10 Alternatives to the Birthday Party (and still have fun)

10 Alternatives to the Birthday Party (and still have fun)

Ideas For Kids Parties is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Kids birthday party decoration. Colorful cake with candles. Farm and transportation theme boys party. Decorated table for child birthday celebration. Rainbow cake for little boy. Balloons and banners.
Birthdays happen every year. Is a party really necessary?

Birthdays don’t just come once in a lifetime but are celebrated every year. This means that the more kids you have, the more parties you will host. Hosting a party is not just expensive but is also stressful and time-consuming with all the things that you have to prepare and people you need to get in contact with. Plus, the aftercare is not really that easy. 

It is completely understandable if a birthday party is not exactly your thing. More so, if your child doesn’t like so much attention, too. But, how will you celebrate your child’s birthday without throwing a party? Here are some of the things that you can do instead of throwing a party and still have fun anyway. But before that, let’s find out first if a birthday party is really necessary or not. 

Are Birthday Parties Necessary?

Parties today are over-the-top, extravagant, and stress-inducing – are they really worth it? Throwing a kid’s birthday party is a good idea but is not really necessary. Besides, is the party really for your child or for you and your sense of parental accomplishment? 

You might be thinking that you are depriving your child of an avenue to have fun and collect golden memories but in all honesty, you are not. Instead, you are teaching your child not to splurge too much money on things that do not highly matter compared to other things. 

What makes a birthday party not really necessary? Take a look at the following:

1. It is stressful. 

The stress that you will get before, during, and after the party is not easy. Ask yourself, is it really worth the stress? So, what’s the point of throwing a party if you will just end up stressed and did not have fun at all, right? 

Just imagine yourself doing all the preparation and then making sure that people are having fun and are comfortable during the party even when you, yourself is not comfortable or happy at all given how stressed and tense you are. 

2. It is expensive. 

A birthday party does not come cheap. Besides, a recent survey shows that parents spend around $30,000 for their kids’ birthday party celebrations from their first up until their 21st birthday. Throwing a birthday party could really drain your bank account, most especially when you want to go beyond the pedestal and throw an extravagant party. 

You might have fun today with how lavish your child’s birthday party is, but what about tomorrow? Do you still have enough money to make it for the next days or months, most especially when you are on a tight budget? Borrowing money just to throw a birthday party is also a big NO. Don’t let your family be buried with debts just because of birthday parties. 

3. Birthday parties are overrated. 

Nowadays, kids’ birthday parties are no longer completely about them. Some people make it a way to conduct business and tighten connections. Kids’ birthday parties today have become more of keeping up with everyone else who is invited to the party. 

Almost every parent today is trying to be on top by throwing crazy birthday parties. But the thing is, showing your child how much you love him and how much he matters to you does not necessarily mean that you have to throw him extravagant parties. Your child does not actually care about the Instagram-worthy cake or fancy decor. After all, what they only want is to have fun. Taking pictures isn’t all fun for your child. 

Birthdays today tend to focus more on getting perfect shots for Facebook or Instagram that the true reason why the party happened in the first place is forgotten. 

4. Too many neglected presents.

Throwing a party comes with tons of gifts, such as toys, which will actually take a lot of space at your house. The gifts don’t just take up a lot of space but they also somewhat give your child a notion that a birthday party is all about the number of gifts that he will receive. Plus, too many toy choices make it difficult for your child to choose what he really wants. 

Too many presents also won’t teach your child to value the things that he has since he owns a lot of it. Hence, he would think that it is okay if he takes things for granted. 

Lastly, you will end up in an endless loop of attending parties and giving gifts to everyone who has attended the party you have organized. 

5. Parties don’t live up to expectations. 

No matter how much time you have allotted to plan for the perfect party, everything will not fall out as you have expected. Sure enough, there are expected guests who will not show up, the cake won’t be as detailed as what you have seen in the picture or model, the games won’t be as organized as you thought they would. 

Your child won’t really understand everything that you have poured out for his party. Perhaps, he might end whining up or won’t be as much thankful as you thought, which is really depressing at some point. 

Birthday Party Alternatives

So, what can you do to celebrate the birthday of your child without throwing a party? Actually, there are a lot of things that you can do to celebrate. Such things are way cheaper and not really as stressful as organizing and throwing a birthday party. Besides, these activities are a lot more fun and they give your family the time to bond and take a break from your usual everyday routine. 

Such activities include the following:

1. Go on a vacation. 

Happy child ready for a summer vacation. Kid having fun at home.
Going on a vacation is a fun way to celebrate your child’s birthday.

