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The Ultimate Guide to Planning and Budgeting for Kids' Birthday Parties

Birthday parties are an incredible experience for both children and their parents. The joy of celebrating with loved ones, delicious food, and exciting activities is unparalleled. However, planning a memorable birthday party can be a...

Birthday Party

Birthday parties are an incredible experience for both children and their parents. The joy of celebrating with loved ones, delicious food, and exciting activities is unparalleled. However, planning a memorable birthday party can be a daunting task. From choosing a theme to managing the budget, there are several factors to consider. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide age-by-age planning tips and insights to help you create the perfect celebration for your child.

What to Consider for Your Kids’ Birthday Party Celebration?

This is where the real work begins. Get your little one involved in the planning process. This will be a great way to spend time with them and there will surely be some teachable moments along the way. You may also be able to find some inspiration by visiting our school theme day ideas.


Experts suggest inviting the same number of kids as the child’s age, but this guideline doesn't fit everyone. Some young children are very social and a large party works best, while some older kids prefer to hang out with a handful of close friends. Trust your judgment and your child's wishes about how many guests will be a good fit.


Menu planning can be a challenge, particularly if you’re dealing with fussy eaters or food sensitivities. Whatever you choose, the aim of a good birthday party meal plan is to keep the food planning and preparation to a manageable level. For more specific ideas, check out the age-by-age breakdown below.


Where you hold your child’s birthday party depends on many factors, such as the season, the number of guests attending, whether or not there are health restrictions, your child’s wishes, and your financial budget.

Indoor Options

If you want to take the stress out of party planning, you could book your child’s party at an all-inclusive venue, such as Chuck E. Cheese, a trampoline park, indoor playground, or a climbing gym. Alternatively, you can set up a party station in your home or book a community recreation center or local venue that offers art, sport, or music classes.

Outdoor Options

For outdoor parties, consider amusement parks, outdoor sports training, paintball, or even setting up a party station in a local park. Most municipalities allow small family gatherings in parks, making it a great option for warm weather celebrations.


Not all parties require entertainment, but hiring fantastic, thrilling, or magical entertainers can really make your child’s special day memorable. From animal shows to special guests like Spiderman or Elsa from Frozen, there are numerous options. However, be mindful of the cost and the attention span of the guests when choosing entertainment.


Whether you're going big with lots of balloons and streamers or keeping it low-key, consider the environmental impact of your decorations. Choose decorations that can be properly recycled or timeless ones that can be used for many years to come.

Loot Bags

Many parents now advocate for loot bag-free birthday parties to minimize waste. However, if you still want to provide loot bags, consider alternative options like home-baked treats, bulk-bin candy wrapped in pretty packaging, markers, or coupons to local sweet treat spots.

Making Memories: Group Video

Another consideration is whether or not you would like to record the event for posterity. Surprise the birthday girl or boy with a group video compilation of happy birthday messages from friends and family. It's a heartfelt way to make them feel loved on their special day.

Birthday Party Theme

Giving your kids the birthday party of their dreams doesn’t have to be hard. The best way to choose a party theme is to start by looking at some of your child’s passions and hobbies. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do they have a certain toy that they just cannot be without?
  2. Do they always ask for a specific movie, like Coco, Toy Story, or Frozen?
  3. What sports do they enjoy playing?
  4. What do they like to do outdoors?
  5. Are there specific animals they love or are drawn to?

This list will help you create a birthday party theme that is bound to make your little one squeal with joy. For example, if Minecraft is the 'bomb,' you could create lots of green block food plates and decorations that your child will love.

Age-By-Age Tips for A Kid’s Birthday Party

Here is a comprehensive list of birthday party ideas for all seasons to help you brainstorm indoor, outdoor, or at-home parties for different age groups. Make your next birthday bash a success with some of these epic party suggestions!

Ages 1 to 3

Little ones between the ages of 1 and 3 don’t necessarily need structured games and activities but more of an outlet to play with friends. Here are a few ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Set up a large play space where everyone can gather and keep an eye on their kids. Playing music, setting out colorful toys, and blowing bubbles are all great ways to keep everyone entertained.


A backyard or park is a wonderful option for outdoor gatherings. Letting the little ones play in a sandbox, a wading pool with toys, or a sprinkler is always a wonderful way to have fun in the sun! Don't forget the sunscreen!

At Home

Baby-proof your home and provide lots of sensory experiences, such as tasty snacks, soft toys, or a dance party. Invite parents to play along with the kids by singing and dancing along!

Parties for babies can be accomplished with a budget of $75-$150 easily.

Ages 4 to 6

For this age group, let the games begin! Children between the ages of four and six love to play games and win prizes. Here are some ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Plan an indoor event at a venue that allows for performers, games, and activities. Choose a theme like indoor camping or outer space for added fun. Scavenger hunts are always a blast!


Outdoor venues are perfect for summer birthday parties. Consider visiting a local splash pad or having a beach-themed party. You can even check your local pools for rental availability.

At Home

Organize a STEM-based party by inviting friends to bring pillows and blankets to create a pillow fort city. Costume parties are also a hit for this age group!

The budget for parties like this ranges from $100 to $250 or more, depending on venue rental, entertainment, and food choices.

