20 ideas to help you throw the perfect kids’ party at home

Your one-stop guide to planning a stress-free kids’ party without blowing the budget

My child is approaching 3 and I don’t think I can afford the bill. Her presents are the least of my worries. For the past few months, we’ve been touring parties hosted by rent-a-princesses and superheroes who know how to keep 20 kids entertained for an hour. Great, I thought, we’ll get one of those… then I did the research.

£200+ for the entertainment, plus the cost of hiring the venue, buying invites, sourcing food and filling party bags. We could go on a family holiday for the same amount and have spare change leftover for cocktails. Plus, we wouldn’t have to watch Billy from nursery going mental after too many Fruit Shoots.

So, I’m looking for a different way. Here are 20 great ideas to help you plan a kids’ party at home. Browse by theme to find suggestions for simple outfits, invites, games, food, and party bag fillers. You’ll still have to watch Billy face-planting to the Baby Shark song… but at least you can run far away on holiday afterward.

Pirate theme

1) Easy outfit ahoy!

What you’ll need: black paper, sticky tape, white pencil crayon or paint, scissors

What to do:

1. Help your child draw the shape of a pirate’s hat on black paper.
2. Then they cut it out.
3. Now they draw or paint on a skull and crossbones.
4. Cut a strip of black paper and tape it to the size of their head.
5. Help them tape the hat to the strip so they can wear it.
6. Now make the eye patch! Measure a strip of paper that’s long enough to fit around your child’s head.
7. Fold the strip in half and help your child to cut a semi-circle, stopping halfway up the strip. This is the part that will cover one eye.
8. Now cut along the strip to make it thinner.
9. Finally, tape it so it fits your child’s head.
10. Find a stripy top and tie a lightweight scarf around your child’s neck to complete the look! ARR!

2) Great game: Last pirate standing: a swashbuckling indoor party game!

Set out chairs, but make sure there’s one fewer chair than players. Play some sea shanty-style music and have the kids dance like pirates until the music stops. Last one standing is out! Repeat with a chair being removed each time, until one pirate remains.

3) Last minute DIY invite: Island invitation: a piratey DIY invite that kids can make.

What you’ll need: blue paper, yellow paper, scissors, glue, black pens, stickers

What to do:

1. Cut out island shapes from yellow paper (layer sheets of paper and cut 5 at a time to keep it speedy) and write the party details on each island.
2. Now your child can stick the islands onto blue invite-sized pieces of paper. Then, they can draw sharks, ships, and whales in the ocean, and use stickers to decorate.

4) Fun party bag filler: Try these budget-friendly gifts and send everyone home with treasure!

Take a look at these pirate loot ideas from the 5 Minute Fun shop:

Fun fillers Fancy Gem Rings – pack of 6 for 88p

Neon Plastic Rings – Pack of 12 for 88p

Fun Fillers Mini Prism Scopes – Pack of 6 for 88p

Sweet Shop Scented Eraser Rings – Pack of 6 for £1.25

5) Party snack: Seadog snacks: serve some arr-mazingly tasty treats!

What you’ll need: melon, apple, orange, cheese, cocktail sticks

What to do:

1. Slice the fruit into boat shapes.
2. To make the sails, cut cheese into small rectangles.
3. Now you can help your child to stick the fruit and cheese together and build some boats! Let’s set sail, me hearties!

Space theme

1) Easy outfit from out of this world!

What youll need: coloured card, scissors, tape, straws, wool

What to do:
1. Cut out card hands with extra-long alien fingers.
2. Stick on lengths of wool so you can tie them loosely around your little one’s wrists.
3. Cut out an alien-shaped mask, including eye holes.
4. Finally, make some extra card googly eyes and stick them to straws on top of the mask!

2) Great game: We’re Going On A Moon Rock Hunt: a fun party game that’ll make your kids (moon) rock stars!

What youll need: foil

What you do:

1. It’s easy peasy! Scrunch foil into fist-sized balls to make moon rocks.
2. Hide them around the party room, and see if your little one and their friends can find them all!

(Extra points if they can pretend they’re on the moon and walk everrr sooo slowlyyy!)

3) Last minute DIY invite: Please Comet To My Party: space-themed party invitations that rock!

What youll need: chunky rocks and stones, paint and paintbrush, glue, glitter

What you do:

1. To make your party invitations look like they’re written on meteors, simply write all the party details on the chunky rocks. (If you’re struggling to paint the details, write them all on a small note and stick it to the rock instead.)
2. Glue on a sprinkling of glitter to make them really cosmic!
3. Hand deliver them to all your little one’s friends! (Don’t post them – it’ll cost you the earth!)

4) Fun party bag filler: Astronaut SOS Packs: party bag ideas for your little space explorers!

There are plenty of brilliant space-themed party bag fillers on the 5 Minute Fun shop, but we think the Shooter Discs and Prism Scopes are perfect for battling aliens and finding new worlds!

Shooter Discs – Pack of 6 for £1.13

Prism Scopes – Pack of 6 for 88p

5) Party snack:
Fruity Kebab Rockets: healthy yummy party snacks that are ready for take-off!