A family vacation should not only happen during the holidays. Going on a family vacation is a fun way to have your well-deserved family time and to celebrate the birthday of your child as well. Family vacations do not necessarily mean that you should go out of the country. Hitting a local beach resort or going to places you have not been before is a great way to spend time together. 

It also does not require you to go on an extravagant vacation. 

Remember, it is all about the experience that your child is about to venture into. Instead of throwing a birthday bash, going on a family vacation is a lot more fun since you got the time to bond alone with your family and give your child the attention that you have somewhat deprived him since you are busy with your work or so. 

2. Spend the day at a farm. 

Cute little girl feeding sheeps by grass.
Spending a day at the farm allows your child to have a first-hand experience with the different animals.

True enough, there is no such thing as being one with nature even just for a day, most especially with your child who is on the stage of exploration. Children love to be surrounded by animals regardless of their age. 

Spending a day at the farm on their birthday instead of throwing a party is more fun and is educational as well since they get to interact with different farm animals. They are also given the chance to explore and familiarize the environment. Aside from the animals, they are also offered a way to know more about the plants that they can see on the farm. 

Your child might also appreciate more about how the local foods are grown which might help him value every food that is served to him. Letting your child know how the farmers work hard for the foods that are served to him on the table is an incredible way to teach him some valuable lessons on his birthday. 

Who knows, he might want to try the work himself for a few minutes, right?

3. Go to an amusement park. 

Child with mother on water slide at aquapark. Two persons on summer holiday.
Spending your child’s birthday at an amusement park allows him to explore and have fun with different activities.

Kids love amusement parks. That is a fact. Celebrating your child’s birthday on an amusement park will surely make a memorable day for him. Most parks offer a lot of perks that you can avail of. Your child might score a free ride or free entrance since it’s his birthday. 

To find out the things that you can avail and get the most out of it, check out the amusement park’s page weeks or months before your child’s birthday and have a reservation already if allowed. Your child might even score an extra treat since it is his birthday. 

Amusement parks are indeed one of the best places to celebrate your child’s birthday. It is not only your child who will have fun but everyone else in the family will surely enjoy it as well.

There are a lot of things that you all can do in the amusement park. You could try out the different rides that they offer, taste the different foods that are sold, watch out for the shows, and so much more. 

When going to amusement parks with a tight budget, ideally, you should bring your own food with you since foods that are sold in such parks are somewhat expensive. With all the activities that amusement parks have to offer, your child’s birthday will surely be a memorable day for him and for everyone else. 

4. Watch a movie at home. 

Happy family watching TV on sofa at night.
Watching a movie on your child’s birthday is a great way to bond with your family.

Who says movies are for adults alone? Nowadays, there are a lot of movies that you and your child could watch together. A fun way to celebrate your child’s birthday is to allow him to stay up past his bedtime and watch a movie with him on your PJs. 

This is not only a fun way to spend time together on your child’s birthday but is also a great avenue to let your child know that sometimes, it is okay to break rules. You can let your child choose what movie to watch as his perk. You could also let him decide what snack you should prepare to eat while watching the movie.  

When it comes to the movie that you will watch, you have to make sure that it is child-friendly or is suitable for your child’s age. You can also make your movie night at home even more special by inviting your child’s friends or cousins to watch with you and perhaps, they could sleep at your place for a night. Sure enough, the night will not just be an eventful one but it will perhaps leave a permanent mark on your child’s memory. 

5. Cook with your child. 

Mother and child daughter preparing the dough, bake cookies.
Cooking is a good way to bond and has with your child on her birthday.

If your child loves to eat or is into cooking, then you could spend his birthday cooking together. You can cook with him his favorite foods that you could serve to the family or could share with the homeless people. 

The idea here is to let your child do what he wants, even just for a day. Just make sure that what he will do is right and legal. Cooking with your child does not only give you and your child the time to bond but it also serves as an avenue for both of you to explore how you could work as a team.

This is also a good way to teach your child how to move around the kitchen if he does not really know how to cook but is interested in doing so. You could teach him the basic things or teach him how to cook one of your most treasured recipes. 

6. Go on a road trip. 

Mom and daughter - tourist girls and mountain views.
Going on a road trip gives your child the chance to explore new places.

Taking a road trip is as exciting as going on a vacation. It is one of the best ways to explore different places that you have never been to before. Regardless of whether you have planned your destination ahead of time or have no particular destination at all, it is always the journey and not the destination that truly matters on a road trip. This is because it is on the journey that you got to see different places and appreciate more the things that you see around which you have taken for granted at some point. 

