Planning Your Child's Party On A Budget

It's party time! So how do you make your child's party a success without busting your budget? We've got seven fun (and inexpensive!) ideas to keep your kid's party going strong all day long. Let the games begin...

Backyard scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunt

Following the theme of your kid's birthday party (whether it's fairies or dinosaurs), hide small themed trinkets or non-melting, wrapped candies in the backyard. Depending on your party and childs' ages, either give them a list of clues to reveal the hidden treasures or hide them in places they can spot without clues.

You need: Small themed trinkets or non-melting, wrapped candies, a list of clues (optional)


Treat time

Kids making cookies

If you have a budding baker, don't just serve treats at your party — let the party guests have a hand in making them! Little kids love to roll dough, cut shapes with cookie cutters (metal ones are not recommended for little partygoers) and — of course — decorate.

Mom, you handle the baking, natch. Let each child bag up a few to take home. Crispy rice treats are another great treat for shaping and decorating sans baking.

You need: Dough, cookie cutters, bags for kids to take some home


Freeze dance

Freeze dance

In our experience, nothing gets kids laughing (and moving!) like a game of freeze dance. Pump up the volume, and let your party people shake their groove thing until the music stops. The children still boogying after the music stops are "out" for that round.

Repeat until only one child remains — the winner! Dole out prizes for the winner, as well as the silliest dancer, the best dancer, etc.

You need: Music, small prizes


Create a mural

Kids painting a mural

Prep your backyard for art time with a large roll of white paper, canvas or simply an old plain sheet — as well as washable paint, brushes and shaped sponges. Following the theme of your party, have the children decorate the mural with a painting of their own and birthday wishes for your child. Once dry, hang the masterpiece in your child's room as a memento.

You need: Roll of white paper, canvas or simply an old plain sheet as well as washable paint, brushes and shaped sponges


It's a puzzler

Floor puzzle

Get a giant floor puzzle (or make your own) matching your kid's birthday party theme and let kids work together to complete the picture. Set up teams to work on specific areas of the puzzle or put a few large puzzles out.

You need: A giant floor puzzle


Obstacle course race

Kid going through an obstacle course

Using outdoor play things like hula hoops, foam pool noodles, etc., create an age-appropriate obstacle course for your kids and conduct your own Olympics. You can also rent an inflatable obstacle course for your party from companies that supply bounce houses. Instruct your partygoers through a series of challenges — and don't forget gold medals for the closing ceremonies.

You need: Hula hoops, foam pool noodles, etc. to create an age-appropriate obstacle course,medals


Station, station number...

Art station - Birthday party games

Set up small "stations" that partygoers can rotate through as the party rocks on. Some ideas — art table, small puzzle, Lego table and bracelet or necklace making (supply large beads, pre-cut lanyards and some examples). Encourage kids to split up into small groups and make the rounds. Parents can work the room and supervise.

You need: Supplies for small stations such as a small puzzle, Lego table, art table and bracelet/necklace making (supply large beads, pre-cut lanyards and some examples)

Image credit: Amy Vowles

More about kids' parties

6 Creative birthday party locations for kids
Summer birthday party ideas
Cheap birthday party ideas for children


Recommended for you


Comments on "7 Fun kids' party games"

gabriellagarces March 29, 2014 | 7:13 AM

these are some cute party games!

hallie January 17, 2014 | 3:37 PM

Good ideas I like the cookie picture it a lot of cookies

Lizzie August 02, 2013 | 5:30 AM

Its called musical statues not freeze dance but these are some really good ideas thanks for the help

alexa pilieci July 01, 2013 | 1:09 PM

I really like the scavenger hunt idea!I can go to the dollar store and buy how many groups i have and have them as a group find the stuff and the first group to find the stuff wins something!

Katelyn June 21, 2013 | 6:35 PM

Thank you so much!! Very useful advice.

Jennifer West April 26, 2013 | 10:12 AM

I really love the obstacle course idea! I feel like with little kids, it can be such a huge waste to spend a ton of money on a party when they most likely aren't old enough to understand or full enjoy it. They get distracted easily and of course make messes (which can be crazy if you are at a bowling alley or movie theater!) Some of these ideas are a great alternative. I think it's more important to get the kids moving around and engaged in something. I will definitely be sharing these ideas with some friends!

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)