6 Fun Kids’ Birthday Activities that Cost Less than $50

Jul 24, 2023 | Budget-Friendly Celebrations

These days, kids’ birthday parties have become so extravagant (we’re looking at you, Kardashian clan) that it can sometimes be difficult to keep a perspective on what’s truly needed for a successful children’s party.

Sure, 30-foot balloon garlands and cotton candy machines are awesome, but before luxury perks like those became commonplace at kids events, birthday parties had whatever balloons your aunt bought at Kmart and a store-bought ice cream cake—and they were just as fun.

Despite the impression you might get from Kim K’s Instagram feed, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to throw a fun and memorable kids birthday party.

We’ll prove it. Here’s a roundup of six fun, kid-approved activities that cost $50 or less.

1. Cookie Decorating

Cookie decorating is an inexpensive activity that kids’ will love because it allows them to get creative and messy in the kitchen.

You could opt to buy a cookie decorating kit like this one, which costs $39.99, and comes with 24 unfrosted cookies, frosting, and sprinkles, or you could DIY your own kits.

What you’ll need:

  • Plain sugar cookies (buy them pre-made or bake them yourself)
  • Frosting
  • Sprinkles
  • Small paint brushes and toothpicks for spreading the icing
  • Squeeze bottles or piping bags and tips (Optional)

2. “Just Add Water” Games

Children’s games don’t have to be complicated to be fun. Many of the games kids like best are simple ones where they can get messy or wet, which is why “just add water” games like a water balloon toss remain a birthday party staple.

Obviously, these games work best outdoors, but with a little planning, you might be able to do some of these indoors as well.

Our favorites are:

  • Water balloon toss
  • Water balloon dodgeball
  • Sponge relay
  • Spray bottle tag
  • Sprinkler limbo
  • Water sensory bins
  • Bobbing for apples
  • Water painting
  • Drip, Drip, Drop! (like “Duck, Duck, Goose” but with a plastic cup of water)
  • Pool noodle boat racing

3. “Just Add Balloons” Games

Like with water games, every game is more fun when you add a balloon or two! Plus, you won’t need to go shopping for special balloons, because you can just reuse the ones you purchased for the decorations.

Some inexpensive balloon games and activities are:

  • Balloon stomp
  • Balloon waddle races
  • Balloon keep up
  • Balloon and spoon race (Like an egg race, but with a giant spoon and a balloon)
  • Balloon hot potato
  • Balloon popping treasure hunt (put tiny toys inside the balloons and then blow them up. Hide the balloons around the party space for kids to find during the “treasure hunt”. Kids get to enjoy trying to pop the balloons to get their prizes).

5. Crafts that Double as Party Favors

If you’re looking to cut costs on your birthday party, one clever way to do this is to plan a craft activity that will pull double duty and also serve as a cute take-home party favor.

Some inexpensive craft ideas include:

  • Party hat decorating
  • T-shirt decorating
  • Bracelet making
  • DIY slime

6. Dress-up Corner or Selfie Station

For young kids, set up a dress-up corner with costumes that match your party’s theme. If you plan ahead, you can save a lot of money by buying costumes from a party store the day after Halloween, but you can also shop at thrift stores, too. The more creative you can get with your idea of what fits your theme, the cheaper this will be.

For example, a cape can easily transform an inexpensive dress into a princess dress, and some hot-glued sea shells from the dollar store can morph a plain green skirt into a mermaid tail. Or buy a selection of fairy wings for just $3 each.

Substitute the words “dress up” for “take selfies,” and you have yourself a selfie station for tweens or teens. Buy inexpensive props, such as silly glasses or cute tiaras. This article details how to create a stunning DIY selfie station.

7. Skip the Activities and Go with a Cool Venue Instead

Sometimes the coolest birthday party “activities” aren’t really specific activities at all, but, rather, a really fun or unique birthday party venue.

For example, if you opt to host your party at a trampoline park, water park, arcade, or indoor playground, you won’t need to plan any activities because the venue is, in essence, one giant activity. Sure, venues typically cost more than $50 to rent, but what you spend on venue renting, you’ll save on costs associated with activity planning.

Want More Ideas? Two Balloons Can Help

Two Balloons is the ultimate party planning directory that has everything you need to plan an epic kids’ birthday bash, including a list of local venues, vendors, and more.

Start your search today and throw a birthday party your child will remember for decades to come.


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