Ever wonder how you can create a great party that is fun and safe for your children for less than $60 including gas? Here’s our kids party planning tips to make your next event a blast!

Considerations for age appropriate parties

  1. Invite a maximum of children to match the age of the child. An easy guideline is to invite only as many children as your child’s age, plus one. This keeps the party small with young children reducing the opportunity for them to be overwhelmed. Each year your child learns to emotionally handle a larger group of children.
  2. Have the child choose a theme. It makes your job easy (a favorite book, sport, movie, or a TV show. Then they can further help with the planning plus make decorations.
  3. Keep the party simple.
  4. Focus on structured group activities. Individual games focuses on a winner which leaves children out – maybe even the birthday child.
  5. Always ask parents about food allergies. And check our home party catering page for service ideas.

Ways to cut birthday party costs without cutting the party experience:

  1. Hold the party in your home
  2. Avoid traditional meal times by holding the party between 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and serve snacks & dessert.
  3. Bake your own cupcakes and let the kids decorate their own cupcake for a fun activity.
  4. Make and hand deliver your own invitations, or “be green” and send e-vites with an RSVP date.
  5. Resist hiring an entertainer or bouncy castle! Kids only remember the fun activities and birthday cake.
  6. Make it a family affair and ask family members plus the guests parents to assist with activities.
  7. Source theme decor from your own home first, then purchase the rest of supplies from economy stores.
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We chose a beach theme to counter against our snowy Calgary weather. Collect all your colourful beach towels to cover your party table and inflate all beach air mattresses and balls to decorate the party room.
Welcome each guest at the door with a lei and a tropical sun visor (can be part of their take home goody bag).
Encourage everyone to dress the theme (beach shorts, T shirts, flip flops, sun glasses and visors)

Simple party activity starters:

  1. Decorate the birthday cupcakes (while the children are calm) using an assortment of frostings and toppings.
  2. Do simple crafts (stickers, buttons with yarn, straw crafts, using little sea shells with beads and pebbles etc. Glue these onto mini frames or juice-cans. You can even use lids and add a magnet on the back.
  3. Save time and purchase simple craft kits for only $1-$2 at the numerous economy stores.

Games for children with energy:

  1. Fill balloons with small treasure based on your theme before you blow them up. For beach we used mini fish, wiggly worms, costume jewelry. The children then pop several balloons and gather their treasures. You can hang, hide or put them in a large garbage bag or box.
  2. Group hunting games (same as Easter egg hunts) This can be treats, treasure chest items or even a puzzle piece to a treasure map that all the children work collectively to put together.
  3. A circle dance of ”Hokey Pokey” works great and is completely non competitive.

Move into quiet games:

  1. Hand make Lei Necklaces made from yarn, drinking straws, and colored crinkled tissue paper.
  2. Simple relay races such as potato-on-spoon using a beach water toy.
  3. Pin the “crab on the beach”. No winner needed here too!
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Holding the party mid afternoon reduces the cost on food. Create a mock tail with juice and give it a beach name. Snacks can include vegetable sticks and dip, seasonal fruit kabobs, mini pita pockets or bagels and finish with the individually decorated cupcakes.


For less than $9, our goodie beach pail was equipped with a shovel had a snorkel face mask strapped to the outside of the pail and was filled with a house safe beach sponge ball, squiggly florescent worm, a motorized bathtub sail boat plus a colourful slinky. The children go home in their colourful foam visors (we collected a mixture sharks, butterflies, monkeys and pink flamingos) Always make a few more in case extra guests arrive – yes this often happens!


It is never too soon to teach etiquette to children. Create a list of the guests’ names before the party, and then jot down each gift beside the giver’s name as they are opened for thank you cards.
Take photos of the children dressed in theme or put them in front of a prop. Download the photo onto your computer and colour print them into thank you cards.

The party is a quick two hours, organized with a logical rhythm for child interest and safety and it was super inexpensive. Plus why not forget our Calgary snow for awhile and transport yourself to the beach? Happy Birthday!