The dynamic of birthday parties has changed dramatically over the last several years. Birthday parties used to require minimal planning. They were simply kids running around and playing, and some cake. Now, parents speak of pressure to have meticulously planned birthday parties that are themed, decorated perfectly, and require so much more money and time than the events of our youths.

If you have a birthday party coming up and feel the pressure to plan a great event – but don’t want to spend lots of money – this list is a gold mine. Consider our cheap birthday party ideas. They’re sure to be a blast without breaking the bank.

Cooking Party

Kids love to cook and bake. So, this party is sure to be a hit. When the kids arrive, have them put on a chef’s hat and proceed to the kitchen. There stations can be set up with the ingredients they’ll need to make –and eat – a meal and dessert at the birthday party.

A perfect invitation idea is to use Index cards listing the party menu’s recipes. Party favors might include cheap kitchen utensils for the kids to use and then take home. For activities, have the kids make mini pizzas and sugar cookies, while munching on cheap snacks and drinks. For example, veggies, chips, and lemonade.

Instead of providing treat bags, purchase mini paper sacks and stickers for each kid to decorate and fill with extra cookies to take home.

Painting Party

Painting parties have taken off in recent years, ever since DIY painting stores opened. Ideas for painting parties are numerous and most cost very little money.

Painting party invitations can be made with construction paper with party details written on different colors that are cut out to look like paint, and then glued onto construction paper pallets. Or, you can cut construction paper in to paintbrush shapes with a popsicle stick glued on the back.

Small easel and canvas sets are relatively inexpensive to provide. When the kids arrive, have them put on old t-shirts, or even trash bags, with holes cut out for their heads and arms. From there direct them to a painting station where they can paint a design you’ve picked, or paint their own masterpiece.

Painting party treats might include Rice Krispy treats dipped in colored icing to look like paint brushes and different brightly colored fruits in little bowls that are set on a piece of cardboard that is cut in the shape of a painter’s pallet.

Treat bags are optional because kids can take their paintings home. Or, you can have them decorate their own cupcakes, cookies, or Rice Krispy treats to take home. With so many low-cost options for a successful painting party, kids are bound to have a good time.

Stuffed Animal Party

Stuffed animal parties are typically most fun for toddlers and younger children. They are cost-efficient and a lot of fun. Make your invitations with construction paper or a printed stuffed animal picture that is then hand-colored.

When the kids arrive, give them a brand new stuffed animal. Their stuffed animal is their take home treat and their new friend. Design all of the party games to focus on their stuffed animals. For example, if teddy bears are the party’s theme animal, play pin the tail on the bear (made out of construction paper). And, hide and seek with the teddy bears. The list of teddy bear games you can create out of classic kids’ games is endless.

To round the party out, serve picnic themed snacks and let kids color animal themed pictures.Snack suggestions include gummy bears, honey graham crackers, milk, and cookies, and honeycomb cereal in baggies. Additional party favors aren’t necessary because the kids take home their animals and any crafts they complete.

A stuffed animal themed party is a lot of fun. Plus, party guests have a stuffed animal to take home to remember the fun birthday party for years to come.

Scavenger Hunt Party

Kids love scavenger hunts. A scavenger hunt themed birthday party is guaranteed to be a fun time for kids of all ages. Invitations can be as simple as crumpling paper sacks with the party details written in different areas to make it look like a treasure map. If you crumple the paper sacks enough, they will get a soft and leathery feel to them, which will make them seem even more like a treasure map.

For young children, hide small treasures in several places before arrive. This way kids can find prizes along the way. Then hide one bigger prize for one kid to discover and win the scavenger hunt. When kids arrive, hand them their clues in a creative container or bag. Then let them go to work. Kids can either work individually or together to find the small prizes and the grand prize.

The same steps hold true for older kids with age appropriate clues and prizes, If you make the scavenger hunt difficult enough, most of the party can be spent solving the clues. Once the final clue is solved and the grand prize is discovered or awarded, it’s time for presents and cake. No gift bags are needed because all of the kids will have take-home treasures they earned along the way.

Having a scavenger, or treasure hunt, is a great way to entertain kids and is one of the best cheap birthday party ideas because it can be tailored for kids of all ages – even teenagers.


Although there’s pressure for parents to plan fun and memorable birthday parties, kids’ birthday parties don’t have to break the bank with these four cheap birthday party ideas.

Cooking, painting, stuffed-animal, or scavenger hunt themed parties are all ways to host a birthday party on the cheap. These four ideas are just a few of the many excellent party ideas for people on a tight budget. Finally, the Internet is a great resource for cheap party planning tips and tricks.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

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