Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

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We threw Big A a Little Blue Truck second birthday party using free Little Blue Truck decorations we printed out. He’s obsessed with vehicles of all kinds and the books are a big hit in our house. The birthday boy had the best time. He was excited to see his his family, friends, and favorite truck all in one place. Putting this party together was easier than his first birthday because I wasn’t a newbie anymore. We threw a inexpensive birthday party so there was no anxiety about upcoming credit card statements.

Read on for some cost-cutting ideas. Happy birthday to us, caregivers! It’s not like they’ll remember where you got the food.


Make A List, Neurotically Check It

Start planning the party six weeks before it’s thrown. Being unprepared will literally cost you (and not just your sanity). I make a list of all the things I know the real adults in my life have, like folding chairs and tables, coolers, serving dishes, etc. We arrange to borrow them the week before the party, if we didn’t, someone would be sprinting to Wal-Mart for a cooler. Or sour cream. Or balloons. You know what I mean. Make lists of guests, food, party favors, games and check items off when you acquire them. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete for the party along with the times you need to get them done by. Check things off like the bad ass you are.

Throw a Toddler Birthday Party on the Cheap Pinterest Graphic

Location, Location, Location

We threw our party in our backyard. If that’s not possible consider a local park or playground (bonus entertainment! less to spend on games!) or even indoors. Downside to indoor parties is the nagging obligation to clean the domicile for incoming guests. We’re focusing on inexpensive, not less labor-intensive.


Inexpensive Theme

You’re picking a theme your kid likes, right? Then I bet you probably have all kinds of corresponding stuff in your house. We put Big A’s Little Blue Truck books on the tables as centerpieces. We printed out the Little Blue Truck decorations from a free printable pack. Big A’s riding cars, bubbles, and other outdoor toys were set around the yard. You can even make inexpensive sensory slime to keep little hands busy.

Toddler happy with his new train hat

Guest List

We have a large family so cutting down on the guest list is a bit harder for us to do. But I did read that when children are older a good rule of thumb is invite as many friends as the child’s age (five friends for a fifth birthday and so on). We try to be as creatively frugal as possible with food and decorations so not to worry as much about the guest list.

Just Send The E-Vite. No One RSVP’s Anyway

The Kitchen Is Closed

Schedule the party between two and five so no one expects dinner.

Party Food ready for the party

Cuz You’ve Spent The Last Three Days Baking In It

Hands down, it’s cheaper to make rather than buy the food you serve. We served cookies, Kix Crispy Treats, chips, veggies, and cupcakes. I made dips for the chips and veggies: traditional ranch, vegan avocado ranch, and walnut pate. We put cut vegetables in an old Dollar Tree tray. We filled up the cooler with bottled water and offered various flavors of mix-in packets. I bought the cupcakes, chips, ingredients for the treats and dip, and spent no more than $40. I wrote down what needed to be ready by what time with what ingredients. That helped me avoid procrastination and decrease the stress of it all.


Stay Away From The Party Supply Stores

You can get streamers, paper decorations, themed items, paper plates, flatware, cups, serving dishes, party favors, favor bags, party hats, whistles, candy, water flavoring packets, baking ingredients, games, activities, even outdoor lights at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. The party supply stores are charging us for (and taking advantage of ) of our all-too-human desire to look good on Instragram. Resist.

What are your favorite birthday party memories? Tell me about it below. In the space provided.

Simple Party Decorations Cheap Toddler Birthday Party Ish Mom

Megan

Megan

Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She lives in the Midwest with her wonderful husband, three boys, and a bunch of corn. She’s a voracious reader and a life-long recipient of questioning looks.
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