Cheap Party Ideas for Kids

Most kids love parties, and parents often have to think about cheap party ideas for kids so that…
A welcoming signboard as part of cheap party idea

Most kids love parties, and parents often have to think about cheap party ideas for kids so that it all fits in within their budget.

I’m sure even your parents must have thought of inexpensive party ideas that they tried at home with you.

When you were kids, weren’t you just bothered to have fun with your friends rather than eat fancy food or receive expensive gifts?

Parties as you all know can turn out rather expensive, especially if you are calling lots of people. Additionally, if you have a variety of snacks or food and have return gifts too – it can turn costly.

Surprisingly, there are many cheap party ideas to choose as an option. They turn out to be fun, inexpensive, and even your kids can participate in helping you with things.

“The best lesson we can teach our children is to have fun. It’s infectious, it’s contagious.” ~ Vince Poscente


Tips for Cheap Party Ideas

Here are a few tips to have inexpensive parties at home with your kids, something that my parents tried with me and I did with my kids too.

When you were kids, I’m sure some of these must have been tried at your home too – can you relate or add to the list?

  • Keep the guest list small because you don’t really have to invite all your child’s friends. Just a few handful are enough and manageable, and this would help you save up on the expense too.
  • Another inexpensive party idea is to have the party at a time that is not a meal time, like have the party either at 10 a.m.-Noon, or then between 3-6 p.m. This way you can limit the amount you serve.
  • While sending out invitations for the party, don’t purchase the ready-made cards. Instead, personalize the cards by making your kids draw out something on them. I used to love doing this as a child!

They can just use their imagination and be creative. You and your kids could try to re-purpose things lying at home and make wonderful cards to send out. It’s a great way to create a family bonding time.

If your kids are big enough, they could choose the waste-free electronic medium of sending the invitations through emails.

  • Have the party at home if possible as it turns out cheaper. But if your kids insist on having it outside then be a good parent and have it at a place that provides cheaper options of food, decorations, and party favors.

You could choose a game arcade, restaurant, or any place your kids love and which is within your budget. If the weather is nice you can have the party at a park or an open field with lots of place for their play activities.

  • Don’t buy anything for the party activities. Try experimenting with cheap party ideas like –  encourage your child’s friend’s to bring along their favorite game to the party. Have the classic games like musical chairs, scavengers hunt, treasure hunt, or some dance and music games.

The main aim of the party is to have fun, so let kids turn imaginative and creative with the games. Let them focus  on having fun with friends rather than competing and winning prizes.

Similar to low-cost party ideas, you can have party activities and games that are not expensive, yet amusing and fun for your children.

  • One of my favorite cheap party ideas is to shop for party supplies at discount stores well in advance. Besides the prices being much less, you get a lot of variety like paper plates, napkins, balloons, streamers, party favors, and all you need.

Have inexpensive party favors or gifts like toys, crayons, or book for older kids. Sometimes you don’t even need such gifts, instead, present each child with a souvenir like a picture of the birthday that they will value and remember.

  • Keep the decorations simple. There is no end to decorating the place with banners, fancy tissue paper pom-poms, lights and other stuff. If the decorations are at a distance, kids aren’t really bothered to even look at it.

Even using simple balloons are great because children really don’t bother whether you get cheap balloons or expensive ones.

You could even make your kids draw out funny faces on the balloons for fun. These balloons can turn out to be a cheap party idea for party favors as the guest leave.

  • Even the food or snacks served don’t have to be expensive. Yes, there is no extent to what you can do but kids can have the simplest and cheapest food and eat it all up, without even saying a word.

All you can do is be creative with what you serve. Try some fun and cheap party ideas like pizzas, hamburgers, hot  dogs, wafers, or French fries, which are all time favorite with kids.

Even when you shop for the ingredients, choose the main market and roadside stands. Purchase fresh seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables wherever possible.

Buying a cake, if it’s a birthday party, is one option that often turns expensive. Try making one yourself and decorating it. Or make enough cupcakes to give one to each child, and you can decorate them with faces or use color frosting to write their names on it – they will love it!

Remember to instill gratitude in your kids so that they thank their guests when they accept gifts.

Some parents prefer that the guests bring in donations to give to a good cause or charity. But yes, being kids – most of them love gifts too!


With some people, such parties can turn into competitions of who spends the most, which is simply a waste. It’s best to stand apart from the crowd and try out these inexpensive ways to have your child’s party.

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”  ~ Michael Jordan

Halloween is just round the corner, and a time when most parents often think of cheap party ideas for their kids.

It just requires a little effort to turn your normal party for children into a Halloween one. Just be creative with your kids and watch the fun!

If you have a teen at home then you might like to read an earlier post of mine about throwing a teen party for Halloween here.

What cheap party ideas for Halloween would you recommend for your kids or teens? Or do you remember how your parents planned it for you?

I loved this video that tells you fun and economical ways to have a party for your kids.

[youtube id=”ABlA6IxLZjs” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Fun Halloween Party Ideas: Halloween Food and Games For Kids ~ Howdini ~ YouTube Video

Over to you

What cheap party ideas did your parents have when you were a child? Do you also have some inexpensive party ideas besides the ones mentioned above? Share in the comments below.


Photo Creditdewolff

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  1. Love these party ideas!! They not only make parties reasonable, but things like making your own invitations, favors, etc. help to give the parties a personal touch, which makes the guests (and their parents) feel more special. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Glad you liked these inexpensive party ideas Makeba!

      Absolutely! When we make things ourselves, it gives a personal touch and it’s also a great way to bond with your kids and family. We used to love doing such activities with our parents when we were young. And the party also turns out within your range.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. Hi Harleena,

    Wow, great ideas! Where were you when my boys were little? I remember all the expensive birthday parties at the amusement places for kids, like Jungle Jim’s and Chuck E Cheese just to name a few. I will have to remember all those great ideas for our grandkids. I think homemade parties are so much more fun. Of course back then we didn’t have the time to do it all ourselves either because we were always on the run. I know…excuses, lol.

    Thanks for these great tips! I’ll be sure to bookmark them.


    1. Glad you liked these cheap party ideas for kids Ilka!

      Aha…I wonder where was I too – guess we should have connected earlier – isn’t it? 🙂

      We do see parents throw lavish parties or perhaps they do it because they can afford it and want to flaunt it, or may be because they want to have the best for their child. On the other hand, some parents prefer saving up for a rainy day and choosing such ideas where the kids have fun, and it turns out easy on the pocket too.

      I also believe home-made food and things turn out more delightful, more so because you have the whole family participating in the preparations beside the saving you do. Yes, sometimes the time factor or the fact that our kids are too small so managing them and such affairs can be a problem. But we do get extra help through relatives, friends, or even servants if you can afford them, which still turns out a cheaper option than having it outside.

      You’d make a wonderful Grandma whenever you do, and I am sure of that. Hope such tips help you that time. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  3. Thanks for these tips, Harleena.

    Halloween is coming soon, so I’m thinking on how to make a memorable and affordable party for my small family. Have a nice week and prepare well for the holiday 🙂

    1. Welcome to the blog Dmitri!

      Hope you can use these affordable party ideas for Halloween or for any other party also for that matter. I guess what matters most is that you learn to find ways to save up the expense wherever possible – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  4. Really inspirational ideas, thanks for sharing them!

    Actually, I had been searching for some great party decoration ideas for a while when I came to your blog. My daughter is going to be 5 next months and I want t organize a memorable party for my little fairy!

    1. Welcome to the blog Julia!

      Glad you liked these cheap party ideas for kids. I do hope you can use some of these ideas for your daughter’s birthday and make it a memorable one too. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. Hi Harleena – been awhile since I’ve stopped by.

    Crazy busy but aren’t we all so I guess that really isn’t a good excuse! Love this post! Not that I have thrown many parties for my boys, but the ones that I have, have all been “at home” and following many of the tips you provide. Still, I learned a new trick or two which I plan to use in preparations for my youngest’s birthday in December. I especially love your words on teaching gratitude. Both my boys have asked that gifts be donated to the local kids’ hospital at previous parties.

    1. Not a problem Carol – sometimes we do get busy!

      Happens with me too and I need to catch up with your blog too. 🙂

      I’m glad you too agree that home-parties are any day better in all ways for our kids. I guess when we do things from home, may be we spend time and our efforts too, but it’s all worthwhile in the end when the kids enjoy and have fun with their friends – isn’t it?

      Nice to know that you picked up a few things from the post, and would be nice if you tried it out too for your sons coming birthday. Let me know how it went.

      Oh yes, often times our kids forget to thank their guest for the gifts they bring, or even allowing their kids to come for the party. A simple thank you said with a grateful heart goes a long way. Wow! Your boys are already donating their gifts at this young an age, which is commendable indeed. And they must be making their parents proud by doing so. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  6. Well Harleena you know I don’t have any kids. But I do have so many friends and family members that go way overboard on parties for their kids. Heck, we never had any parties when I was growing up. Guess that’s why I’m not big on surprises now.

    But as always, you continue to share fabulous tips and ideas that people love. Heck, just being with the people I love is enough for me.

    Thanks Harleena…


    1. Oh yes…so many parents do go overboard Adrienne!

      They sometimes tend to spend more than they can afford, which is sometimes because their friends do the same – so their child’s party hardly remains their and turns out to be something else.

      As compared, we had fewer parties and that too were managed well within the amount our parents could afford. I guess that’s why we had all the fun and excitement, within the amount that was spent. Sometimes when our friends came over for night-stays, which again was rare, it was just cokes and popcorn or some light snacks. I guess one doesn’t have to spend a lot to have fun – isn’t it?

      Absolutely…just being with the ones you love means everything…to me too – nothing else really matters. 🙂

      I do appreciate your constant support, and thank you for coming over even when you don’t have kids. 🙂

  7. This is quite different from what you write regularly, but just as fun!

    My sister always wonders what to do when calling her kid’s friends over. She makes sure she cooks at home, somehow she feels home cooked food is way better than take out, especially when catering kids, because you just need to be a little more careful about health. And she says, though it might take a little time, it is definitely light on the pocket too. Also, I like the tips you share here!

    All ready for the party to be started! 🙂

    1. Ah…you did notice that Hajra!

      Well yes, it sure is a little different from the usual. I was trying to make the Tuesday posts a little light, different, and fun from the Friday ones, just as I had mentioned in the post regarding change that I might try new things and experiment. 🙂

      I’m glad most of the commentators here believe in home-cooked food and I vouch for that myself too. I think nothing can be better, healthier, nutritious and it does turn out economical too. Yes, when you do everything yourself it does take time and effort, but it’s all worthwhile in the end. But even if you want to have a party outside, choose some place that doesn’t turn out too costly and gives the kids their freedom to have fun.

      Will send you the invitation soon. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and your wonderful contribution. 🙂

  8. I haven’t had any parties 😉 Well, a few – for my birthdays (usually, we just celebrate it as a family). ]

    My latest party was about 2 years ago when I graduated. It wasn’t bad and all 😉

    It was, maybe the first time, I had my friends over for the celebration – because, usually I am reserved and intrinsic. I like to keep the celebration to myself and my family.

    But, these are some great tips here, Harleena 🙂 Thank you 😉

    1. I’m sure you enjoyed even those birthday parties Jeevan!

      We also never had many parties when we were kids, but yes, birthdays were always celebrated with friends and family, and mostly at home. The family members or my parents friends were always separate from the area where kids were – if they came, though it hardly mattered much to us because we just wanted to have fun with our friends. 🙂

      Ah…some people are like that and prefer to celebrate with their families, which I think is wonderful. My kids have started doing that more now as they are growing since the past 1-2 years. Earlier it was with friends, now it’s sometimes with us as a family, or else with a handful of friends.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us. 🙂

  9. The best cheap parties i’ve thrown for my kids are
    1- video game party. Dance dance revolution was a blast and so was guitar hero
    2- Take a select few kids to the movies. Yes it’s 8 to 10 bucks per kid but if you only take a few kids they still have a blast.
    3- Pool party with hot dogs on the barbie. Easy peezy.
    4- Sleep over with 2 or 3 friends. Let the watch t.v. hang out like normal

    Now, i just give my boys money and they go and hang out with their friends. It’s just easy that way.

    1. Those are wonderful ideas Annie!

      Never thought of a video game party for my kids, which I guess would work well even if you have kids stay over the night. 🙂

      Oh yes…I agree with your second point – movies is one thing that most kids like, and having a limited number of kids helps managing them better too. And they do enjoy sitting and munching things together. Pool parties are wonderful, provided you have a pool or can just have a party someplace.

      I guess when kids grow up a little they like to have their friends hangout with them and prefer having things their way. That’s what my daughters do too, and yes, turns out easier that way for the kids who enjoy themselves and for the parents too who don’t have to get bothered about throwing a party for them.

