Budget Friendly Kids Birthday Ideas

If you’ve ever organised a birthday party, you probably really realise how the cost can snowball from what you intended to something short of monstrous. It’s easy to get distracted by matching decorations, matching plates or food costs which somehow sneaked into the bill without you noticing.

If your child is under five, the best solution for me is to not have a party at all. Do you really remember your birthday when you were three? For most kids, you only need three things to make a party: balloons, cake and a wrapped present. Everything else becomes a vague memory in the exhausted Party Organiser’s mind.

Non-Party Birthday Ideas

Whose idea was it any way to have cake for a party? It is no doubt a great culture as it has taken the world by storm but not having a party doesn’t mean you can’t still make the day special.

Family get-together

A child’s first birthday is a special occasion and a great reason to get the family together. This is a party more for the grown-ups so you can pretty much do anything you want – go to a winery, have a luncheon or just invite some relatives over for tea (or beer).

You don’t have to do party favours because the adult guests will far outnumber the children.
You don’t have to plan any games. Just relax and enjoy yourself, and catch up with family members or friends you probably haven’t seen for a while.

Princess for the day

Princess of the day

You don’t need a big party to make the day special. Decorate your home with streamers and balloons so your child knows it’s a special day. Then let your child dress up in his or her favourite costume for the day.

A princess or fairy outfit would probably work best for girls. Ideas for boys: dinosaur, king, astronaut, wizard, fireman. Make sure you have a cake that matches. What astronaut wouldn’t want a space rocket cake from Mars. By the way, you don’t really have to buy any of these things. You can usually find something around the house you can DIY. (Tip: If you can’t find a suitable cake, make a play dough one with your kid).

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunt on the beach

Kids love games and for your child’s birthday, you could have a special Treasure Hunt game. Let your child find clues Scavenger Hunt style. You can line the way with small presents and let the big prize be something he’s wanted for months.

Jar of treasures

Treasure Jar

Another fun game is filling up a jar with paper slips. Let your child pick one and ‘claim’ his present.

The presents don’t have to be expensive. They can be ‘Get a kiss from Nanna’ or ‘Get a bear hug from Dad.’

Family Outing

Family picnic

A birthday is also a good time to go on a family outing. Take a trip to the zoo or train park, or go for a family picnic. You can let your child wear a special badge or give him a special balloon to let him know it’s a special day.

Inexpensive birthday party tips

If you must have a party, here are some tips to stay on budget:

Keep the guest list short

Some people go by the age. That is, one year old equals one guest. Two years old equals to guests. And so on.

Have a theme

Having a theme helps you control what you do. For example, if you have a Pink party, just keep everything pink. Don’t bother looking at anything else you might be tempted to get. Some popular themes: Teddy Bear Picnic, Cartoon Characters, Trains, Dinosaur, Jungle Gym.

Simple food

Kids really don’t eat much. So if you keep it to sandwiches, ice-cream and crisps that would be fine.

Simple party favours

When it comes to party favours, more is not always better. Sometimes a well-thought-out gift would be more appreciated than a bagful of lollies. For example, if you have a princess party you could give buy a set of Princess books and give one to each child, tied up with a ribbon.

Capture the memories

At the end of the day, whether you do party or no-party, remember to take photos or videos. Because 20 or 30 years from now that’s all they’re going to remember.