25 Cheap Fun Ideas to Make Your Child's Birthday Special

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Birthday Cake with candlesBirthdays! The best days of a child's life. 

How do you celebrate the occasions without spending a ton of money?

Ask any adult and they will tell you that their best birthdays growing up had nothing to do with what they got but how they were celebrated.

Parties are great for kids but you want to have other ways to make your little ones birthdays special.

I have 25 ideas of how you can make your children's birthdays super memorable while still making it very easy on your wallet.
confetti trail1. I wish I could claim credit for this idea because I love it. The birthday child's day begins as soon as they wake up. Sneak into their room the night before and cover the floor with balloons. It is a wonderful sight to wake up to!  (Make sure that they are old enough for balloons as they are a choking hazard, be sensible.)

2. Make a confetti trail through the house for them to follow. It is simple to make confetti, just take a sheet of colored paper, fold it in quarters and start punching out confetti with a paper punch.Place a sign on the floor where it starts and lead it to the bathroom and then kitchen.

Writing Happy Birthday on the Bathroom mirror
3. On the washroom mirror write in soap on the mirror Happy Birthday! Make sure that the soap is a little bit damp before you start to write and use the corner of it as if it were a giant crayon.

4. Make a streamer doorway that you kids can walk through. Measure the length of the doorway from top to bottom and cut lengths from different colored streamers and just tape to the top of the doorway.

free printable happy birthday banner
5. Have a Happy Birthday banner. These are simple to make up with just a printer and some paper.

I designed this colorful Free Printable Happy Birthday Banner  in a riot of colors so it will fit in with any decor that you have.

Decorating a chair for a birthday
6. Decorate their kitchen chair like a throne. You could make a cloth slip cover that is used over and over again or you can just take a bits of colored paper and tape them to the chair with a sign that says - Birthday Chair. 

7. Have a birthday crown for them to wear at meals. Easy to make from paper you can decorate it to suit the child.

8. Make them a birthday button that says "Today's my Birthday, I'm 5" and let them wear it out so they can get birthday greets from people who see it.

9. Cover the table with confetti, this looks really impressive if you do it on a white table cloth.

Fruit face
10. Make their breakfast look special. Even if they are having the same breakfast they always do take the time to set it up nicely for them. If you give them fruit for breakfast place it on the plate to look like a goofy face.

11. I don't like to sugar my kids up but it can be a special treat that just on their birthdays the whole family is allowed to drink something special with their meals such as chocolate milk for breakfast or pop at the other meals. 

12. Let them choose their own birthday dinner. (With a reasonable veto, no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner.)

Chocolate bars
13. Start a tradition of always giving a few of the same gifts every year. As a child I always received a chocolate bar and something to read on my birthday and we do the same for our children. 
 Get them a book from a series and they will be able to read the rest of the series from the library. (Look for these books at garage sales during the summer where you can often buy them for $1 in perfect condition.)

Printable number birthday cards for children
14. Very young children love to see the number of their birthday so  randomly around you home set up their birthday number (say 5 for example) and at some point in the day ask them if they can find them all. 

You can print off as many of these Printable Number Birthday Cards for Children as you need and place them around the house with a different greeting in each one. These cards are simple to print, fold, cut and you're done.

Make easy confetti number cake toppers
You can also make an Easy Confetti Number Cake Topper using your glue gun and confetti!

Taking pictures
15. Teach them a skill. At every age there is something that they can learn, such as, "When you are 8 we will teach you how to take pictures with our camera." Birthdays are markers of maturity for children and they want added responsibilities.

16. Even if their grandparents and relative live close by ask them to mail the birthday cards. Children love to see their names and address on a piece of mail especially for them.

17. Send them a birthday card from their pet or the pet of a relative. It is always a surprise to receive something from Rover, if it is a cat or dog use a paw stamp to sign it.

Surprise bag
18. Have a treasure hunt. I did this for my kids every year and they loved figuring out the clues. If it is just family member participating then have a treat for each one of them at the end and one of your child's gifts.

Let the birthday child either read each clue or lead the pack or both depending on their age. You can put the prizes in these mystery bags you can make if they are small.

19. Set up their presents like a display. Use a table or area of a room and place them out smallest to tallest.

Birthday Candles when you have no cake
20. Not every child likes cake. Let them choose their dessert and place it on a cake-stand surrounded by candles so they still get to blow them out.

21. Let the birthday child choose a board game or a game of cards to play after dinner with the entire family.

22. Make up your own lyrics for Happy Birthday.  You can try to find rhymes for either their name or their age.  You don't have to use the traditional Happy Birthday melody either but a song that they enjoy.

Birthday Cake with candles
23. The best part of a birthday cake is decorating it (well 2nd best, best part is eating it). Make a cake, put on the icing and have a variety of sprinkles or candies that the birthday child can use to decorate it with. This cake was topped with foil covered chocolate coins.

24. Give your daughter a rose on her birthday. If she is very young you might have to put it in a plastic vase with only a little bit of water and top it up every day. Every girl would love a rose and it is a great tradition to start when they are young.

25. Measure their height. Kids love to see how much they have grown so if you make this a tradition every year they will be able to compare their growth rate to the year before.

25 inexpensive ideas to give your life luxury
These are 25 simple but do-able ideas that truly will make your child feel special on their birthday. For 25 great ideas for yourself read 25 Inexpensive Ideas to Give Your Life Luxury.

Have you read: 
Loot bag t shirts

Balloon arch

Make a beaded bubble wand

Making cardboard playhouse

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Photography and Content
Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2012

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Thanks for this great list of ideas! I will certainly be implementing some of these ideas...starting this year for both my children.

I love these ideas. When I was a kid, my mother gave the same gifts every year (plus a bunch of new ones). I loved the regularity of it. A colleague said something similar to me during the holidays: it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't get a box of candy from you. Thanks for the reminder.

I need more ideas

Lovely, practical ideas to make any child feel special.

I like some of your ideas. Especially the one about repeating the same gift every birthday. I think books are worth of everything and it is necessary to teach kids to read since that's the easiest way how to memorize spelling!

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