Kids love their birthdays and they want to celebrate their birthday by calling all their friends and close ones. It can be difficult for parents, especially if they don’t have a budget to throw a lavish birthday party. Let me tell you, I have organized 4 home birthday parties for my daughter and they all have been low budget but super fun. So, if you are looking for indoor birthday party ideas or inexpensive birthday party ideas, you have come to the right place. Let me tell you how to plan a low budget and fun home birthday party for kids
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Why should you have a home birthday party for kids?
There are various reasons why you should have a home birthday party for your child.
- For monetary reasons, of course. A home birthday party is cheaper than organizing an outside kiddie birthday party. You don’t have to pay the rent of the birthday party venue and the food is cheaper too.
- You have more control over things. If you like to organize and be in control, then a home birthday party makes sense as you will always be on top of the things.
- The birthday party can stretch beyond the said time because there is no one sitting on top of your head asking you to vacate the place.
Having said that, there are a few limitations to planning a home birthday party for kids. Do read them before you decide to plan a kiddie birthday party at home.
- If your home is small or doesn’t have a garden, you cannot invite a large number of people. It makes the place stuffy and less comfortable. If the kids are small (6 years or small), then you need to invite at least one parent per kid; so I would say invite not more than 10 kids. It would still be 20 people (10 kids + 10 mothers). Once kids can come alone for the party, you can think of inviting 15 kids. Remember, the more the kids, the more responsibility on you.
- The whole party becomes your show – you are in control, but with control comes the responsibility and running around for every small thing.
- If you are a stickler for cleanliness, then do not even think about planning a home birthday party, because the house is in a terrible mess (cake smeared on your new cushions, floor and rugs sticky with juices and eatables) by the time the party ends.
Now, let’s talk about how to throw a low budget and fun home birthday party for kids
First things first, you need to decide the budget. I did say low budget, but you still need to come to a ballpark figure to be able to know:
- How many kids to invite?
- Should you indulge in expensive decorations or just balloons and DIY steamers and flowers?
- What kind of food to be served – should you cook, order food boxes or hire a party food caterer?
- How much to be spent on party favors?
Next comes the decision on a birthday theme. Don’t scratch your head over it. Your child will more or less lead the show here. Every year my daughter has a few ideas for her birthday theme, I just have to pick up one which is the most favored and practical.
Last year, I wrote a post on 11 unusual birthday party themes for your child. They are a good and exciting mix of both indoor and outdoor birthday party themes.
Read it here – 11 unusual birthday party themes for your child
- Themes for kids under 12 – Some popular birthday party themes are Peppa Pig, Paw Petrol, Wonder Woman, Dumbo, Moana, Star Wars, Frozen, Mary Poppins, Baby Shark, Unicorns, Minions, etc.
- Themes for kids older than 12 years – If you have an older child, you can even opt for DIY Escape Room birthday party theme, spa theme, English tea party themes.
However, don’t fret if you can’t come up with a theme. You can plan a perfect birthday party even without one. The idea of the whole home birthday party is to have fun – so just tell yourself and the kids, that the theme of the birthday party is to PARTY and having FUN!
Home birthday party décor ideas
Birthday party décor ideas depend entirely on the theme. Once your theme is decided, you can start working on the decoration. For small kids, birthday decoration is a big thing. They want it all – stickers, cutouts, streamers and lights. For older kids, you can tone down the decoration and focus mainly on the games and food.
However, party decoration is one area where you can very easily spend too much money, but you don’t need to.
For our 3-year old daughter we had organized a Barney themed home birthday party. We made cutouts from thermocol and stuck it on the walls and got Barney colored balloons – purple and green.
- For the Frozen theme, you can think of icicles hanging from the ceiling and have powder blue balloons.
- If you are good at origami, decorate your walls with crepe paper flowers. They look really chic.
- Make a photo booth using banners, streamers and paper garlands. They are a huge hit with kids.
- Make your tables or corners pop out with big empty boxes wrapped in theme colored wrapping papers. You can even use color coordinated serving trays, tissue paper, plates, etc. It really takes the theme to a different level.
- Home birthday party is a good time to take out your Christmas or Diwali lights. Use rattan balls, fairy lights or string lights with LED lights. They create a warm white light which is ideal for home parties.
If you are good at art and craft, make a fun birthday invite like a wearable hat, cootie catcher, bookmark, etc.
I am not at all an artsy-craftsy person, and also, I wouldn’t spend on the invites. The cheapest way to invite people is to send e-invites on What’s App. However, parents can be terrible at RSVPs. So, make follow up phone calls with parents, especially if you don’t like last moment surprises.
Make an eye-catching creative as per the birthday theme that reveals the theme of the party, the time and venue.
Find some interesting templates for birthday party invitations on Canva. It hardly takes a few minutes to design one. These cool party invites can be printed and mailed or sent out as an email attachment or what’s app image.
Food is another place you can spend a lot of money. However, with a little bit of advance planning and help, you don’t need to spend more money than it’s absolutely necessary.
