DIY children’s party tips: Create a magical day for your child

DIY children’s party tips

I thought I’d share some DIY children’s party tips. A birthday party is such a special day for a child. The excitement of seeing their friends or family, playing games together. There’s also the important job of blowing out the candles on their cake. Plus being allowed to eat sweets as part of their meal!

Parties can be super stressful as a parent. Your child’s excitement about their special day and your desire to make it magical can be overwhelming. Add to that the pressure of the amazing parties that you’ve been to before. Or parties you’ve seen on Pinterest and Instagram!

The cost of parties can escalate out of control too. Back in 2016 a survey of 2000 British parents discovered that they spent an average of £309 on a child’s birthday, before presents. Based on the research I’ve done within Buckinghamshire in 2018, party entertainers can cost between £160 – £420, Venue hire is £20 per hour and that’s before you’ve added, food, decorations, prizes and party bags!

How do I create a magical party for less?

One solution is to run the party yourself. You may be thinking, surely that will just add to the stress, but actually the opposite can be the case. The cost will be lower if you don’t hire a party entertainer. There’s also lots of things you can do to reduce the stress and throw a party on a budget.

I asked parents who had run their own children’s parties to share their top tips for a DIY children’s party: 


Planning the party is part of the fun, but it’s also fun for the child. So get your child involved and ask them what they would like.

Remember the party is for them! Not what you want, and no keeping up with the Jones!! Andrea Florem

Planning helps stop the party costs from escalating. 

Plan at least 6 months in advanced and buy bits every month to spread the cost. Also book well in advance, so the date is free. Rachel Sarah

Think about the timings of the party. Are you having food? If so, plan it around the time to eat. Remember that excitable children have short attention spans and that the party can be overwhelming for the birthday child if it’s too long.

Keep it short and keep it simple! We usually do 1.5 to 2 hrs. – Photojennic


You don’t need to hire a party venue for a DIY children’s party. Is there space to hold the party at home? Or you could go to a local park if the weather is nice and take along picnic blankets for the food. If you’re running it in your home and space is tight set out an activity. Once the kids have completed it get a friend or family member to take them into another room to wash their hands, or play a game, whilst you clear the first activity away. Or put on some fast music and turn the activity tidy-up into a game!

If possible have the party outside, the mess factor isn’t so important then. Louise Roberts 


A theme can give you a focus for your preparations. Chat to your child about what theme they might like. Is there anything they’re into at the moment? Do they have a fancy dress outfit that they love wearing which you could use to inspire the theme? Is there a trend in the shops that you could use, to make it easier to buy things for?

I think planning around a theme makes things easy, choose your theme buy matching coloured balloons, print pictures of any characters and plan fun games. – The Candy Company UK


I always used to go full on with different themes and decorations every year using my skills as a graphic designer. They always went down brilliantly! – Beehive green


We go with different themes and love everything to coordinate. – Tiny Steps Make Big Strides


There’s loads of inspiration out there for a DIY children’s party. Decide on your theme and then search for it on Pinterest. You can take a look at Squidgydoodle’s Pinterest boards for some inspiration. ‘Catch my party’ has some great ideas too. Remember the party is for your child and not your social media though, otherwise the budget will get out of control!

Pinterest is your friend – Emma Bird


Save money by creating your own decorations. You could also get your child involved to add to the excitement of the preparations.

We did a Pirates & Mermaids party for our daughter’s 5th Birthday last month. Loved making all the props and decorations. The kids loved it and so much more memorable. Mummy on a budget

Party activities

It’s good to have a mixture of calmer activities and games. Squidgydoodle Party Boxes include 4 art and sensory activities and all the equipment you need. They also include some themed party game ideas. You can save yourself the cost of a party entertainer. Yet still have a party that’s been thoughtfully planned by someone who has been there and done it many times before. You don’t need to spend hours searching for creative, fun ideas you just take them out of the box, then watch the kids have fun. Find out more about how a Squidgydoodle Party Box works.

I ordered two Squidgydoodle Party boxes. It was great that I could divide my box with 15 unicorn and 15 superhero. My box arrived packed well along with easy to follow set up instructions. All I did was set up and the kids did the rest.
Highly recommend. – Lisa Warner


Activities where guests get to make things is always a WIN. – The Candy Company UK


Our two love their parties at home, bouncy something, and some additional activities, crafts, cupcake decorating and a few games and there’s plenty to keep them occupied. – Rachel Airey

Party Games

You can theme the party games or stick with the traditional games. With young children it’s best to stick with the games they know. They may find it hard to follow instructions for a new game because they’re excited! You can always theme the traditional games, such as pin the tail on the donkey.