      Thanks for stopping by and suggesting more cheap party ideas for kids. 🙂

    1. Glad you liked the tips, and yes, parties are always fun – for kids at least they should be loads of fun and excitement.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  10. Hi Harleena,

    That is a timing post indeed. Even though I don’t have any kids as you know, I always enjoy reading any posts whether they may or may not apply to me directly, because one can learn from anything and everything.

    I remember my mother always managed very well to come up with great while cheap parties for us, because she made everything herself. Even our customs at Mardi Gras where sewn by my mother since she was a tailor. Now cakes and food were all home made too of course.

    I think that inviting only a limited number of kids is not only better for expenses, but for supervision as well.

    Thank you for this post, and I’ll be sure to share it 🙂

    1. Glad you could relate to the post even though you don’t have kids Sylviane!

      I guess we all can relate because we were kids too and so one can go back in time and think about how our parents raised us, and having such cheap party ideas were always something that our parents were mostly ready for – isn’t it?

      The good old times had their own benefits, and home-cooked food was something I’ve always loved too. Besides the expenses, it’s also more healthier and nutritious than the packed food or the ones you purchase from outside. Wow – even clothes being stitched make it all the more inexpensive. My Mom used to do that but only when were were toddlers and that too because she enjoyed making little frocks and stuff for us. 🙂

      Absolutely! Having a limited number of friends only ensures that you can keep an eye on everyone and pay special attention to those limited few too. It’s better to have a few good friends than many whom we just call because we have to.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate you sharing this with everyone. 🙂

  11. These are great. My sister was just telling me about a Hogwarts party she threw for her nieces and nephews.

    It was a lot of work. I have over 40 nieces and nephews myself so I appreciate this for our own parties we throw during the holidays.


    1. Glad you liked these cheap party ideas Bryce!

      Oh yes…parties do need a lot of work, more so if you are planning to budget things, which requires you to do most of the work. Wow…that’s quite a number! I guess it must be keeping their parents busy all the time. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  12. I like to do cake cooked inside ice cream cones, so that there is no plates used (less messy than cupcakes. (Cupcakes are ridiculously messy.) I also love a good scavenger hunt around the house!

    1. That’s really a good idea Jodi!

      I never thought of having cake within the ice cream cones – it would save a lot of mess for sure. And perhaps adding a spoonful of ice cream over that cake would be what kids would love too. 🙂

      We used to have treasure hunt and what Sheeba wants – fun kind of games. Even kids come up with wonderful games sometimes – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by, and your wonderful suggestion. 🙂

  13. I don’t have kids and so no parties are required. I’m sure you and I had lots of kiddy parties thanks to the Army community. But they were so simple . Now I am shocked at how much parents spend for parties and how it all sometimes descends to a show of wealth. Your post is relevant and most useful to parents, Harleena.

    1. I can understand that and so you are saved Corinne!

      Oh yes…we sure did have a lot of parties, and in the Army they are always having them for elders too. Yes, they were simple and well managed and didn’t require too much of spending on anything. Nowadays, parties have become a way to flaunting wealth in most cases and each one is trying to outdo the other.

      Thanks for stopping by, and glad you found it of value. 🙂

  14. Hi Harleena,

    Great party ideas. It really saddens me how parents are getting carried away with birthday parties. I love the idea of taking a picture and giving that to each child as a party gift. Wonderful idea.

    I never had a birthday party when I was little. The only parties that I remember were slumber parties in my teens. As for them my sister and I did make our own invitations. We had soda, popcorn or made home made pizza.

    I agree with Mayura, parties for kids are so they can play with each other.

    I have a daughter that has parties for her kids. She takes them to a salon for the daughter and does the hair thing and nails etc. To me it is a big waste of money. I do have another daughter that has 2 daughter with summer birthdays. In her town they have a nice swimming area they call the bay. She just has the party there and it only costs her for some sandwiches and she does make the cup cakes. The kids have a great time playing in the water.

    Thanks for the post and I hope many parents read it.


    1. Glad you liked these party ideas Debbie!

      Yes indeed, in most of the cases, it’s the parents who want to do the best for their kids without realizing about the cost nor thinking much about whether their kids would really enjoy all that they are spending on the things. And mostly parents tend to be competing or comparing parties with other parents, so they caught in that rut too.

      Oh yes… popcorn and sodas were fun in our times too, especially if there was a night-stay over party at our place. They are the cheapest snacks going around, yet no one minded it because the aim was only to have fun – isn’t it?

