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How to Throw a Fun, Budget-Friendly Children’s Party

Ronali is a freelance writer and editor who was granted an Awardicon for A Wonderful Family Article by Writing[dot]com.

Budget-Friendly Children’s Party Ideas

If the thought of your child turning a year older fills you with dread and anxiety rather than excitement, realize that you’re not alone. Birthday parties, even those intended for children, have gotten more and more lavish and excessive in recent years.

And moms and dads have good reasons to worry. The accumulated expenses of renting a venue, hiring entertainers like clowns, mascots, or magicians, as well as costs of party staples like balloons, food (including ice cream and cake), and loot bag items, should be seriously considered.

Don’t feel pressured to keep up with other parents, but don’t deprive your child of the fun of experiencing a birthday party, either. With a little bit of planning and loads of creativity on your part, an exciting birthday bash can be possible.

With a little bit of planning and loads of creativity on your part, an exciting birthday bash can be possible.

Consider the following suggestions and steps:

  1. Create a list of negotiables and non-negotiables
  2. Decide on a theme
  3. Pick a venue
  4. Source food and refreshments
  5. Find some entertainment
  6. Pick some music, games, and prizes
  7. Find budget-friendly party favors

No need for cupcakes or a candy buffet

Birthday cake and ice cream

Table napkins, paper plates, and cutlery can be plain

Colors of balloons and decorations like birthday banner or bunting must be according to the theme

No need to hire a professional photographer

A DIY photo booth can be set up, with accessories like feather boas, mustaches, costume jewelry, top hats, sunglasses, etc., where guests can take selfies

No need for magicians or clowns

Party playlist

Party host can be a parent, relative, or teacher

1. Create a List of Negotiables and Non-negotiables

Creating a list like this will help you figure out what to save and splurge on. This table above gives you an example of this type of list.

2. Decide on a Theme

Boy's birthday party theme ideas:

  • Pirates and ships
  • Nautical or underwater theme
  • Video games theme
  • Superheroes
  • A sports theme, like baseball or basketball
  • Cartoon or comic book characters
  • Barnyard theme

Girl's birthday party theme ideas:

  • Ponies and unicorns
  • Flamingoes
  • Teddy bears
  • Little girls' high tea
  • Princess or fairy

3. Pick a Venue

Hosting the party at your home would be your best bet if you’re looking to reduce expenses. If that’s not possible, consider renting a multi-purpose hall, a function room in your church, or even an indoor basketball court.

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Decorate the venue according to your theme. There’s no need to follow every detail, though, so determine your negotiables from your non-negotiables.

Keep your guest list limited and the duration of your party to 2-3 hours.


4. Source Food and Refreshments

You can bake a cake if you have the skill or pay someone to do it for you. Another option is to drop by the neighborhood pastry shop or a commercial cake shop and choose a simple one from their selection. And then, you can personalize it by adding cake toppers, colorful sprinkles, or miniature marshmallows and candies.

Prepare food that suits the theme of your party. If you choose little girls' high tea, serve wafers, sandwiches, marshmallows, and scones.

If you prefer more generic dishes, cook all-time favorites like pasta, fried chicken, hamburgers, or hotdogs. You can also buy snacks like nachos in bulk and make your own homemade dips.

Serve fruit juice diluted in ice cold water for refreshments. Have cold water with slices of lemon as well.

Keep in mind that kids are usually too excited to even think about munching on a lot of food, so limit the servings to avoid wastage. Just have a dish or two prepared for your adult guests.

5. Find Entertainment

As you can see from the table above, you can omit a few non-essentials to reduce your budget further.

If you as a parent will be too busy entertaining your guests, ask a relative or your child's favorite teacher to play sparkling host.

Instead of hiring mascots, clowns, or magicians, hold a talent show. Ask some of your child's guests to sing a song, dance, play a musical instrument, or showcase their other talents.


6. Pick Music, Fun, and Games


Download a playlist of upbeat tunes to serve as background music. Ask your kid what his and his friends' favorite songs are.


Come up with around 6-8 parlor games. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Relays or charades
  • Get some unused garbage bags and have a sack race
  • A tongue twister for Pass the Message
  • Musical chairs
  • Newspaper dance
  • Play Twister
  • Hot Potato
  • Simon Says


You can save a lot by buying a couple of packs of lollipops or candies. Other inexpensive prizes are:

  • Sheets of stickers
  • Bookmarks
  • Packs of origami paper
  • Hand towels or handkerchiefs with cute designs
  • Cord holder/organizer
  • Ballpoint pens or pencils with cute pencil toppers

7. Budget-Friendly Party Favors

Instead of spending money on giveaways or souvenirs, why not let your guests capture memories by hamming it up and taking selfies? How? By setting up a DIY photo booth!

Accessories like feather boas, birthday hats, and headbands with kitten ears or deer antlers are inexpensive and can be bought from party supplies or arts and crafts stores.

You can turn a plain hat into something more festive by adding a ribbon. Flower crowns for a fairy-themed party can be made from crepe or construction paper. You can also add funny-looking or odd-shaped sunglasses in stars or hearts among your accessories.

© 2022 Ronali dela Cruz

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