Fun and Traditional Kids Party Ideas

Call me old fashioned but I like to err more towards the classic things from when I was growing up. Birthday parties have turned into such a big promotion that it puts pressure and stress on parents to host a fun party that kids will enjoy. When I was a kid you went to a party to give gifts, not receive them (goodie bags). And our parents didn’t have to shell out a fortune to ensure we had a good time. Kids and especially toddlers can find fun ways to play with simple things. I have compiled a few inexpensive, easy, and fun kids party ideas that you can do for your next child’s birthday.

There are many ways you can create a fun-filled day for your child’s birthday without breaking the bank. While bounce houses and water slides are great, they can run you in the hundreds and can pose a risk for injury especially if you have younger guests. Here are some fun games you can put on for your little ones that are a little safer and cost next to nothing:

1st Birthday Party Games

Your baby’s first birthday marks a major milestone and many parents like to go big. Your little one won’t remember their first birthday and they are too young to really appreciate some of the attractions you would have for toddlers. For my son’s first birthday I’m inviting family and close friends and there will be some other young ones around his age so I wanted to have something they could do and came up with these ideas:

Kids party ideasDiaper Derby-This is such a cute idea for parties where there are 3 or more crawlers around. All you need is a  large blanket (such as a sleeping bag opened) or a mat and a parent or guardian to cheer them on. The babies start on one end while the parents sit at the other end of the blanket cheering and egging their babies to crawl towards them in a race against the other babies.

Wagon Rides – This is great if you have a nice sized wagon and a riding lawn mower, however manual power works just fine too. Decorate the wagon with streamers and balloons and have your baby and the guests take turns riding in the wagon. Tie the wagon up to a riding lawn mower for pulling (just be sure another adult can walk along side for safety in case the child tries to stand up while riding) For even more fun, if you have close relatives or friends who also own wagons you can ask to borrow them to use and tie one behind the other for a ‘train’ ride. If you don’t have a riding lawn mower ask some of the other parents to volunteer pulling the wagons.

puppetPuppet show– This is something both babies and older kids can equally enjoy. You can use hand puppets of any kind or even finger puppets. For the set up just use a table and cover the front and sides with a tablecloth or blanket to hide the ‘puppeteers’. You can even ask older kids if they’d like to help put on the show by playing along.

Games and Entertainment for Older Kids

Here are some games and attractions for older children that make excellent kids party ideas to liven up the party without going overboard.

Balloon Animals – I believe most of us would agree that clowns can be a bit creepy. Instead find someone who can make balloon animals. You can even find tutorials on how to make balloon animals, flowers, swords, etc. to go with the theme of your party and have someone who would be willing to volunteer to make them.

273cca9cc799aeba8b66f540c752c21fGo Fish – Here’s another game idea that you can have for the kids that allows them to keep little treasures. Take a large blue blanket or sheet and set up a line between two trees or posts to drape it over. You can make fish cutouts (this would be a great pre-party activity if you have older kids) to tape onto the sheet for decoration. Use sticks you can collect from your own backyard for fishing poles. Tie a long piece of string to the end of the stick and a clothespin on the other end of the string. Have a basket of small toys which you can purchase these really cheap from party retail stores or even dollar stores such as little plastic animals or whistles. Give kids their own goodie bags and let them ‘go fish’ while an adult or older child clips a toy to the clothespin from behind the sheet. This is a better and far cheaper alternative than a piñata.

Carnival Games–  Think of your favorite carnival games and recreate them using things you already have around or can easily borrow from a neighbor or close relative. These are also great ideas if you choose to go with a carnival theme for the party. Some ideas are:

  • Races – sack race or three-legged race
  • Ring Toss
  • Bean bag toss

These games are fun, engaging and keep kids active (so they can burn off all that sugar from the cake and ice cream)

Indoor Kids Party Game Ideas

Sometimes the weather is not permitting for an outdoor party. If you are opting to host a birthday party indoors these are some ideas for entertaining the kids and keeping the party alive!

DIY puppets – This would be a great idea for the puppet show mentioned above if you don’t have any puppets. Hand out brown paper bags with crayons, markers, googly eyes, and other crafts at the beginning of the party for kids to create their own hand puppets. Allow them to sit and dry (if glue was used) during other festivities like cake and presents and afterwards let them put on their own puppet show. Best of all they can keep these handmade souvenirs as their party favors!

Pin the tailPin the Tail – This is a classic that never grows old and there are several different varieties that put a unique spin on it. For instance, my daughter is into unicorns and wants a unicorn-themed birthday party. I came across a ‘pin the horn on the unicorn‘ game that was perfect for her party, plus I can reuse it afterwards as a poster in her room.

Hot Potato – Ah there’s always the old hot potato game. You can play this with the kids using any object really that is suitable for tossing around. Put in a favorite CD and have the kids all sit in a circle passing the ‘potato’ around until the music stops. On that note- musical chairs would also be a great game for the kids as well.

Better Food and Refreshments Ideas

Kids parties are already full of sugar-loaded snacks. It’s a given that kids will have more than their fair share of sugar between generous helpings of cake and punch, but there are healthier ways to cut down on the excess sweets.

Instead of chips and dip that are greasy and full of fats try healthier alternatives such as veggie trays and pretzel sticks. Hummus makes a delicious healthy dip that provides a good source of protein. Make your own Chex Mix*. It will stretch further and costs less than buying multiple bags of the premixed variety plus it won’t have all the added salt and preservatives. Instead of adding more sweets with cookies and brownies, serve up delicious fresh fruit with yogurt for dipping.

If you have cookie cutters you can also make Jello Jigglers for a fun colorful snack. The Jell-O Box usually has the recipe for these on the back but generally you just prepare the Jello as your normally would according to the directions and pour into a lightly greased 13″ X 9″ pan to allow to set in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. Once it is set use your cookie cutters to cut out different shapes in the Jello all the way around the pan. You can carefully use your index finger or spatula.

*Chex Mix Recipe

  • 3 cups each of corn, rice, and wheat chex cereal
  • 2 cups pretzels
  • 1 cup nuts such as almonds or pecans
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Add cereal, pretzels, and nuts in a large microwave-safe bowl. In a smaller bowl combine oil, sauce and seasonings. Pour over the cereal mixture and mix until well coated. Microwave for about 6 minutes stopping every 2 minutes to stir thoroughly. Afterwards spread the mixture out on paper towels to cool. You can make this the day before the party and store in an air-tight container. For a gluten-free recipe simply use 9 cups gluten-free rice chex cereal and gluten-free pretzels.

Amazon ImageBeverages
Instead of serving up super-sweet punch or soft drinks that are unhealthy, serve up refreshing beverages that both kids and adults can enjoy. Try sparkling flavored water such as strawberry which you can add a few mulled fresh strawberries into for color and taste. You could also do fresh squeezed lemonade sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar (it dissolves better and you use much less)

There are many creative ideas for pulling off a kids birthday party whether you’re on a budget or want to go all out. The important thing is to focus on the birthday girl/boy and don’t sweat the small stuff. With these kids party ideas you can easily create a fun party that everyone can enjoy with healthy treats parents can appreciate.

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