A few old fashioned party games (musical chairs, pass the parcel etc), maybe a treasure hunt. We’ve also had ‘pin the symbol on the superhero’ before (then we made them in to badges so the kids could wear them as part of their superhero outfits) – Photojennic


We did walk the plank landing in a paddling ball pool and had a big net attached to the ceiling full of pirate paraphernalia like rats skull and crossbones balloons etc! – Beehive Green


Go back to old fashioned parties with pass the parcel and sing along games. – Louise Roberts


Our most recent was a minute to win it party. We had 5 activities for minute to win it that were sorted before hand and all set up ready to go. We only had small number of kids come 10 in total with my 3 included as it was quite a high energy party. – Tiny Steps Make Big Strides


To theme or not to theme food? Some ideas on Pinterest are very elaborate, but there are also much simpler ideas. For example rainbow fruit kebabs/wands for a Rainbow party or Fairy party, or drawing spiderwebs on the Babybel wax for a Superhero party. If you buy a Squidgydoodle Party Box you’ll have more time to spend on creating themed food, or decorating a cake. Don’t forget that friends and family may be happy to help too.

Kids don’t care about fancy food – my boys hardly ever eat anything at parties – so don’t spend hours on the kitchen. Besides the cake we just have some crisps, popcorn and fruit. – Photojennic


Years ago I aspired to be Martha Stewart with food all themed and looking lovely – now we do take out pizza. – Tiny steps make big strides

Relax and enjoy your DIY children’s party

Remember to relax and enjoy it. A big benefit of running your own DIY children’s party is that your child knows you. They will be more relaxed as a result. Have some friends or family on hand to help you out. They will love being a part of the special day too.

Don’t be too prescriptive, let it flow. – Sarah Hodgkins


Keep it simple and join in! Party games are the best way to interact with little people. I love the opportunity to get to know my children’s friend’s a little better too. – Johanna Barrett


After 12 years of parenting have learned to go with the flow, breathe and not worry about mess – continue to train kids to help with any mess they or their friends make. – Tiny Steps Make Big Strides


For older ones – give them space and get earplugs! – Ellie Hartley


Invite very helpful grandparents! – Lucy Mars


Stay calm! – Jen Albert

Reward yourself afterwards

You’ve just created a magical day for your child, so make sure you reward yourself afterwards.  They will cherish the memory for years to come, especially because you were a part of it.

Have wine chilling for after the party – Rachel Sarah


Followed by Gin and Tonic – Lucy Mars

I hope you enjoyed the top tips for a DIY children’s party. If you have any more to add I’d love to hear them, so just comment below.


Tale of Mummyhood
Cup of Toast



  • Jo – Cup of Toast Posted May 20, 2018 7:38 am

    Love this advice. I get such pleasure from organising birthday parties for my boys. I agree with starting early, I normally plan them in February / March for the autumn! Thank you for sharing these tips with #Blogstravaganza 🙂 lovely to have you x

    • Debbie Denyer Posted May 21, 2018 9:54 am

      It’s a great way to spread out the costs isn’t it. Otherwise you end up panic buying at the last minute and spending more than you’d planned to. x

  • Tracy Albiero Posted May 21, 2018 11:45 am

    I am planning a big adoption party this summer. I have been trolling pinterest getting ideas. #familyfun

    • Debbie Denyer Posted May 22, 2018 9:40 pm

      Oh wow! I hope it goes well. Pinterest is such a great resource! Thanks for taking the time to comment Tracy.

  • Samantha Free Posted May 23, 2018 8:04 am

    Love this! I am still yet to organise a birthday party for my own children – worst mum ever. I run activities and events as part of my job so I just can’t face doing it myself, and can’t afford to hire an entertainer to do it for me! Your boxes look absolutely amazing! #familyfun

    • Debbie Denyer Posted May 24, 2018 7:36 pm

      Thank you, that’s really kind of you. I wanted to create an option for people who wanted to run a creative, fun and cost effective party for their child, but didn’t have the time to design all the activities themselves.

  • Tammymum Posted May 25, 2018 6:03 am

    We’ve had two parties and our children our soon to be 3 and 4. I found them a little stressful truth be told. We are having another one this year so this was a great read and will serve me well for July! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

    • Debbie Denyer Posted June 1, 2018 6:39 pm

      Parties can be very stressful can’t they? I’m glad that you found the tips useful. I hope your party goes well in July. You might find my party planning checklist useful too.

  • bryony shaw Posted June 3, 2018 5:18 pm

    I’ll have to follow this for a party soon!

    • Debbie Denyer Posted June 4, 2018 11:19 am

      I hope it goes well! Don’t forget I sell parties in a box, full of creative, fun art and sensory activities, equipment and themed party game ideas.

  • Clare Posted June 11, 2018 2:07 pm

    Wow- I have never been quoted before. Feel completely honoured to included in your post. Thanks for the shout out. Hope your party goes well. They are such magical days. Enjoy ???

    • Debbie Denyer Posted June 11, 2018 6:59 pm

      You’re more than welcome Clare. You had some great tips to share.

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