Birthday party ideas that won’t put you in the poor house

I am not a butter cream hater. Nor do I abhor those kinda scary, you’re not sure if they’ve got a secret vodka flask stashed in their over sized giant clown pants birthday party “entertainers.” To be perfectly honest I just HATE how insanely OVER the top let’s all try to keep up with Joneses competition kid’s three year old birthday parties have morphed into. Which is why I had to share these Birthday party ideas that won’t put you in the poor house.

So dear parents an alternative to the three-ring circus type of birthday parties- where kids likely don’t even know three quarters of the adult guest list and are likely crouching in a corner rocking back and forth…I offer you the birthday party-lite. Keep reading for all the deets about Birthday party ideas that won’t put you in the poor house!

Birthday party ideas that won’t put you in the poor house

Stage a LIBRARY PARTY! If your Library has a large screen you can watch a movie and have that movie feel with out the cost.  You can buy balloons ( for each kid to take home!) swedish fish or other movie type snacks to keep with the feel (no popcorn cause it is a pain to clean up).  Some libraries have a Wii station and hook it up to a large screen you can get Wii party games (just make sure kids know they have to take turns) and they get wii games on a giant screen.

Age Appeal: Six to eight (perhaps a story time party for 1-2 year olds) stay away from active three and four year olds.

Cost: Donation (give as much as you can afford and tips for librarians)

What: kids will go gaga for: If it is the local library it is cool to use the facilities for private use.  You can hire someone for entertainment and younger siblings (dragged along) can read books right outside the party room. For younger kids you can ask a librarian to do a special story time and then do a simple project.

Parent Perks-This is a great way to use a very important part of the community and make a donation to a cause that really needs you.  Their budgets are always on the chopping block and they do so much for us and our kids.

Drawbacks:If you have a group of wild kids this is not the place to do a party.  Guests must be respectful of levels of noise and watch the types of treats you serve nothing to creamy or messy.

Overall:You can be very creative. We did a Lego party where we watched a made for DVD movie that no kids had seen yet and then brought in lots of legos that borrowed from our daughters classroom. The kids built away after the movie, we had cake and each kid left with a a lego set.  For girls they could watch a Disney Princess movie and have a tea party theme to finish up.  In our case the librarian who we knew well was very helpful setting up the dvd and projector and then let us do what we wanted.  Wii party puts the games up on the large screen which adds a new dimension to the fun but you need to keep the group small and make sure you have enough remotes.

Information: Check out your local library at and ask if you can use their private room

With minimal planning, a scavenger hunt party is a great way to pull off a fun activity for all of your party guests. It’s hands-on and experiential in nature so everyone can be involved and active at the same time.

Check out These top five tips for creating their very own scavenger hunt.

1. Pick a scavenger hunt theme that relates to the interests of the birthday boy/girl. Examples of themes include: pirate, garden, explorers, princess. Ways to incorporate the theme include:stickers on the clue cards that match the theme, rhymes/riddles that follow the theme, a map/treasure/scavenger hunt “kit” to bring along that fits the theme.

2. Have a good mix of easy and hard scavenger hunt clues. This will give your guests a sense of accomplishment and a challenge as well. Consider the ages of your guests as you develop your clues.

3. Set a time limit and be sure to end the hunt with the party guests still wanting more. Nothing is worse than a boring birthday party game so be sure to end on a high note.

4. Consider adding a point value to each of the scavenger hunt items. Be sure to have a prize for the winner. Or, if you are leading them from clue to clue, have a collection of prizes at the final stop so everyone goes home a winner.
5. Have fun planning the scavenger hunt. The more enthusiasm you put into your hunt, the more creative it will be.

A scavenger hunt can make a great birthday party idea for both kids and teens. For younger kids pick a “pirate” or “princess” theme and have the hunt take place around the house or yard. For teens, consider doing a “photo scavenger hunt” and sending them around the neighborhood, the mall or town to photograph your clues.

Parent perks: A scavenger hunt can take little to no planning or it can be really elaborate. You can come up with a simple list or create elaborate riddles.
Overall: It’s a hands-on, experiential activity so kids are actively engaged throughout the activity. It includes all of the guests. You just monitor/supervise.

Information: Contact who will help brainstorm ideas and create custom hunts for their group of kids, teens or adults.

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