Inexpensive Party Games for Kids

Inexpensive Party Games for Kids

It seems these days that the expense of throwing a child’s birthday party can get really out of hand. Theme and location parties are all the rage, but they also take a heavy hit on the wallet. Although kids certainly can enjoy these events, how about a shout out to some old fashioned inexpensive (or even free!) party fun? With a little planning, you can hold games for the kids that keep them engaged and leave your budget balanced.

1) Who Am I?

This is so simple, and yet can be such a riot. Think up names of famous people or characters that kids would recognize. I like to use cartoon characters, but any names they would recognize will do. Write these names on sheets of paper in large letters. Without letting the kids see the names, tape a sheet to the back of each child. The children are allowed to ask the other partygoers yes and no questions to figure out who they are. The first person who guesses their identity wins.

2) A Variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey

It’s a fun game, but even store purchased pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey games are pricey. Instead, draw a figure of your choice on a large sheet of paper. Then, draw and cut out something you can use to “pin” on your figure. For example, you could draw a princess and cut out crowns to pin on her, or a train and cut out cabooses to pin to the end of the train. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!

3) The Cotton Ball Game

This game requires two bowls, lots of cotton balls, a big spoon and a blindfold. Put all of the cotton balls in one bowl, with an empty bowl sitting next to the full bowl. Blindfold the first player and hand them a spoon. Have them try to move as many cotton balls from the first bowl to the second. Whoever can move the most cotton balls during their turn wins. Trust me, this one is much more challenging than it sounds!

4) Stuff the Union Suit

If someone you know has an old fashioned adult size union suit, or if you can purchase one inexpensively, this game is crazy fun! It works best if the union suit is much larger than your players. You’ll need to blow up multiple balloons—20 or so should work. Divide your group into two teams. The team will choose one person to wear the suit. You start a timer for 30 seconds or a minute, depending on the skill level of the children, and the children stuff as many balloons as they can into that suit until the buzzer goes off. Have the player wearing the suit remove the balloons as everyone counts them. Record the number of balloons and let the next team have a turn. Compare numbers of balloons to determine the winning team. The kids will want to play this one over and over!

Photo Credit: iClipart


6 Money Saving Ways to Throw a Birthday Party For Your Child

Frugal Birthday Party Tips

As you plan your child’s birthday party, you are probably all too familiar with the increasing levels of enthusiasm and excitement that can easily cause you to go overboard and over budget. With some careful planning and a bit of frugality, you’ll be able to throw a celebration to remember without going broke. Here are some things you can try:

1) Plan ahead.

Start thinking about your child’s birthday party about three months ahead of time. This is plenty of time for you to keep an eye out for relevant coupons, sales, and other great bargains for party-related items.

2) Join forces.

One way to cut costs is by sharing the expenses with someone else from the start. See if any of your child’s friends or cousins celebrate their birthday within days or weeks of each other, and consider throwing a joint celebration for them. It’s best to choose a friend within the same circle of friends so you can keep the guests to a minimum.

3) Time it right.

The best time to throw a party on a budget is between the main meals of lunch and dinner. By having your child’s party in the afternoon, you will only need to provide snacks and dessert items instead of heavier dishes.

4) Do it yourself.

A little creativity can go a long way. See what party-related tasks you can do on your own. Maybe you and your child can create the invitations instead of having them printed elsewhere. Get crafty and make your decorations. You could also forego those expensive store bought birthday cakes and bake your own!

5) Shop at discount stores.

Don’t underestimate the great party items you can get at discount stores. You can find decorations, favors, and even serving dishes at amazing prices. Try to search for things you can reuse for future parties and occasions.

6) Go generic.

Remember that products with licensed characters on them are often more expensive compared to the more generic characters. If your child has her heart set on a Barbie-themed party, compromise by purchasing one item with Barbie on it (such as the plates or the piñata), and purchase plain pink napkins, cups, and other party-related items.

Remember that throwing a birthday party for your child should be fun and not a burden. Always keep things in perspective and keep within budget!

Photo Credit: iClipart


Party Themed Glass Cake Domes $35 Shipped!

These gorgeous Glass Pedestal Cake Plates with Party Theme Domes regularly retail for $79.99, but you can grab one of these four styles – birthday candles, birthday party, cupcakes or happy birthday – for just $34.99 with FREE shipping! 


My Quadruplets’ Frugal Birthday!

As if it’s not frugal enough making four of my five kids share a birthday every year (they WERE all born two minutes apart!), I still look for ways to give them a great day as inexpensively as possible.

They had a birthday party for family and a few friends a couple of weeks ago before my Aunt Diana moved back to her beloved Pittsburgh.  She’s a college professor who works mostly online and she graciously moved down here three years ago to help out with the quads.  Now that they’ve started school she’s moved back home, but we couldn’t have the BIG FIVE celebration without her so we did it early.  Also thanks to Aunt Di the kids had a fabulously fun party at Triple Play, the local bouncy house, that she paid for by trading her time helping out with other birthday parties on a couple Saturdays.

