6 Out-of-the-Box Ideas to Celebrate a Kid's Birthday Without a Party

mom and daughters celebrating birthday

By the time you've sent out invitations, bought all the food, prepared activities, and stuffed the goody bags, not only are you exhausted, but you're an easy $500 in the hole for planning that elaborate kids' birthday party. Not to mention you have to buy an actual gift for your little guest of honor, which will set you back some more. So put an end to the lavish, 30-something guest list and pony ride parties, and do something different instead.

We consulted with other moms to see what alternative birthday parties they've thrown for their kids so you can avoid the stress of party planning while still celebrating the special day. Here are 6 unconventional kids' birthday party ideas you can try out yourself:


1. Go "away" for the day. If you can't afford a cross-country vacation, not to worry. Offer your child this option: you can rent a hotel room in your city, spend all day at the on-site pool, order room service, and stay up late watching whatever's on TV. They can choose the activities, meals, and movies to make it even more customized.

2. Princess Day. Make the day even more all about the birthday girl. Tell them that you, and the rest of the family, will do everything she wishes all day long. Within reason, of course. No one will actually run out and build her that ice castle.

3. Go sporty. Rent a box at a baseball game or get a few seats in the nosebleeds (an average afternoon game will run you just about $20 per person). Let your kid invite a couple friends (and maybe their parents if you're feeling especially wild) and enjoy a game. Buy some hot dogs and popcorn for some munchies.

birthday party balloons

4. Check town events. Maybe your child's birthday coincides with the county fair or an annual festival. Multiple moms recommend making a day of it. Plus, it's all pre-planned for you. There's food, activities, and refreshments. Plan a budget ahead of time and then go wild. 

5. Get science-y. One mom's genius idea brings some unexpected education to the party: what about throwing a "mad scientist party with a science show and science experiments" performed by the parents? Invite a couple friends over, do the classic Diet Coke and Mentos trick, and blow up some marshmallows in the microwave. Cheap supplies for tons of fun.

6. Get to hunting. Plan an extensive scavenger hunt around the home for the birthday kid and a couple friends. Get them digging in the backyard (for the paleontology part of the party, naturally) and send them clue after clue until they reach the final one. If you're feeling especially creative, get some rhymes in there or a few tricky riddles to make it more devious. Sure, it's still at home, but they get to invite a couple friends and make an entire event out of it.

Have you ever had an out-of-the-box birthday party for your kids? How did they like it?


Images © Odilon Dimier/Corbis; ©iStock.com/marconofri 

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