Road trips are one of the most underrated ways to bond. So, if you are looking for a fun way to celebrate your child’s birthday, you could perhaps get in your car and treat your little one into a great road adventure. 

You could also allow your child to choose where you will go. Let him be the navigator for the day in order to give him a sense of freedom and give him a foretaste of the things that an adult can do. 

7. Go on a shopping spree.

Young mother and her daughter doing shopping together
Bringing your child in a shopping spree is a more practical way to spend his birthday.

Instead of throwing an extravagant party and spending a lot of money, why don’t you just go on a shopping spree with your child, right? Children love to be spoiled, and there is nothing wrong if you spoil them once in a while, most especially during special events in his life. 

You could spoil your child with love, but on his special day, you could also spoil him with the things that he wants to have whether that is a new dress, a pair of shoes, a toy, or a gadget. Even just for a day, let him experience the fun of getting everything that he wants. You could just save the money that you are about to spend on the big birthday bash and just go to a nearby mall to let your child buy the things that he has been eyeing for a long time. 

You could even save a lot on a shopping spree rather than throwing a party. Also, your child’s happiness is still shallow so he could perhaps even have a better time shopping than partying. 

8. Plan a picnic. 

mother and daughter at a picnic with a German shepherd dog
Picnics are fun way to be one with nature on your child’s birthday.

On your child’s birthday, your family could pack up and go on a picnic. This does not necessarily mean that you should go on a picnic site, but you can just pitch a tent in your own backyard. But you can also rent an RV for that special day and go to a campsite near you. 

Picnic is a great way to promote family time since you are taken away from the gadgets that you have. You can focus on your family most especially to your child instead. Spend your time roasting marshmallows, playing games, and doing other fun things that you and your family could enjoy. 

If you want to make things more special, you could also decorate the picnic area to make it look more presentable and perhaps invite a few relatives and friends to celebrate with you. 

A birthday picnic is an incredible way to celebrate your child’s special day, wind down, eat your favorite foods, and be one with nature. If the weather doesn’t go well during your child’s birthday, you can always opt to do an indoor picnic. You can build your tent in your living room or anywhere spacious, lay down your picnic mat and basket, and enjoy the day away. 

9. Have a spa day.

Photo of mother and daughter in white bathrobes. They are sitting on the couch and applying pieces of cucumber to their eyes. Their hair is wrapped in a white bath towel. They have cucumber mask.
Spending a day on a spa with your child is a relaxing way to celebrate her birthday.

If your child is a girl, celebrating her birthday in a spa is surely a delightful thing for her. Even at her age, she surely will enjoy her stay in the spa. Besides, she might really need it to relax for a little bit. 

When planning to go to a spa to celebrate your child’s birthday, you should book in advance to make sure that you will be accommodated within the day most especially when you are heading to a very busy one. When booking, do not forget to mention that you have a child with you who will also avail of the services for the kids that they offer. Doing so will also help you find out if your chosen spa offers kids packages which will make your life way easier and cause you less hassle on the day itself. 

If you do not want to go out of the house, there are spas that offer home service so you could just ask them to bring the spa experience right at your doorstep for you and your child. You could also prepare your child’s favorite meals which you can serve while the spa session is on-going. 

Having a spa day as a means of celebrating your child’s birthday is way cheaper than a party and gives you more guarantee that your child will enjoy and have fun. 

10. Let your child decide. 

Let your child decide what to do on his birthday. Since it is his birthday, let him decide the things that should be done within the day. If you don’t know what your child wants to do, feel free to ask him so. You might be surprised by the things that he wants to do but make it a point that you have fulfilled it before the day ends as long as it is doable.

Your child might end up asking you to play with him, so go on. If your child is so active, then there is a high chance that you will end up doing a lot of things, but what truly matters here is that you have celebrated his birthday together. The fun and excitement are just a bonus. 

Furthermore, at the end of the day, you also have to make sure that it is your child who has decided on the line up of things and not you. 

Allowing your child to decide what he wants to do will help him give a sense of freedom and will make him more responsible for his thoughts and actions. Just for this once, let your child decide how he will celebrate his birthday. He is growing up which means that he is also becoming entitled little by little to be more responsible for himself. 


Celebrating your child’s birthday is not all about hosting a party. More often than not, it is all about enjoying your time as a family and making the day as meaningful as you can for the birthday celebrant. There are plenty of ways on how you could celebrate your child’s birthday, you just have to be as creative as you can. 


The birthday party alternatives that were mentioned in this article are not exclusive. You could always experiment and mix them up. You could also try doing a little bit of everything!

Ideas For Kids Parties is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc.

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