Yesterday we had a small celebration at the school for them and I had planned to grab some cupcakes at Publix and be done with it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a buck each for them when I had everything needed to make them at home.  They were beautifully decorated and nicely packaged, but they were $5.49 for a package of six, I’d need four so $22 or $24 with tax – OUCH!  Instead I made two dozen for less than $3 from the stockpile.

I only had to add a couple more bucks to the $21 I saved on cupcakes to make these “sweet” goody bags!  I got the Crazy Bands for a dollar each awhile back and saved them for this purpose, the bag of filler candy from Walgreens for $4, a huge box of popcorn balls for $5, big box of ring pops for $4.50 and the bags themselves were 8/$1 a couple weeks ago at Walgreens.  To finish them off I printed out a sheet of labels that said Happy Birthday and had their names on them to seal the bags.  The kids had a blast and their classmates really enjoyed the goody bags!


List of Free Stuff for Your Birthday


Thursday is my birthday (I won’t say which one – only that I started counting backwards a few years ago) and I was trying to figure out what my husband might like to do for me 😉 when I stumbled upon a HUGE list of birthday freebies at Hey It’s Free.  Here’s a list of my faves (hint, hint honey):


Food & Restaurants


  • Acapulco – You’ll get a 100% free entree plus a free Guacamole right when you sign up.
  • Applebees – Free dessert. They also have a newsletter, but no word if it sends out a birthday coupon or not.
  • Atlanta Bread Company – They have a VIP eClub that you can sign up for, gaining you a free cookie on your birthday.
  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – They’ll send you monthly coupons all year long if you sign up for their newsletter, so it’s pretty safe to guess you’ll get a birthday treat.
  • Baskin Robbins – Get a free ice cream treat if you sign up for their Birthday Club.
  • Beef ‘O’ Brady’s – They’ll send you a coupon for a free appetizer.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Become a Chunk Spelunker and you can get some free ice cream!
  • Chicken of the Sea – Join their Mermaid Club and they’ll send you a free birthday gift. I’m just hoping it’s not a tuna-flavored cake or anything…
  • Chili’s – Free dessert if you join their club.
  • Coldstone Creamery – Join now and get a free creation on your birthday.
  • Country Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get not only a free meal on your birthday, but a free meal just for signing up!
  • Dairy Queen – Free ice cream coupon via e-mail for kids 16 and under. They also have a Blizzard Club for adults with the same offer.
  • Denny’s – Free original Grand Slam breakfast, but only on your birthday!
  • Fazoli’s – Join their eFamily and get a coupon for a free desert.
  • Fire Mountain – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get a free meal on your birthday.
  • Firehouse Subs – Sign up and get an email for a free sub.
  • Hard Rock Cafe – Free dessert
  • Krispy Kreme – Free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it! You might want to sign up ahead of time.
  • Logan’s Roadhouse – Join their Nut Club and get a coupon for a free slice of cheesecake. Sometimes they’ll sing for you as well.  (I’d take the cake without the song please)
  • O’Charley’s – Get $5 off any $20 food purchase.
  • Quizno’s – Join their mailing list and get a free cookie. You’ll also get a coupon for a free Sammie when you sign up.
  • Red Lobster – Their Overboard Club will send you a coupon for $5 off two adult entrees.
  • Ruby Tuesday – Free handcrafted burger of your choice.
  • Schlotzsky’s – Get a free sandwich if you sign up ahead of time.
  • Smoky Bones – Members of the Bones Club get a free meal or appetizer, not sure which.
  • TGI Friday’s – Free birthday dessert plus free appetizer just for signing up!
  • Waffle House – Join their Regulars Club and get a special coupon.
  • Wendy’s – Free kids meal for the little ones and a free frosty for us adults.
  • Zaxby’s – Join their Z-Mail club and you’ll get a coupon for a free meal, whether or not it’s your birthday! Kids can sign up here for their Kid Club and get not only a free meal, but a free cookie on their birthday!


Entertainment / Services / Other


  • Academy Sports & Outdoors – Sign up in advance and you’ll get a $5 gift card on your bday.
  • Aveda – Sign up at least 28 days before your bday and get a free Personal Blends Pure-Fume
  • Brunswick Bowling – Join the Bonus Zone and get a free game of bowling on your birthday.
  • Disney Movie Rewards – Get a code via e-mail for 25 Birthday Bonus Points.
  • Medieval Times – Sign up in advance and they’ll send you a free ticket (worth $53!) to one of their feast and tournaments.
  • Proctor & Gamble – They’ll send you a batch of BOGO coupons for various products. (I had no idea about this one!)

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