Low cost parties that are loads of fun!
4 Summer Kids Party Ideas
by Katrina Wharton
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Summer birthday parties can be fun without busting your budget. Most needed items can be found at home or at a dollar store. The budget is based on supplies for ten guests; figure food costs separately.
Decorations: Since you'll be outside, keep these simple with balloons and lawn chairs.
Activities: Have a water balloon war or play water balloon dodgeball. Play tag with a twist. Have them tag other players by hitting them with a wet sponge. Create a generic (and bigger!) slip and slide area with plastic sheeting, a sprinkler and baby shampoo.
Crafts/Gift Bags: Goodies can include squirt guns, sunglasses, and beach/water themed treats and toys.
Food: Bring juice boxes or bottles of water as well as finger foods like sandwiches, fresh fruit, and cupcakes decorated like beach balls.
Sprinkler (if you don't have one or can't borrow one) $8-20
Squirt guns $10-30
Water balloons $1
Plastic sheeting $8
Baby shampoo $1
Decorations: Use markers, bulletin board cut-outs, and stickers to embellish a poster with the words Happy Bee-Day! Have guests sign and decorate the poster. Get a bug-themed tablecloth or use green crepe streamers for grass. Hang bumblebees and butterflies from the ceiling with fishing line; make insects from foam board.
Activities: Play pin the bee on the flower. Hide plastic bugs in a container filled with rice dyed green and have the children pluck them out with tweezers. Give out bug tattoos. Provide guests with small clear containers to decorate as bug jars and then send them to hunt for real or hidden plastic insects. Play buzz off tag with a fly swatter.
Crafts/Gift Bags: Make or buy antennae headbands. Give bug-themed stickers, pencils, and novelties in the gift bags, as well as magnifying glasses.
Food: Make a cupcake caterpillar. Kids can crush graham crackers as dirt topping for iced cupcakes, and then let them add gummy worms or bugs. Serve bug juice for drinks. You could order live ladybugs and have the kids take them home in their bug catchers to release in their gardens or yards.
Magnifying glasses $7
Plastic bugs $1
Bug stickers $2
Bug tattoos $3
Make own bug jars or buy kit $14
Fly swatter $1
Pipe cleaners $2
Foam board $5
Green crepe paper or tablecloth $3
Poster board $1
Wild West Party
Decorations: Red and white checked tablecloth, white balloons with black marker-made cow print, and a bale of hay set the scene. You can add a green foam board cactus, cowboy boots, and horse decorations. Mason jars with flowers make great centerpieces. You could add a refrigerator box jail with cut out bars for photo opps.
Activities: Set up a "barrel race" with stick ponies. Roast hot dogs, corn on the cob, and marshmallows over a fire. Pan for gold (candy coins, gold-painted rocks, or pennies) in a container full of sand and water using a pie pan with holes. Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, play brand the cow.
Crafts/Gift Bags: Give children cowboy hats to personalize with fabric paint. Tie up party favors in bandanas and include assorted items, such as plastic farm figures, rubber snakes, harmonicas, and sheriff badges.
Food: Besides the fire-cooked items, you can add baked beans, chips, chili, and trail mix. Make a cow print cake with black spots on white icing.
Stick ponies (2) $6+
Sherriff badges $4
Cowboy hats $10
Decorations, tablecloth and gift bag goodies all from dollar store.
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Go Fish Party
Decorations: Blue and white balloons to resemble bubbles and tin cans with bait (gummy worms) and real fish bowls set the theme.
Activities: Have the party at a pond, lake, or creek to allow for real fishing with simple kid-friendly gear and plenty of adult helpers. Or set up a kiddy pool with fish fitted with paper clips and magnet "hooks" on dowel fishing rods. Play "go eat worms" by having kids keep hands behind back and eat gummy worms from a toy fishing pole. Thread fish beads onto fishing line for necklaces. Play Fish, Fish, Shark!
Craft/Gift Bag: Give out fish tattoos, stickers, and related baubles. Include bubbles in the bag and mini bobbers. With prior permission, you could give out real goldfish or Betas as gifts and have them on display as living centerpiece.
Food: Serve goldfish crackers, plus sandwiches on fish-shaped bread. PBJ or tuna salad are options. Birthday cake can be simply painted blue with icing waves and Swedish fish. Drink blue punch with fish-adorned straws.
Fish bowl centerpiece $1
Gummy worms $4
Dowel rods $3
Fishing line $1
Kiddy pool $10
Real goldfish (10) $3
Reviewed May 2017
Take the Next Step:
- Which of these party ideas will you use? Or are you thinking of something that you create yourself?
- Discover more fun, affordable tips and ideas for children's parties in the Dollar Stretcher Library.
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