Cheap children’s party ideas

Thank you very much to Shona who put this post together. Hasn’t she done a FAB job!!!

Birthday party games that don’t cost the earth

Pass the parcel – You can buy many things to put in the middle of a pass the parcel with a sweet in each layer as you unwrap it.

Musical chairs – FREE

Musical bumps – FREE

Musical statues – FREE

Scavenger hunt – Use clues to help the children find what you want them to find. This could be done even more cheaply by hunting items found in nature i.e. pine cones, rocks. Then the winners get a prize.

Fancy dress – If your children have lots of fancy dress items, you could put a fancy dress box in at the party for all the children to use.

Simon says – FREE

Pass the balloon – split into 2 equal teams and sit in lines. Each person has to hold the balloon under their chin, no hands and pass it along to their team. Whichever team gets it to the end of the line wins.

Dead ants – for older children. The children dance around the room until you shout a number from 0-4. When they hear the number they put that many body parts on the floor. If you shout 0 they have to lie on their backs with their limbs in the air like dead ants.

Party activities

Bubbles – many parents have a bubble machine at home already.


Colouring books / printable colouring activities i.e. masks

Decorating cupcakes – you could have cupcakes and part of the party activity could be decorate your own cupcake to take home.

Decorate your own party hat – see below

Pin the tail on the donkey – print out a donkey picture and make a tail out of paper/material. Here you have pin the tail on the donkey.

Pasta necklace making – string and dried pasta tubes create great pasta necklaces.

Sports day type activities – egg and spoon race, three legged race or a water balloon toss.

Ball pit – many parents will have these knocking around, even if it’s a small paddling pool filled with plastic balls.

Disco – just use your own music on a stereo or smartphone with speaker. Much cheaper than hiring a disco.

Skittles – using empty drinks bottles, you could fill them with various things to make them a little heavier then use a ball to try and knock them over.

The chocolate game – a bar of chocolate, knife and fork and a dice. Sit in a circle and roll the dice. If someone rolls a 6 they have to try and cut up the bar of chocolate and eat some with the knife and fork. The other guests continue and when someone else gets a 6 they swap in.

Monday saving decoration ideas

Decorate your own party hats – rather than buying party hats you could use paper for children to make a cone and decorate their own party hat with crayons, pens or even sticking sequins, buttons or feathers on.

Pre decorated party napkins – buy some napkins, a rubber stamp and an ink pad, then you can stamp anything onto your napkins!!

Make your own happy birthday banner – using things around the house i.e an old bedsheet and some pens/paint.

You don’t need helium balloons – children are happy with normal balloons so if you want a helium one, then just perhaps get one in the number of the child’s age.

Make your own party favours – in place of a party bag, each person could go home with a homemade sweet cone. Sweets can be bought in bulk and cellophane cones can be bought from eBay.

Top Tips

  • You MUST decide on a budget and stick to it. Perhaps try and work out how much you want to spend on food, decorations, cake etc.
  • If you have a theme, not EVERYTHING has to go with the theme. Napkins, plates and decorations can be very expensive. Just use the theme for invitations and cake, the children won’t notice all of the extras as long as they are having a good time!
  • You can save money by having a birthday party for a time where you don’t need to provide food (e.g. 2-4pm).
  • Having a reasonable limit on the amount of guests can save money as then you don’t need to spend as much on favours and invitations
  • Can you find a template to print out party invitations online? Then you could print your own.
  • Keep it simple!
  • Can you host a party at home rather than rent a venue? If not, shop around for a cheaper venue but still local.
  • Search for pre-filled party bags – you can often get these cheap if buying a couple or you could go to the pound shop and get some cheap fillers for party bags.

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