8 ways to host a child’s party without breaking the bank

Celebrate in style without breaking the bank with these inventive ideas.

How can a six-year-old's birthday party cause so much chaos? Between organising a theme, a cake, costumes, party bags, and invites we can lose the sense of what the party is all about. Birthday parties aren't about spending loads of money, nor impressing the other parents, but simply celebrating your little one's special day.

At the end of the day, kids don't really mind how extravagant their party is, as long as there is entertainment and cake!

Here are a few solutions for throwing a fun and memorable party in your home or garden, without breaking the bank in the process...

Clown around

clown around with cupcakes on napkin

(Image credit: TBC)

Everyone loves the magic of the circus: clowns doing tricks, lions jumping through blazing hoops and ringmasters raising the cheer. Believe it or not, this theme is easy to create at home too. Send invites that mimic traditional circus tickets and invite guests to your home. Simply string bands of colourful tissue paper, banners and bunting across your living room ceiling and create a little stage where children can perform for their friends.

A clown and ringmaster go down great (cue parents in fancy dress) and if you have one to spare, stand a giant stuffed lion in the corner.

Hunt for treasure

local park and set up treasure hunt

(Image credit: TBC)

One for summer birthdays. Invite friends to your garden or your local park and set up a treasure hunt. Theme the event depending on your child's favourite character or book - maybe Dora the Explorer, The Gruffalo or Peter Pan. Set up clues around the park that lead to another location. The winning prize can be a sugary treat, a book inspired by the party's theme, or a stuffed toy. Set up a picnic in the park for the kids afterwards to share their treasure.

Cook off

kids to decorate their own pizzas

(Image credit: TBC)

Kids always enjoy adult chores, so make a fun party out of cooking. Make invitations in the shape of chef hats, and when the kids arrive, set them up in the kitchen and give them fun, colourful aprons and paper hats. Hand out simple shop-bought pizza bases and get kids to decorate their own pizzas using ingredients set out in the middle of the table. While they cook for 10 minutes in the oven, entertain kids by decorating pre-made cupcakes.

Go back in time

parcel with white coloured and red ribbon

(Image credit: TBC)

Image courtesy of Jane Young, Pinterest.

Everyone loves a good old-fashioned game of pass-the-parcel! Host a traditional kids party with  musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, followed by a sit down tea party. Cover a small table in brown parchment paper with hand-drawn table mats and coasters, and encourage kids to draw all over it. You could also make name badges for them to colour in and keep it as a memory-sake. Fill the table with sandwiches, sausage rolls, and copious amounts of iced party rings.

Theme it

themed party with celebrating around halloween or easter

(Image credit: TBC)

Children love a theme that they can dress up for (even if parents don't!). Whether you are celebrating around Halloween or Easter, or in the wake of a new film release, themes can actually make the event easier. Invest in cakes and food relevant to the theme, and cover your home in colour-relevant banners. Themed party bags can also be easy, with inexpensive toys and food on the market for just about any theme.

Movie night and slumber party

movie night and slumber party with candies and popcorn

(Image credit: TBC)

Image courtesy of Laura James, Pinterest.

Celebrate a recent film release by hosting a movie night. Cover your living room with hundreds of fairy lights for a warm glow, and fill it with duvets, blankets, cushions and beanbags. Get guests to wear their pyjamas (what's easier than that?) to really get the slumber party feel. Mid-film, hand out small cardboard cones of popcorn, flavoured water, and some chocolate nibbles to keep them entertained. This party can be hosted in the day with curtains drawn, or at night with a sleepover for the older kids.

Visit the home's zoo

zoo theme cupcakes

(Image credit: TBC)

Great if your child is a summer-baby! A zoo-inspired theme is easy to create in your back garden. Source some over-grown animal inflatables to stand in mock-pens across your garden - these are easy to find on the internet and won't break the bank, but alternatively grab all of your little one's stuffed animals. Face paint from your local art and crafts store will prove popular with your guests and if you have some paint left over, make some head-in-the-hole animal cut outs on giant cardboard. Theme all food animal-related including a round of cupcakes with various animal heads on.

Get botanical

garden with colourful stones and diamonds botanical

(Image credit: TBC)

Image courtesy of Cucushkina Marfusha, Pinterest.

All the rage amongst adults, why not host a gardening party. If your child is a green-fingered, worm-digging enthusiast, then set up a table with a plastic coating in the garden, greenhouse or conservatory, and assign each table setting with a low lying potting tray. In the middle of the table, line up rows of inexpensive plants, either grown yourself or purchased from the local garden nursery, and a selection of colourful stones and pretty diamonds. This party keeps kids active and gives parents a little something at the end too.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.