Childrens Birthday Party Ideas

Use these childrens birthday party ideas to create the coolest birthday ever. Kids birthday parties are special celebrations, but they don’t need to break the bank! Choose more eco-friendly options for your birthday parties.

Updated June 21, 2024 by San Diego Beaches and Adventures

Cheap Birthday Card Ideas

Free birthday cards online – Save money by using free printable birthday cards and invitations online or go green with free e mail birthday cards and party invitations.

If you choose the free printable birthday cards online, you can buy white card stock and a box of envelopes at a local office supply store. I use the 4.25 x 5.5 inch size that works well for most invitations. (2-4 invitations per page). You can design them at home, and put on a thumb drive to print at a local office supply store such as FedEx Kinkos or Office Depot. You can also find many cute and funny printable birthday cards and invitations online.

There are websites with free templates for many different childrens birthday party ideas for cards, such as:

Photo birthday cards are another fun option. You can upload your own photo and print birthday invitations and birthday cards online. Costco photo center has some cheap options.

Birthday Party Decoration Ideas

Reusable decorations – Keep the “reduce, reuse and recycle” concepts in mind for childrens birthday party ideas for decorations too. For example, use mason jars as glasses, with colorful straws. Reuse the jars in your kitchen. Buy some cute fabric or a beach towel to use as a table cloth, then you can wash and reuse it for something else. I’ve purchased solid red placemats and serving trays that I’ve reused for birthday parties, Valentine’s day, 4th of July and Christmas parties. You can also buy a few nice mylar balloons and later deflate them and reuse them for another party. If you have a birthday banner, reuse it for next year.

Location theme - Take advantage of the location to minimize the need for party decorations, and to provide a theme. If you have a party at a local park with a nice canopy of trees and green grass, do you really need decorations? Same idea for a birthday at a theme park or local attraction. For specific children birthday party ideas, see our page on childrens birthday party themes.

Decorations that double as party favors - Another great tip for moms and kids birthday parties is to let your decorations double as party favors.

Decorations that double as craft, games and food - Kids love to do things, so make your decorations be the materials the kids will use during the party for crafts, games and food.

Keep reading for more childrens birthday party ideas.

Birthday Party Favor Ideas

One of the best childrens birthday party ideas is to not use junk birthday party favors, as the junk quickly gets thrown in the trash. The best birthday party favor ideas are to be creative, such as cute but healthy snacks that they will eat, and something that the kids helped make.

Ribbons – Reusable ribbons make great alternatives to balloons to add some flair to the birthday party. Girls can make their own fairy streamers to take home as a party favor.

Plants – if the season is right, have an outdoor garden party and explore the fun of plants. You can use small plants as table decorations that also become party favors. Choose fun flowers or edible plants that the kids will enjoy such as cherry tomato plants or strawberries.

Reusable sandwich or snack bags – Make your own or buy reusable sandwich or snack bags to be used as party favor bags. Fill with healthy snacks for the kids to eat on their way home from the party.

Knot tying – teach kids some outdoor skills such as knot tying and for a party favor they can take home a colorful cord with an emergency whistle, tied with some knots.

Treasure map – hunt for hidden or buried treasure with a treasure map. Leave up to 10 hidden clues along the way as they search for the hidden treasure. This works well in a large safe area like a park or green belt, safe from cars so they don’t run in front of a car. Treasure can include jewels (beads), gold coins (chocolate) and silver dollars. The kids can divide up the treasure as their party favors. Girls can make necklaces from the beads.

Blowing bubbles – It’s hard not to have fun blowing bubbles. Babies and toddlers love to watch and pop them, and older children love to see who can make the biggest bubble. You can make this a fun party game, and give bubbles away as a party favor too. Use coat hangers to make different shapes of bubble blowers. If you want to make your own eco-friendly bubbles, check out the recipe at

Kids Birthday Cake Ideas

Your birthday cake theme should follow your party theme. And of course you will choose your child's favorite flavor, whether is is chocolate cake or peppermint ice cream. But you don’t have to buy and expensive cake or spend hours decorating it perfectly – let the kids decorate it!

Make birthday cupcakes or small cakes and give them an assortment of icing and toppings and let them have some fun! Here are some ideas:

Doodle Cake - Bake your kids favorite flavor cake and ice with white frosting. Buy cake decoration in tubes or edible marker pens, and let them doodle and decorate the cake.

M&M Birthday Cupcakes - Those colorful candies make great cake decorations. Make cupcakes and give each kid their own cupcake to ice and decorate with M&Ms. You can also order customized M&M candies online to use as cake decorations and party favors.

Nature Cake - Decorate a cake with edible fruits, flowers, nuts or herbs, such as blueberries, nasturtium flowers, sunflower seeds or mint leaves. This makes a healthy way for kids to decorate birthday cupcakes.

Train Birthday Cake - One year a friend did a train themed birthday party and each child got to decorate a train car on the birthday cake that stretched the length of the table. Use cookies or candies as the wheels, and several different flavors of icing. The kids loved it!

Pigs Trough - Another friend gave the teenage boys a large Farrells style “pigs trough” full of ice cream, cupcakes, bananas and toppings in a huge bucket. They still talk about it as one of the coolest birthday cake ideas ever.

Here are some ideas on how to make themed birthday cakes for kids.

Baseball, Basketball or Football Cake - Use orange and brown Reese's Pieces candies to decorate a cake to look like a basketball or football. Or buy custom white M&Ms and make a baseball or softball cake.

Snake Cake - Make a bundt cake and cut in half. Assemble in a S shape and decorate with icing. Small candies or chocolate can form the stripes.

Toy Cake - Small toys can make great decorations for themed birthday cakes, such as rubber duckys, toy cars, My Little Pony, Sesame Street characters or superhero figures. Choose an icing color to compliment the theme and top with your decorations. Sprinkles add a nice flair for these themed birthday cakes.

Train or Tractor Cake - Use colored frosting and chocolate bars to decorate a cake for boys shaped like a tractor or train.

Edible Photo Cake - You can also take a photo to a local bakery and ask them to make an edible image. Your image can be a photo of your kids or their favorite character. If you prefer to bake your own cake, ask if you can just buy the edible icing photo and you can put in on your homemade cake.

You can also buy birthday cakes from a local baker. Here are some more kids birthday cake ideas:

Ice Cream Cakes - If your kid loves ice cream, why not choose an ice cream birthday cake from Cold Stone Creamery, Baskin-Robbins or your local ice cream store. You can go online and see some great kids birthday cake ideas.

Bundt Cakes - Some stores such as Nothing Bundt Cakes offer adorable bundt cakes for an alternative. I also like to make bundt cakes as home too, as they are easier to make as healthy cakes with less sugary icing.

Costco Bakery - Costco stores offer inexpensive cakes that can be pre-ordered for your party, or picked up at the last minute.

More Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

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Childrens Birthday Party Themes

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