      Nice to know more about your daughters. I guess the one who takes her daughter to the salon must have been taking her ever since she was a toddler, so shes become used to it now. That’s what I was saying, often times it’s the parents who tend to spoil the child and do things for them or take them to places that they slowly get used to. But by the time they realize things, it gets too late.

      I like the idea of having a party at the swimming area – that’s another inexpensive way of having a party. I guess kids would just be loving it playing in the pool. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. I also hope parents read the post and know that there’s a lot they can save up where having a party for kids is concerned. 🙂

  15. Hi Harleena,

    Yes dear your ideas look awesome! 🙂 And they’re applicable for all kids. And I like to say serving home made foods, like short-eats than serving purchased food items (like burgers, French fries) may be better. 🙂 Because you can join your kids to make them too.

    Valuable article dear, love it! 🙂

    1. Welcome to the blog Chathu!

      Glad you liked the ideas, and yes, they are applicable for all kids. You are absolutely right about serving home-made food as compared to the ready-made ones. Oh yes…kids love to join in the fun and excitement and if you ask them too, they are sure to help you in making the yummy dishes. My younger one loves to cook and often helps me even when there is no party. I guess home food is always more nutritious, healthier, and cheaper than the one you get in the market – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  16. Hi Harleena,

    “Most kids love parties” >> You are very true about me, as I’m still a kiddie 😉

    I may say, for us, parties were very cheap Harleena 🙂 Most of my friends are around here (Neighbors) and have had all of the parties at home.

    As you said, we weren’t onto food or drinks those days. Whenever we gather, we just wanna play, play and play only. Cricket was the main sport, but we had other games too. We wanted to run and jump. No matter what weather condition, how busy we are, or how new our clothes were 😉 We had our fun. That experience was awesome 🙂 Believe me, we had never given any gifts to each other or never wanted to. We were just happy to see they are present and we were able to play.

    For me,

    * Guest list is medium

    * No invitations needed

    * Party at home

    * Never buy anything for party activities

    * No shopping for party supplies

    * No decoration

    * Home-made foods and snacks

    The best thing was our parents didn’t interrupt the fun. Mother made foods and drinks, but let us plan our day. Still they do, though we don’t play much now 🙂

    Of course, some of my friends far from home had parties with decorations and many guests. Especially girls. As a kid, I had not much fun. I saw them as parties that adults liked to get together instead of letting kids to have fun. It’s very true that kids need fun.

    I think kids need more freedom. I’m really happy the time I had with friends when I was a kid. Even very cheap for parents 😉 There’s no time like that.

    I have to say that the party ideas would be perfect on saving Harleena 🙂 I just wanna say, think of your childhood and what did you love most. When we become parents, we may think we are mature and the best for our kids would be what we think right now as mature people. But when we see the world from a kid’s eyes, they see world as a playground I guess 🙂 Let them be free, and with proper guidance the hidden skills will come out too.


    1. Oh yes Mayura! You can fit into the kid category still!

      Nice to know that you could relate to the post, and parties for us were also more of a home and fun affair. Just like you, even my friends used to come over and we just remained busy playing – not cricket of course, but more of girlish games.

      I remember the time when my parents had to come in and tell everyone that it’s time to go back home, as being girls they had to be home at a particular time. The boys of course were always naughtier, but it sure was fun to have such parties at home. Oh yes! We even used to have night-stays and loved talking about horror movies and sneaky things. Good old time. 🙂

      I’m glad you agree with the tips mentioned because I feel that more than anything else kids just want to have fun. They aren’t really bothered about decorations or planned games and activities. If you let them loose and free, they enjoy much more – at least we did!

      Home-made snacks and even food was relished by all, or perhaps my Mom was a good cook and prepared things just as you get them in the market. I do the same with my kids. However, once they are into their teens they want to go out with their friends rather than be home and party. Things change once kids grow up, but that again is natural – didn’t they change for you and me too.

      I think when you have party ideas that are not costly like the ones shared, you can save up a great deal without even knowing it, nor would you be depriving your kids from having fun – isn’t it? So it’s a win-win situation in both cases.

      You are absolutely right – we need to think from the child’s view point and not from a matured adults or parents. It’s their party, so let them have the fun just as they want to, though within your budget. And things do work out perfectly well with your effort and if you are a little creative in your ideas.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experiences with everyone. I love your comments and appreciate your constant support as well. 🙂

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