We have thrown our kids all sorts of birthday parties from big to small. But some of my favorite parties with the kids have been smaller parties with simple (and affordable!) activities. Small parties allow you to really connect with and enjoy the company of your guests. The following simple and fun activities can help you make your next kid party a hit!
- Bubbles: Have a bubble blower or two going, and give the kids their own bubbles to blow for endless entertainment!
- Balloons or balls: Another simple and affordable idea, especially for young children (opt for balls for the very young to avoid the choking risk associated with balloons.) We had nothing more than balls at my daughter’s first birthday party and it provided fantastic entertainment for our young crowd.
- Water guns: this is a great one for all ages. At our son’s second birthday I purchased a bunch of dirt cheap plastic water guns online. We had dollar store buckets filled with water as refill stations throughout the yard. Even the older kids and adults had a blast using the water guns. You know it’s a great party when the adults are laughing and joining in on the fun!
- Dessert decorating: The key to pulling off this party activity is to keep the guest list short and prep the workspace ahead of time. When I did this for a playdate, we opted to make emoji cookies. It was a simple enough design and the kids could also customize the face they wanted to draw. Setting up each child’s work station with all the supplies needed for their project will help to make this activity run smoothly. Pro tip: set up on a plastic table cloth so that when you are done, you can gather up the corners and quickly toss out the mess!
- Art or craft project: a lot of the tips mentioned in #4 apply here as well. Keep the guest list short, plan a simple yet fun art project (Pinterest has your back!) Prep everything ahead of time, and don’t forget to set up on top of a disposable plastic tablecloth. When we made goo at my daughter’s 6th birthday party, I double layered plastic tablecloths. Once the craft was done, I simply grabbed the corners of the tablecloth on top, bundled up the mess and put it all in the trash. The remaining tablecloth underneath was clean and had us all set to eat after the kids washed their hands. You can use a little tape to anchor the bottom tablecloth to avoid having it slide around when it’s time to remove the messy tablecloth above it.
- Movie watching: outdoor movie watching is fun and out of the ordinary. I have seen people set up projectors or regular TV’s outside for a party. Still, if these are not options for you, indoors can be great fun as well. The last two years, at our family’s annual Halloween party, our outdoor movie has been moved inside. One year the wind destroyed our screen along with having speaker issues, the next year our projector bulb burned out… just as we were setting up the movie… and I hadn’t purchased an extra. It sounds like a disaster but both times I just moved the movie indoors and people enjoyed it just the same. If this is your only party activity, it can be very budget friendly. Movie foods are easy and affordable. You can go all out and provide hot dogs and nachos, or just set up a popcorn bar where guests can grab a paper sack, add popcorn and choose add-ins to customize the flavor (think butter spray, popcorn seasoning powders and candy.) Don’t forget to stock sodas, juice and movie theater boxed candies to complete the experience.
- Ice cream social- It is super easy and affordable to host a party at an ice cream parlor since no meal is provided. Many places allow this, so check out you local ice cream parlor. Or you can host it at home and set up your own bar of options. When we did this, we skipped the cake all together and put the birthday candles in a “cookie cake” made with stacked cookies. The kids later used the cookies to add to their ice cream sundaes or to make themselves an ice cream sandwich.
-Blessing Baked Goods