can earn a prize. You can also do a ‘guess how many Legos’ are in the jar activity, find the Legos hunt where you hide Legos inside or outside, and a Lego relay race would fit well for an outside occasion. After all the fun, you can bring out the beautiful Lego cake and open presents.

31. Space Theme Party

Celebrate your boy’s birthday this year by throwing him a party to remind him that he is out of this world! This party will be great if your boy already loves learning about the moon, planets, and stars. There are many space theme party decorations you can work with and you can find them at your local stores or online.

But besides the amazing decorations, you can plan some really fun activities and games for the party. If you want to take your son out this birthday then a trip to a space museum can be interesting. You can invite his friends and their families to tag along and then you can check out the planetarium and other cool things the museum has to offer.

If the party will be at home then there are some awesome ideas to try. There can be the exercise of a craft where the kids can design their own rockets. This can be in the form of crafting rockets or even drawing one. The idea of Another craft is to have them paint “asteroid rocks” which can just be regular rocks. After the painting is done, the kids can form two teams and then each team hides their asteroids outside for the other team to find. That way you can combine crafts with a mini space exploration challenge. You can also set up a space theme photo booth where the kids can take silly pictures.

32. Robot Theme Party

There are so many fun activities and party decorations you can do for a robot theme party. This type of party is especially great if your little guy loves playing with robots or even building them. He might even be a big transformers fan, who knows?

You can easily host this party at your own home inside or outside. If you want to spice things up you could ask guests to arrive in their own robot costumes. The kids can casually wear their costumes or if you want to take it a step further, there could be a robot costume contest. If you're not feeling the come-in-your-own costume idea then you can opt for setting up a DIY table. At the table, everyone can make their own robot box head or masks. This can turn into a nice creative activity.

Another awesome activity is to have everyone build their own robot. You can even use Legos for this idea. For the decorations - there are tons! There are robot theme party decorations, invitations, robot inflatables for the backyard, and piñatas that you can choose from. For the food, you can bring in a cute robot cake and cupcakes.

33. Dinosaur Theme Party

I’d recommend throwing a dinosaur theme party for your son if you haven’t already! Dinosaurs are a classic favorite for kids and a fun party theme as well. You could make this year’s party a little educational by taking everyone to a dinosaur museum so all the kids can check out the cool-looking dinosaurs. If your son isn’t a museum type of guy and perhaps he’s a bit younger then a cute dinosaur costume party is the way to go. It’ll be a great opportunity to take photos of your little boy in a dino-onesie! If he is, however, a little bit too old for the onesies then you can host a fun party at home. You can set up a mini dinosaur dig where you fill up a bucket with sand or get a sandlot and hide the dinosaur toys underneath. You can also make a dinosaur theme bean bag toss.

34. Cowboy Theme Party

A cowboy theme party is another classic idea you can work with. The party can be set in right in the backyard with fun games and food included. You could buy horse sticks and have the kids do relay races while riding pretends horses. You can also set up a lasso toss area with some animal objects like a big stuffed animal. Since real lassos can be a safety hazard you can opt for hula hoops or rope. Another fun idea is target practice with tin cans. Line up the tin cans and you can use squirt guns for the kids to knock down. The person who knocks down the most cans can earn a prize.

35. SpongeBob SquarePants Theme Party

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? It could be your child this birthday! A SpongeBob theme birthday party can be super fun especially if your child loves SpongeBob SquarePants. There are so many ideas to choose from. You could make your own version of Krabby patties, you could buy a SpongeBob piñata, and you can create some fun games. This type of party could even be combined with a backyard pool party. Some exciting games are toss relays, a bucket fill competition, and even water volleyball. Or you could just have the pool open for kids to swim in and out and play on their own.

36. Movie Night

You can’t go wrong with hosting a birthday sleepover combined with a movie night. This can be a classic and lowkey idea if your boy is in his preteens and is growing out of the kid theme parties. With a movie night, he can still celebrate with friends, just minus the clowns and bouncy houses. You can let your son pick out his own movies and set up the living room or basement for the sleepover. All you need is some popcorn, drinks, and let the kids have fun.

37. Race Car Party

For a race car party, you could actually bring your son to a race car track. He might be a bit young to actually ride one but if you think he’d enjoy watching the track then go for it! If that’s a bit extreme then taking him and his friends go-karting can be really fun too. Then, of course, you can host a party at home. You can decorate with small items like black and white checkered racing flags, mini race car toys, and fake tires. For what to do during the actual party you can set up the living room so that everyone can play car racing games or simply play movies like Disney’s Cars.

38. Slumber Birthday Party

If you are a mother, then you might remember the days you used to love slumber parties. Now imagine if your little girl could have her own special slumber party. Nowadays this type of party is financially easy to set up compared to other themes. The easiest way to throw a slumber party is to invite your little one's friends and have them come in their pajamas. The decor could include some pillow-shaped balloons and you could order a cake in the shape of a blanket.

39. Rainbow Birthday Party

Does your little girl love the idea of rainbows and sunshine? Well, a rainbow party is a key to making many girls happy. For this party, buy a unicorn cake because this trend is never out of style. As for the embellishments, buy as many colorful napkins, plates, and cups as you can find. If you wanted to you could even hire a cosplayer to act like a unicorn to spice things up a bit.

40. Spa Birthday Party

Do you have a teenage daughter and the idea of planning a birthday party is stressing you out? If so then a spa-themed birthday party is for you. You can have two options here: either book an evening at your local spa for all of the guests or if this is not convenient for you, then make your own spa at home. The easiest way to do this would be to buy mani and pedi kits from your local superstore. Don’t overthink this, just buy the essential spa equipment that you can find.

41. Art-Themed Birthday Party

Does your daughter love art? Then it would be ideal for you to go to an art-based birthday party. Start by ordering a cake in the shape of a paintbrush and buy whatever decors you can find. The color of plates and napkins doesn’t matter here so don’t worry about this. Another thing that will make your party unique is to buy a small art pallet and poster for each guest. This will be a fun idea for all of the guests to enjoy because they could paint whatever they wanted to.

42. Unicorn Birthday Party

If you are all out of ideas, then go with the basic unicorn-themed party. Nothing beats the classic unicorn party for girls. Order a cake in the shape of a unicorn, buy colorful balloons, and hire a cosplayer as a unicorn.

43. A Modern Hello Kitty Birthday Party

A Hello Kitty idea is very convenient if you are planning a party for your little one. To begin, you should buy hello kitty utensils, and usually, these won’t be hard to find. You can find Hello Kitty-based products almost at any grocery store or market. Another great add-in would be to create goodie bags for the guests. In these bags, you could include candy, stickers, etc.

44. A Dreamy Under-the-Sea Birthday Party

If you are planning a party for a little girl who loves “The Little Mermaid” then you should definitely hire a cosplayer as the mermaid. The cake should have the mermaid on it and the guests should come in character as their favorite Disney princess.

45. A Safari Birthday Party For an Animal-Lovin' Little Lady

If you have a girl who loves safaris and animals then go with a safari party. Book a 2-hour safari tour that would be the most convenient for you and the guests. A safari would not only be good for the kids but would also keep the adults entertained. If this is not an option for you, then don’t worry you can simply create a safari theme at home. Hire a cosplayer to play as your little girl's favorite animal. You could decorate the party by using a representation of wild animals such as Zebras, Tigers, etc.

46. A Cowgirl-Chic Birthday Party

Are you from Texas? Whether your answer is a yes or no, a cowgirl theme is great for a girl's party. You could have the guests come in character as cowboys and cowgirls with hats and boots. The easiest way to make the cake look distinguishing is to have the cake be ordered in a hat shape.

47. A Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Party

A strawberry shortcake-themed party is either a go big or go home type of idea. To start, you should order a strawberry-flavored cake and buy party supplies that resemble strawberries. If you can’t find decor with strawberries, no worries go with buying pink or red plates.

48. Dreamy Balloons

A dream-like party is going to be every girl's wish and you can make it happen. If you have an older girl, go with buying bright lights and if you have a younger one, go with sparkling lights. Things should be kept appealing so add in some goodie bags or have every guest be greeted at the door with glitter dust. The music for the party should be kept calm and peaceful as this will represent what dreams are made of.

49. Simply Pink

A simple pink party is a way to go if you don’t have the time to think of party themes. Plan the party out according to the color pink, specifically the cake and the decorations should be in this color. If you wanted to you could take things up a notch by having guests come in pink clothes.

50. Butterfly Garden

If you want a party theme that sets you apart from others go for the butterfly garden idea. You can have two options here: either book a party in any garden or create this at home. If you decide on the garden, then make sure you choose a location that is accessible for guests; however, if you choose at home then pick certain decorations. At-home decorations should include flowers, a floral cake, and anything else you might want to add.

51. Cinderella

If you have a girl who loves Cinderella, then you might want to go with this theme. The first thing you should do is hire a cosplayer as Cinderella and then buy the party supplies. In this case, you should buy baby blue decorations because this color matches Cinderella's dress. The cake should be in the shape of Cinderella's shoe to keep everything fancy.

52. Indoor Carnival

If you are holding a party in the fall time-then you should go for a carnival theme party. During the October-November times, state fairs and carnivals are very popular among people. Include a carnival cake with decorations that could be yellow, blue, or red, because these are carnival colors. If it's within your budget, you can even hire entertainers for the kids

53. Fairytale Party

A fairytale theme party is the best option for those who have a little one who loves princesses. You do not need to think crazy about this theme, because it’s much simpler than it seems. You can order the cake to be in a castle shape and find party favors at your local supermarket. Take things to the next level by having guests come in their princess costumes.

54. Cruise Themed Party

A cruise-themed party is a great option for a girl who loves being near the ocean. This idea requires you to get creative. You can plan a spontaneous trip with a few of the girls' friends down a nearby lake or ocean. If this is not a suitable option, you can always make this an at-home event. Buy some ocean-themed decorations and a cake with a seashell on it (a resemblance of the sea).

55. Paris – Good Times in The City of Light

A party that makes guests feel like they are having a night in Paris? Nothing gets better than this. Start by booking a cake in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and buy whichever party decors you would like. You really don’t need to overthink this, just buy any supplies you can find. If you want to get even fancier, place some goodie bags with stickers and candy. If you have the time you can place a special order for customized charm bracelets that have an Eiffel Tower in them as gifts for the guests.

56. Bowling Alley

You may think that a bowling alley party is a bit strange; however, if your girl loves bowling go with this theme. You can have two options here: either book a party at a bowling place or make a bowling alley-themed party at home. If making this at home, you should set up a bowling ball arena in your backyard. You could even add cupcakes that are decorated in the shape of a ball.

57. Swimming Pool

A swimming pool party would be efficient if you needed to hold a birthday party in the summertime. The best way to plan this type of party would be to get a water slide that is placed in the backyard and have foods such as watermelons, and lemonade, etc.

Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Conclusion

Planning kid's birthday party ideas can be a fun and exciting experience for everyone involved. Next time you plan a party, try these tips and tricks to keep your expenses low, spirits up, and budget reasonable!

Written by Arianna Morales and Morgan McHose; Contributor: Jack Leduc