How to Make Your Child’s Birthday Party “Unique” on a Budget

Are you tired of the same old boring kid’s parties? Do you want your child’s birthday party to stand out from the rest?  It doesn’t matter where you throw the party.  The key is the little extras. I don’t mean spending a bunch of extra money, it’s the little details that make the difference!

Even if your party is at an indoor playground or venue outside your home, you can still incorporate some of the ideas below without spending too much extra money. This is just an overview of what you should keep in the back of your mind while planning. I will go into more specifics about each of the areas in future posts.

(1) Set a Theme

Aside from the venue, the theme is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the party! A theme is what really helps bring the whole party together. Once you come up with a theme, make sure you stick with it!! The more things that are theme related, the more your party will stand out.  Even if your theme is not unique, the way you use your theme and incorporate it into the party will make all the difference.

For example, I recently went to a “pirate” themed party. Yes, almost every boy has had a “pirate” party. What was different about this party is that they had hired a person to dress up as a pirate, they played pirate games, had a pirate bouncy castle, pirate face painting, and a balloon artist making balloon swords. The table was decorated with gold pirate coins and netting. Every party guest got a pirate hat, pirate bandanna and pirate eye patch. My first impression when I got there was “This party is amazing”! My son and I both still remember that party and still use the “pirate” dress up party favors daily.

If possible, make your guests dress up according to your theme or you can just have all your guests dress in one color. I always have all my guests wear red for my Christmas parties. The same color concept can go for a birthday party. If you can come up with a unique theme you are all set, if not try to put a unique twist to your theme. For example if you are doing Toy Story, instead of focusing on Buzz Lightyear, why not focus on Sheriff Woody. If you are doing a “Princess” theme, try focusing on just one Disney princess instead of all of them.

(2) Choose Colors

Choose 2 to 3 colors and stick to them. Sure multi-colored parties are a lot of fun, if it goes with the theme. My son’s upcoming 4th birthday party is actually multi-colored polka dot theme, so his party will consist of 5 main colors. However, most themes will require only a few colors.  This will enable you to coordinate everything (tableware, hats, party favors) and will pull the overall “look” together. For example, if you are having a Barbie party the matching colors would probably be pink, purple, white or silver. Colors like orange and green would  just clash! If you are having a boy’s pirate pirate, you would want to stick to red, black and white.

Note: If you have some basic colors, you do not need to buy all the overpriced party themed napkins, plates, cups, banners, etc. You can easily get away with just having the party themed tablecover. Then buy everything else according to your color scheme – this will be must more cost efficient and you can then use printables to jazz it up.

(3) Be Creative With The Food

You can still have the same party  food, just label it or design it in a creative way for example “Pizza Planet Pepperoni Pizza (Toy Story)” or “Cinderella’s Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese”. It will take a little bit of time and creativity to come up with the names, but it will be worth it. If you are stuck for ideas, look at Pinterest for inspiration on how to get creative with your decorating your food. There are some really talented people out there that will provide you with a step by step guide – why reinvent the wheel.

Just a side note, you also don’t want your party to stand out for the wrong reasons. Let the kids eat when they are hungry. In addition to the main food, try to put out extra snacks for the kids and adults like popcorn, fruits, chips, cookies. I recently went to a 2 hour party where they didn’t serve any food or drinks (not even water) until the last 30 minutes of the party! Needless to say I kept having to pull snacks out of my bag for my boys (which I always carry with me).

(4) Print Out Themed Printables

Printables give the party that little something extra. You can either design your own or print something free off the Internet or buy some printables from a shop on Etsy. Printables really bring your theme and party to life. You can put these cut-out printables or stickers on just about anything  – attach them to toothpicks and put them in food, on top of cupcakes, stick them on the punch bowl, wrap them around water bottles…the list just goes on and on.


(5) Have Activities For All Ages

Make sure there are activities for all ages.  Don’t just cater to the older kids or younger kids.  The young kids need a place to play and move around as well. Set up a toy mat in the corner of the room; this way the kids 2 years and under will have a place to sit and play. No child wants to be stuck in the Baby Bjorn carrier for a two hour party, even parents find this very inconvenient.  Also, see if you can get some high-chairs so that the young kids have a place to sit. If you are having a baby party, but have some of the older siblings attending, make sure you have an activity for them as well. As stated above, you don’t want your party to stand out for the wrong reasons. If you are unable to accomodate the younger or the older kids at your party, just inform the parent in advance, so that they know what to expect and are not dissappointed.

(6) Set up an Activity or DIY Corner

An activity corner costs almost nothing to set up.  Print out coloring pages from the Internet that go along with your theme.  Put out crayons and color pencils.  If you want to be extra fancy but a bunch of puffy stickers, sequins, pom poms.  If the kids are older you can set up an actual art project or DIY corner. If you are trying to save money, you can always use recycled materials for your DIY station (like old cardboard, rocks, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, paper plates) – there are tons of ideas on the internet on how to make recycled crafts.

(7) Organize Games & Prizes

Play some games and have prizes. If you want to save money on prizes, then hand out paper awards that you printed from your computer (“1st Place Winner in the Musical Chairs Competiton). A fun game that both kids and adults of all ages like is “Limbo”. All you need is a long stick and music. Cover an old broom handle with some crepe paper and there is your limbo stick. Games with upbeat music are usually a good way to get a party started.

Another fun game that will keep the older kids occupied is a “scavenger hunt”. We recently went to a party where they had a “Dora” scavenger hunt. Each kid got a Dora the Explorer backpack and a treasure map (this also doubled as a goodie gift). You just need to make a list of items to look for and the kids need to go around the party area searching/collecting them. If you have a backyard, you can even hide things (same way you do an Easter Egg Hunt).

(8) Give out Goodie Gifts

Instead of your usual goodie bag filled with plastic junk give a “Goodie Gift“. Goodie Gift’s last much longer than your normal goodie bag. Not to mention both parents and children will remember that they got the “goodie gift” from your party. Note: A Goodie Gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – just set a budget per child and go on your own scavenger hunt at local discount stores and sales.

Hopefully these party planning tips have helped you get your own creative juices flowing. Like I said, it doesn’t take much extra money – just some coordination and creativity. Good luck party planning.

Social Share Toolbar

Related posts: