Note: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate relationship include, but are not limited to Bluehost, Constant Contact, Tailwind, and Amazon.

When my first child turned One, I went crazy doing it up for the first birthday party. Everything was from scratch. I am talking decorations, photo booth, big guest list. I killed myself doing all this for a Birthday Party. Mostly because that is what I saw my friends and family doing and also that is what I saw when I looked on social media. Fast forward a few years….now, I opt for a low key and stress free, simple and easy kids birthday party.

Now, the question I ask myself is WHY, why did I put myself through all the stress, worry, and downright ridiculous birthday shenanigans?? I can tell you why. Something I like to call Pinterest Perfection.

My Idea Of Being a Good Mom

If you are not sure what that is, let me explain. Pinterest Perfection is those picture perfect, not a item out of place, over the top, all from scratch, planed for a year, party picture pins. You know the ones. You look at it in your feed and think WOW. I love that. There are thousands of them.
After spending a fair bit of time researching a kids birthday party you can feel pretty guilty that your party may not live up to the hype created by these perfect settings. I know I did. I had a ton of anxiety with my first child in creating the perfect birthday party. One that my friends and family would be happy with. One that was decked out with goodie bags, events, art, photo booth, from scratch cakes, food and a theme that was fun. Honestly, I. Was. EXHAUSTED.
Looking back, I think to myself, what happened? It is not like me to try to keep up with the Jones’s. The only answer I have is Pinterest Perfection and equating the creation of a perfect party to the feeling I was a good mother. What can I say, as a first time mom I was SUPER insecure.
Yes, I know it was not healthy at all. But I think we are all guilty of trying to confirm we are being good mothers. It can feel so lonely even surrounded by a ton of people. Mother’s worry – Am I doing it right, will they be OK, will they succeed, will we survive?? That and a thousand more questions swirl around in our mom brains.
I really learned a ton of good lessons with my first and was able to apply them to my second. Thank goodness! One of them was doing a very low key and stress free birthday party for younger kids. This has been a huge sanity saver and way more frugal way to celebrate!!
Making a fun, low cost party that is stress free is possible. I can show you how!

Tips to Create A Manageable, Low Key Kids Birthday Party


Here are some wonderful ways to have a great party that is easy to manage, stress free and low key. Your kids will love it no matter what because they love you and just want to be with their family. Remember that they do not need you to spend hundreds on their party to show them how much you love them!


Limit the presents you give. I follow this simple guide when picking out presents. I also ask them to donate one of their older toys too. It is a great way to make sure the toys in their room or play room will be kept in check. 
  • a book,
  • something they want,
  • something they need


Ask friends and family to do the same! Or you can opt for them to donate to a cause that is near and dear to your (or when your child is older their) heart. The other option is to ask them to donate to their 529 college fund. This is a great way to get money towards college instead of for more toys they do not need. Plus, there is the added bonus of a potential tax break for the person donating. (obviously it depends on the rules in your state and each person donating should discuss this with their tax advisory)


Find somewhere easy and inexpensive to host it. I like to host it at home or a Grandparents home. Kids can have just as much fun there. Plus. it is less stressful than trying to research somewhere to go. In this day and age it is not uncommon to have it at a place that charges $300 (or more) to host. With two kids that would be over $600 a year. Rather than spend that hard earned dough on that, we but it in their 529 accounts.

IF you must host it somewhere else, look for locations that are free or low cost. I have hosted at my neighborhood park, a bowling alley, petting zoo, and the local splash pad for example.

Find a way to combine shindigs. If siblings birthdays are close (in date and age) do one joint party. You may have to have two mini themes or ask that they agree on one combined theme. In past years we did a monster truck / princess party and one year we did a cars party. Both kids agreed on that theme. This is a huge time saver. You can get the family together one time, plan one party, and save money in the process.
Offer an experience instead of a traditional party. I have used a free hotel night at a nearby hotel so my oldest could go swimming at the indoor pool. It was the best because it was just a fun time and I did not have to plan anything! You could offer to take them to a special museum, park, or fair in place of a party. This is a great way to commemorate a birthday without doing a big party.
Look to buy plates, silverware, napkins etc at the dollar store. This dollar store savings hack has, saved me a TON of money over the years. I may buy very simple solid color plates or ones that say Happy Birthday. No one cares what you serve the food or cake on.
Make the theme generic if you are looking to save big bucks. For example I have done a Thomas the train party and we used blue and red plates, napkins and balloons. Then I went online and printed out some color Thomas and Friend’s pictures and hung them around. Simple, easy, and inexpensive.
Easy to do party tips that will save your sanity at your kids next birthday party.

Food and Fun Low Key Kids Birthday Party

You can buy a cake to save time. It is OK if you do not want to bake a cake (but if you do, this is MY favorite recipe). Buy one from Costco, Kroger, your local baker. Save the hassle. But, if this is the one way you want to contribute to your child’s party, then make it!
Here are examples of cakes I made – they are simple and I did not stress over how they looked! But let me tell you they tasted AMAZING. And really that is all that matters….amiright??!!
Here are examples of cakes I have made in the past. Simple and easy!
Have a simple plan for goodie bags. If there are not a ton of kids do a small goodie bag. More than 5 kids skip it and give them a coloring book / book, chalk, bubbles, small bag of candy from Dollar Store. This is an easy way to save money and work!
Make the food menu simple. Listen, no one is going to judge you if you order pizza and a salad. Make it easy on yourself!


Go Minimal on the decorations.  I usually just do a few balloons, streamers, posters I print from the internet and noise makers. I can find this all from the local dollar store. Decorations do not have to break your bank. A plus is minimal decorations means minimal clean up. I let the kiddos take home the balloons and noise makers.


Limit the guest list. When they are under 7, I recommend only family under 4 close family (grandparents / siblings / parents). For kids 7 and over having friends too is a good idea. You do not need to invite the whole class, just a few friends is OK.
Use free apps or email to send invites. You can use free software to create your invite and email or text it. Try Canva, Pic Monkey, Punchbowl, Evite, or Paperless Post.
Don’t Make it an all day affair. Keep party time to a few hours, not only is it too much excitement for your kid, it can be a little too much stress hosting everyone for you. No need to use your entire day to hold a birthday party.
Ask guests to help. This is a big one if you are trying to keep your stress level down. Ask friends or family to:
  • Bring food,
  • make the goodie bags,
  • help clean up,
  • write their address on thank you envelopes, etc.

This is especially important if you have really little ones in your home. The more help the better. You deserve a break not a nervous breakdown!

Save yourself a ton of money by using these kids birthday party tips!


Use a checklist. One way that I limit my stress is by making a simple step by step plan that I can follow. I created a checklist which helps me remember everything that needs to be done. It allows me to track my progress and makes me feel better when I am not sure where I am in the process. You can use it for your party too!

With this free printable stress free kids birthday party checklist you will have no problems getting your little ones party planned.

With this free and simple to use check list your next kids birthday party will be a snap to plan.


Remember to Save this plan for a Low Key Kids Birthday Party!

 Want to save this post for later or share with someone you know who is struggling to plan their kids next party? PIN IT!
Download this free printable kids birthday party checklist and ensure that your next party is low key and stress free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *