10 Budget Saving Party Ideas for Little People

By Jenn Taft

What can we do if we want to throw the kids a party to remember without breaking the bank? Check out our top ten tips.

It’s no secret that kid’s parties have the potential to be expensive and parents can currently be found spending an average of £191 on their children’s parties.

That’s a huge amount that, for some, can be hard to find.

1. You want a themed party? Rope in some help.

Animated films, TV shows and video games can make for great party themes for your child. Companies can charge a lot for such a theme, so you can try doing it yourself.

Take Frozen for example - you could rope in a relative to dress the part of a main character (check out eBay for adult Elsa and Anna costumes!), have the film's soundtrack playing for a good singalong and tailor all the party games to the film itself. Think marshmallow Olaf’s, pin the carrot nose on the snowman, and a make-your-own royal crown competition.

Want more ideas? Check out Red Tricycle’s round up of the most popular trends for party themes.

2. Make your own party bags.

I genuinely take a bit of pride in making my daughter’s party bags; the options of what to include are endless. Think paper colour-me-in party bags filled with puzzles, dressing up pieces, bubble mixture, little colouring in books, crayons and a pack of playing cards. Such items help to provide some great play time opportunities and all for around £2 a child. When you buy in bulk, from places like eBay and Amazon, the price will inevitably come right down.

3. Keep everything simple

Children can become overwhelmed by vast party decorations, and sometimes keeping it simple is key. You can pick up banners and packs of balloons for £1 each, and if you keep them then you can reuse them each year. Add some party plates and napkins of your child’s favourite characters from TV and film and you’ll have all the decorations you’ll need. All these things are available from your nearest supermarket.

Want to make it more personal? Why not make your own decorations. My littluns love crafts and making banners and streamers will keep them busy and give them something to be proud of on the big day.

4. Whilst we’re talking simplicity - if in doubt, check the numbers out

I once read that to save your child from becoming overwhelmed at their party you should invite the same number of friends as match the child's age. So, if they are turning five, invite five friends. That might not seem many but it does mean they will have enough focus to share amongst their guests.

That small handful of friends will probably mean more than inviting every person they have ever met, and will make for some great memories too.

5. Soft Play…at home!

Soft play is exceptionally popular. Your child gets to run around, climbing and bouncing off big foam furniture, ball pits and slides. What’s not to love? So think how impressed I was when I went to the party of a friend’s child to find she had brought soft play to her home! The company simply dropped off the equipment and picked it up when we were done. The kids loved it and it kept them entertained for hours. All for £50 for the afternoon. That’s a bargain when the same number of children in a soft play centre party could have cost roughly double that.

Do a Google search for ‘soft play for hire at home’ - this will bring up the local companies to you that hire out soft play.

6. Take them to school!

Many schools hire out their sports halls as a party venue and will throw in all the sports gear, bouncy castle and sound system. They’ll even help you source party food if necessary! For as little as £60 for a 2-3 hour party, you can bring the whole class with enough space for them to enjoy themselves! Check out your local council website to find the schools near you that are for hire.

7. Sleepover anyone?

Sleepovers never get old and can be great for your growing child. If you can stand a lot of giggling and a late night then a sleepover is a great idea. Getting everyone in their pjs, eating pizza, popcorn and ice cream whilst watching films is a relaxing and fun way to see in your kid's birthday.

And you can get everything you need from the local supermarket - winner!

8. Bouncy castle!

I think if you have a garden, and one will fit, then a bouncy castle party is a must at some point in your little person’s life. When theme park parties will lose you a month’s pay for just a handful of children, one bouncy castle is enough to bring the same happiness for around £80 for as many children as you like.

And if it rains? Buy a marquee; they can always be used again, or sold online to make your money back.


9. Make it a science experiment

I'm a physics teacher and when I found out science parties were a thing I was more than a little happy! You can hire in companies to do experiments with your child and their guests. You can even feel a bit smug that this option is more than a little educational as well as great entertainment. Even better, there is very little mess! That's music to any parents’ ears!

10. What can you make?

If your children are anything like mine they take huge amounts of joy from making things. You can go to shops to make chocolates, sweets, teddy bears or craft items, or you can arrange to do all these things at home. Just set up a kitchen table and help the kids work through the making together. They enjoy the process of making it and have something to take home for their efforts.

Still struggling for ideas? That’s where Pinterest becomes your best friend. It is a vast online creative encyclopaedia and will provide you with endless possibilities to help make a party brilliant for your child.

Lastly, if planning a party is a frightening thought then head to Mumsnet who will help you focus on all the key party areas and how best to tackle them.


Author bio: Jenn is a freelance writer and physics teacher from the West Midlands. She has a love of writing about personal finances, especially how they change when you become a parent, and enjoys the honesty that such writing brings. When not writing, teaching or being a mum, Jenn loves nothing more than indulging her love of hospital and police based documentaries, and cake.

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