7 Super-Cheap Ideas for Your Toddler’s Birthday Party

7 Super-Cheap Ideas for Your Toddler’s Birthday Party

No, you don’t need to shell out big bucks for a super awesome, memorable birthday bash.

By: Nicole Fabian-Weber

These days, it seems like toddler birthday parties have gotten rather ... elaborate. From fancy, professionally done invitations to ginormous rented bouncy houses, long gone are the days of a boxed cake and a few balloons. But, of course, we all want to have a little more fun than a boxed cake and a few balloons when celebrating such an important milestone, now don't we?

Looking to throw your sweet munchkin a creative, memorable birthday bash without breaking the bank? Here, seven super cheap ideas for your toddler's birthday party.

1. Get a face painter. I actually plan on doing this for my daughter's third birthday. I'm going to have a small party for her with some of her friends, and wanted something that would make it a little more special. Enter the face painter. After some Internet searching, I've found a few people in my area who are available at an affordable price, but a friend gave me a bigger money-saving idea: Have a family member or friend do the painting! No, it won't be as "professional looking," but it's highly unlikely that a bunch of 3-year-olds are going to file complaints.

2. Have a make-your-own pizza party. Two things kids love are pizza and cooking "by themselves." A cheap, fun way to incorporate the two? Have the kiddos make their own pizza/lunch! Buy a few balls of dough from your local pizzeria, pick up toppings, and let the kids go to town! They'll love being in control of what goes on top of their pizza.

3. Pick a theme and have your party at a local park. No need to shell out big bucks to rent a venue (or have 10 toddlers destroy your lovely home) -- have your little one's birthday party at a park if weather permits. Not only is it free, let's get real here: There are few things little kids love more than running around outside. In order to jazz things up a bit and not have it be so generic, have the birthday boy or girl pick a theme. No need to go crazy, though. For instance, if your child loves taxi cabs, get some yellow balloons and party supplies and splurge on a "taxi cab" cake.

4. Screen a movie in your backyard. This one involves being somewhat tech-savvy (or knowing someone who's tech-savvy), but the kids will be delighted to gather 'round and watch a flick outside. Get some blankets, pillows, and beanbag chairs if you have them, so everyone can huddle up for a film. You can either bring your television to your backyard, or, if you're feeling more adventurous, search around for a business that rents projectors. This is best done in the evening, and of course, with lots of popcorn.

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5. Recreate your child's favorite book. Most kids have a favorite story. You know, the one they want you to read again and again and again and again. Bring the book to life by weaving parts of the story throughout the party. For instance, you can have your child dress up as the main character, and provide the food he or she eats in the book. Get creative! Your little one will love living out her most cherished tale.

6. Create a scavenger hunt. Best left for older toddlers, a scavenger hunt party is sure to be a hit with the kiddos. Keep it simple by hiding a few easy-to-find objects around the house and yard. All you really need to provide is a few bags for everyone to go "hunting" with.

7. Have a make-your-own candy party. If dessert is more your child's thing than pizza (tough choice!), invite a few of his friends over to make chocolate, candy apples, or even lollipops! You'll only need to shell out money for the ingredients and the kids will go wild over eating their sweet treats.

What did you do for your toddler's birthday?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and an equally sweet baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications.

Image ©iStock.com/nelsonarts

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