I have organized a few birthday parties. One time I had hired a low-cost catering service; they prepare the food and serve it too. So, you are basically free to mingle with your guests.
The second time around, I had a very small gathering, hence just hired a cook who made a few dishes. I got some finger foods from outside. And my domestic help and I served the food.
When my daughter turned 7, we planned an even smaller home birthday party and invited a select number of friends of hers (just 8 to be precise). I just ordered some pizza and cheese breads and they were good.
Kids love finger foods and bite sized foods like cheese balls, popcorn, fries, nachos, mini tacos, mini idlis, etc. These should be enough to see them through the games and activities.
For the mains, think of foods that are easier to make and can be eaten cold or slightly warm. Pizzas are popular and are loved by kids of all ages and adults alike. Sandwiches are another option. Plan to have a variety of sandwiches – cucumber, cheese, PB&J, etc.
I would say don’t offer too many choices for drinks. Iced teas, lemonade or soda should be OK for kids. If you have the budget and are thinking of offering alcoholic drinks for adults, even limit that to wine or beer, which are easy to open and serve.
It goes without saying that order or bake a theme-based cake. However, for kids up to 7 years, don’t waste time, money and energy on fondant cakes. A chocolate cake is a must – with or without icing depends on your skill.
The cake is a dessert, so go slow on desserts. Think of one or two more options for desserts and that’s it. Ice creams complement desserts very well and are inexpensive too.
Tip: If you are cooking, I would advise you to plan well and finish the cooking much earlier. So, you are free to enjoy the party. One of my friends who bakes delicious cakes had baked her daughter’s birthday cake herself. She couldn’t finish the cake on time, and as a result, though the guests came, she could join the birthday party only after an hour. Don’t let that happen to you.
Games and activities
Kids birthday party games are as per the birthday theme. For example, for a spa party, you can hire professionals who can give a mani-pedi to kids, apply nail paint, etc. For a storytelling party, you can have a storyteller narrate a story.
For an arty party, think of a few art activities that you can do with kids. Like in one of the birthday parties of my daughter, we made bookmarks, greeting cards, crepe paper flowers, etc.
In my experience, small kids get bored of the same activity very soon. Also, avoid lapses in activities. It’s a good idea to think of alternate activities too to keep the kids engaged. I had put a few games like Twister, bowling, hula hoop, playing with goop or play dough, etc. If nothing works, put on Karaoke or the latest pop songs, it’s sure to keep the kids grooving for a long time.
No party is over unless you hand out goodie bags to your little guests. A lot of thought goes into putting together an interesting and exciting return gift for kids.
For most theme parties, the birthday craft becomes the party favor.
For example, for a baking theme party, the cupcakes or muffins are both the activity and the favor. For a science party, the playdough or goop goes into the goodie bags.
if the activity doesn’t culminate into a gift, think about inexpensive but fun gifts.
For example, for a spa party, give a mini pedicure kit or a few nail paints in funky colors. For an arty party, you can think of giving crayons, sketch books, craft kits, etc.
Stay away from loot bags.
Ask any mother of a child and she would complain how some gifts are good to look at but are never seen since the party day. So, instead of giving loot bags, think about gifting a gift card of a popular ice cream, donut or pancake chain.
Return gifts don’t necessarily have to complement the birthday party theme.
Unless you could get hold of something specific. I like to gift books which I order in bulk off Amazon.
Check out this carefully curated collection of books which is ideal for gifting to kids of 6-8 years.
Money saving tips:
- I prepare goodie bags out of old newspapers to cut down my usage of wrapping paper or plastic bag which often finds itself in landfills. And also, it’s extremely budget-friendly. To make it more theme-appropriate, I put stickers or paint the newspapers in the colors of the theme.
- Once I had even given the goodies in cloth bags. They are extremely handy to carry a small lunch box or water bottle or even grocery.
- Cut chart papers or marble papers into rectangles and ask your child to write Thank you notes!
Some extra tips for planning a kiddie birthday party at home:
- If you are thinking of a pinata, I think you should, it’s fun for kids; don’t stuff it with confetti or thermocol balls. These tiny things roll over and slide under the furniture and stay there till your next spring cleaning.
- Ask your close friends and family members to help you, especially in serving food or keeping the kids engaged with fun activities. You would get some breather and a chance to enjoy the party too.
- Wear something comfortable which is breathable and stretchable too. Comfort and practicality are important, especially when you are the host.
- Even for footwear, I would ditch high heels and go for comfortable wedges or pumps. With kids around, you can never be sure what circumstance might arise.
Check out these really helpful posts on how to organize a birthday party at home:
How to throw an epic party without going broke by Motherhood Maniac
10 Tips to throw an affordable birthday party by The Mom of the Year
How to Throw Kids Birthday Parties at Home! By Mom of 6
Everything you need for a fun at-home kids birthday party by Todays Parent
17 Tips to Throw a Kids’ Birthday Party on a Budget by Parents.com
So, did you notice how home birthday party for kids can be low budget but fun at the same time.
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