What youll need: strawberries, bananas, apple, wooden kebab skewers

What you do:

1. Thickly slice the bananas and strawberries, and cut simple rocket flames out of the apple.
2. Starting with the apple, alternate the strawberry and banana slices, finishing with the top of strawberry to make an edible rocket!

Superhero theme
1) Easy dress-up, Na, na, na, na, Batman! Simple mask make.

What you need: black card, pipe cleaners, scissors, tape

What to do:

1. Hold the piece of black card up to your child’s face and mark where their eyes are.
2. Copy this example to draw a bat mask shape.
3. Now your child can snip it out – help them with the eye holes.
4. Then they can tape a pipe cleaner to each side to hold it on.

Pair with a black top, black leggings, and a black cape (a pillowcase works well).

2) Great game: Tin foil terror! Get your little ones to save the day!

What you’ll need: tin foil, tongs, buckets

What to do:

1. Scrunch up lots of tin foil balls and scatter around the living room or garden
2. Tell the kids that a supervillain has dropped poison everywhere and they need to pick it up to save the day!
3. Give each child a tong for them to pick up each ball with and drop in the buckets provided.
4. You could set a time limit and give a prize to the child who collects the most tin foil.

3) Last minute DIY invite: Superhero mask invites: give an invite that kids can wear to the party.

What you’ll need: superhero masks (either buy a pack or snip the shape from card – you can make a pile of about 5 to speed up the cutting), and felt tips. You will need elastic and tape if you’re making your own.

1. Simply give the superhero masks to your child so they can colour and decorate the front.
2. Then, write the party details on the back.

4) Fun party bag filler: Send kids home with a heroic gift!

We love these mini notepads from Baker Ross (£2.45 for 8)

And these foam stickers, £2.95 for a pack of 120

5) Party snack: Mighty hammer! Make a Thor hammer with cheese.

What you need: straight pretzels, cheddar cheese

What to do:

1. Cut cheddar cheese into rectangle hammer shapes
2. Push each rectangle on to the top of a pretzel stick
3. Now you have an edible Thor hammer!

Unicorn theme

1) Easy dress-up: be a unicorn! A costume for any little one loves sparkles and rainbows.

What you’ll need: scissors, tape, glue, a peg, ribbon, lots of coloured wool, coloured card and silver foil.

What to do:

Unicorn horn:

1. Roll card into a cone shape and stick.
2. Wrap silver foil around it. Get your kid to stick on coloured wool in a spiral around it the horn.
3. Glue on a long piece of ribbon and tie under your child’s chin.

Colourful mane:

1. Ask your child to roll foil into a long tail shape.
2. Twist colourful wool around it and tape into place.
3. Attach it to the back of your kid’s top.

Swooshy tail:

1. Put together long pieces of coloured wool.
2. Ask your child to wrap foil around one end and stick in place.
3. Tie it around your little one’s waist.

Cloppety hooves

1. Cut four hoof shapes from orange card. Get your kid to stick foil to one end.
2. Use wool to tie them around your little one’s wrists and ankles.

 Photo credit: Laura Ashman.

2) Great game: 
Put a ring on it. Play this magical throw a hoop game!

What you’ll need: Card, paper plate, ribbon, glue, scissors, glittery paint and glow stick bracelets. As an alternative, you could shape foil into hoops instead.

What to do:

1. Roll the card into a cone shape and glue to fasten. Snip off any excess card at the bottom to make it level. Ask your kid to paint it with the glittery paint.
2. Once dry, stick the cone to a paper plate and wrap ribbon around it.
3. Write the points on each plate, like 1, 5 and 10.
4. Use the glowstick bracelets as the hoops, or shape foil into hoops instead.
5. Ask the children to throw three hoops each and keep a tally of the points.

3) Last minute DIY invite: Make the rainbow. Let’s get drawing with all the colours of the rainbow.

What you’ll need: Paper, felt tips and unicorn stickers 

What to do:

1. Give each child a piece of paper, felt tips and stickers. Ask them to draw a rainbow and stick on lots of unicorns!
2. Can they sing I can sing a rainbow as they draw to remind themselves which order the colours are in?
3. Write all the party info on the back.

4) Fun party bag filler: Mythical gliders. Fun, last minute party favours.

These unicorn gliders are a fun addition to the gift bags. The kids can have fun flying them around, or you could have a competition to see who can fly their unicorn the furthest!

5) Party snack: No-bake unicorn cookies. Gluten-free treats that taste out of this world.

What you’ll need: Nut butter of your kids’ choice, we used cashew (or seed butter for those with allergies), coconut flour, sprinkles

What to do:

This recipe makes 6 cookies. Make more depending on how many kids are coming to the party.

1. Ask your child to add 3 tablespoons of coconut flour and 6 tablespoons of nut butter to a bowl.
2. Add lots of unicorn sprinkles and mix it up!
3. Get your kid to roll the dough into balls. Use a fork to press them down.
4. Decorate with more sprinkles. YUM!

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