Ages 7 to 9

At this age, children love to get their bodies and brains involved in games and activities. Choose themes that support active learning and play. Here are some ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Hire a local magician or set up Lego stations with different challenges to keep active minds engaged. Painting stations or balloon art teachers are also great options.


Consider a bounce house or a themed party like fireman training or spy school. Set up games and challenges for kids to complete and play together.

At Home

Set up an obstacle course in the backyard to get rid of excess energy before cake time. Create a cool-down space afterward where kids can build with blocks or play with toys.

The budget for parties like this ranges from $100 to $275, depending on venue rental, entertainment, and food choices.

Ages 9 to 11

This age group is particular. They're no longer little kids, but not quite teenagers. Here are some ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Book a bowling party, trampoline park, or a laser tag event. Engaging activities that allow kids to have fun together without boring grown-ups are a hit. Consider contacting your local robotics team to show the kids how to build their very own robots!


Plan a swimming party, scavenger hunt in the park, or a trip to the zoo. Themes are less "cool" at this age, so there are fewer limitations. Pinatas are always a plus!

At Home

Organize a sleepover party with movies and pizza or purchase a mystery party kit for an unforgettable experience. Get your teen involved in the planning process to ensure a party they will enjoy.

The budget for parties like this ranges from $75 to $300 or more, depending on the venue, chosen activities, and food choices.

Ages 12 to 14

Entering teenager territory can be tricky, but tons of fun! Here are some ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Plan a LAN party or visit a roller skating rink for a more active indoor activity. Let your teen and their friends enjoy freestyle dancing or organize a freeze-dance competition.


If your teen is outdoorsy, plan a nature hike or have a beach volleyball tournament. Consider mapping out their favorite video game in real life as a backyard obstacle course!

At Home

Create a fun movie night in the backyard with a projector or host a Super Smash tournament inside. Add some friendly competition with brackets and prizes for the ultimate winners.

The budget for parties like this ranges from $50 to $600, depending on venue rentals, the number of guests, and the chosen theme.

Ages 15+

The 15+ age group is usually great at party planning and doesn't necessarily require themes. However, here are some ideas for indoor, outdoor, and at-home parties:


Hosting a LAN party, attending a mini-golf center, or even a face painting session can all be exciting options. Let your teen's creative ideas shine!


Consider outdoor activities like a nature hike, beach bonfire, or creating a large water gun battle in a splash pad. For more adventurous options, try paintball, spa days, or guided hikes.

At Home

Plan a horror movie marathon or a relaxing spa night at home. Involve your teen in the decision-making process to ensure they have a great time with their friends.

The budget for parties like this ranges from $100 to $600, based on venue rentals, entertainment options, and food choices.

Games and Activities for Every Age

Regardless of the age group, there are always fun games and activities to engage the guests. Here are some ideas that kids of all ages will enjoy:

Memory Game

Create interesting memory games where you show party guests a series of items at the beginning of the party and ask them to recall the items later. The guest with the most accurate answer wins a special prize!


Divide the party guests into two groups and have one group act out a word while the other group guesses it within a given time period. Charades is always a great way to have a few laughs.

Team Sports

Organize team games like three-legged races, relay races, blind man's bluff, and spoon races. These silly competitive games are a hit for kids of all ages.

Mummy Wrap Game

Split party guests into teams and ask each team to wrap a chosen "mummy" in toilet paper. The team that finishes first wins!

Fishing the Prizes

Attach small prizes to paper clips and create a fishing pole with a magnet. Let each child have a turn "fishing" for their prize.

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt can be thrilling for kids of all ages. Tailor the items to find, hiding places, and clues based on the age group. Consider creating a treasure hunt for older kids.

Disco Party / Freeze-Dance Party

Play popular musical numbers and let the kids enjoy some freestyle dancing. To add an extra twist, play freeze-dance and have the kids stand still like statues when the music stops.

Lego Games

Set up challenges like building the best Lego structure or knocking down Lego towers with a toy car or ball. You can also put Lego bricks in a jar and ask the kids to guess the correct number.

Backyard Carnival

Create a festive carnival feel in your backyard with different stations for activities like face painting, popcorn and cotton candy stands, and various games like ring toss and bean bag toss.

Cowboy Party

Ask each guest to create a homemade wanted poster at the beginning of the party. Create a balloon stampede, lasso toss, and scarecrow bashing for added fun. Don't forget to provide cowboy hats and bandanas!

Chocolate-Making Party

Combine making treats and chocolate by providing guests with different fun molds and flavors. Let them melt the chocolate and pour it into the molds. Get creative with decorating and wrapping the chocolates.

Craft Party

Organize a craft party with markers, beads, or tie-dye for different age groups. Kids love the opportunity to make and create.

Glow in the Dark Party

Transform a room in your home into an exciting "dark spot" with glow-in-the-dark stickers and decals. Add a strobe light and some tunes to create a glow-in-the-dark party experience.

When planning your child's birthday party celebration, it’s important to establish a budget and consider what to spend on each aspect of the party. By carefully planning and making informed decisions, you can create a memorable day for your little one without breaking the bank.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and create lasting memories with your child and their friends. Happy party planning!