Make the little one’s big day a special one without breaking the bank with these amazing party themes.
Kids wait all year to celebrate their big days and often look forward to it for weeks. So throw them a big bash this year without all the stress with these timeless yet easy birthday party themes.
The trick is to find a few key items that are cheap and easily accessible to build your theme around so you don’t have to do everything from scratch. Check out some of our top picks from Target, Big W and the Reject Shop for some inspiration this year!
Disney Princess’ Ball
If your little princess loves to sing like Ariel, ballroom dance like Belle or is brave like Merida, the Disney Princess theme is perfect. For mum, it’s also the easiest theme to design around. Ready-made party cups, napkins and cutlery are easy to get hold of like this set from Big W, as are decorations, sing-along movie soundtracks and party favours. You can either choose a specific movie as your theme or open it up to the guests to come as their favourite Disney princess.
Think outside the box a little with cookie cutters in the shape of stars, flowers, castles and tiaras to cut finger sandwiches, cheese slices, deli meat or watermelon and serve on a themed platter.
There are also a myriad of Disney-themed birthday cakes on the web so the possibilities are endless.
Given how popular Disney’s latest classic is, chances are the little one has already been begging you for a frozen party this year! The good news is, there are plenty of easy creative ideas to make this theme come to life.
Aside from branded merchandise like character decals, cutlery and gift bags, frosted cupcakes, blue jelly cut into “ice cubes” and ready-packed fairy floss are fun dishes to serve, as are snowflake cookies dusted with icing sugar and Olaf treats made with marshmallow.
As a craft activity, get the kids to draw and design their own unique snowflakes which can be decorated with lots of glitter. Or for a themed classic game, try pin-the-carrot-on-olaf! All you need is a drawing of the character on a large sheet of butchers’ paper and some noses cut out of orange paper and double-sided tape.
Pirate-themed birthday party
Most kids can’t get enough of pirates and the theme lends itself quite nicely for a party.
Costume ideas here are endless from skull-beaded necklaces, transfer tattoos, paper pirate hats to skull rings, eye patches and plastic guns and swords if they are old enough. These are usually easy to get from the Reject Shop or any of the major retailers, so take your pirate matey for an afternoon to pick their own outfit and have some fun.
The food on the day can be quite fun too – try this veggie sword snack: Slice some long, thin carrots into quarters, then cut up some cucumbers into round slices. Slide the cucumber rounds down each carrot stick -- from the pointy end toward the fatter end and voila! Don't forget to leave some space at the end for the handle. For a fun themed drink, make ice cubes out of cranberry juice and serve them in clear cups of lemon-lime soda. As the cubes melt, they'll "bleed" into the soda.
For a party game, a treasure hunt is a sure-fire hit that you can set up indoors or out, depending on your space. Plus you can choose to have one final “treasure” or write clues on parchment paper with small prizes along the way, again depending on the number of guests and space.
Minnie Mouse tea party
This Minnie Mouse tea set from Big W is perfect to build your party around and there are plenty of gorgeous Minnie merchandise to accessorise the party with.
From the birthday girls’ outfit and jewellery, invites, decorations and party Favours, this is another easy theme to bring together. The tea set also lends itself to Minnie Mouse-themed baked goods, sandwiches and mini cheese cubes… the possibilities are endless.
The bonus is with some much Minnie-themed merchandise available, your guests won’t have to wrack their brains for the perfect gift ideas too!
Fairy princess and superheroes
If your party has a mix of boys and girls, cater to both by having a Fairy Princess or Superhero theme.
You can easily purchase ready-made invites and add stickers to combine the themes. There are also numerous places online that you can design and print your own. A nice idea is to roll each invite into a scroll and tie them up with a pink ribbon or twine.
Decorate your party in pinks, purples, gold and silvers and shimmering helium balloons from party shops will add to the theme. If it’s a nice day, you can even make it an outdoor fairy garden with cut-outs of flowers, fairies and toadstools on the fences.
If you want a little extra entertainment, this theme also lends itself to themed entertainers like Batman or Ballerinas to entertain the kids for a couple of hours.
Although this might not be one for ages three and under, the older kids love to play and make things, so a colourful Lego theme is perfect.
Your centrepiece table can be filled with different coloured and sized Lego pieces for some free play, or set up themed kits like Build Your Own Racecars for a bit of friendly competition. You can even make utensil holders out of Lego bricks to keep with the theme.
For party games, try playing Pictionary but only use the pieces to communicate, or create Lego-man cut-outs for a photo booth.
The best thing about this theme is that small packets of Lego bricks and characters wrapped in cellophane makes the perfect on-theme party Favours!
Arts and crafts party
For older kids, having an activity to get everyone at your party involved is the perfect way to make new friends and keep everyone engaged and having fun.
Parents will already know of the loom band craze so why not make a party of it? Younger kids can get creative too with finger painting, modelling clay and colouring-in games with crayons and make for great party Favours. The secret here is having a few options and instructions on hand on the day so that the kids can follow along. It’s also a great chance for the adults at the party to join in on the fun.
To get you started, check out our how-to stories on easy finger-knitting projects or make your own gluten-free play dough monster on our everyday inspiration blog.
Alice in Wonderland / Mad Hatter’s tea party
Set up a long table, covered with all different kinds of mismatched teapots, teacups and sauces and invite the kids for a Mad Hatter’s tea party! This is another perfect outdoor themed party and the sky’s the limit with costumes and decoration ideas. Put up colourful beach umbrellas, hang colourful paper lanterns between trees and even put some clocks around that are stopped at tea-time.
Complete the theme by baking little cupcakes and serve with cards that have “EAT ME” written on them, attach “drink me” labels on your drinks or bake cookies into hearts, clubs, diamond and spades. There are plenty of options too for serving your favourite sandwiches.
For games ideas, you can’t go past lawn croquet with hedgehog plush toys as balls, or one that the kids will love, do the Caucus race: get everyone to run around in a circle, and when you shout 'stop' the last one to sit down or run to the middle is out. Or make a caucus version of the game musical chairs, where you remove one of the chairs each round and people have to find a chair to sit on when the music stops.
Dinosaurs and monsters party
This one is definitely a favourite for the boys and leads to much noise and mischief at the party.
Aside from getting dinosaur-themed decorations, cake toppers and snacks (think of all the great lollie options like chocolate rocks!), there are great dinosaurs and monsters masks or face painting to get the little monsters roaring. For another costume idea that can double as a party game, have everyone make their own caveman costumes by cutting a hole in the centre of a piece of faux fur or animal print fabric – no sewing required!
For party food ideas, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets are often available in the frozen food section of Coles or Woolworths. Have some fun with the food labelling too like serving Dinosaur Bones (pretzel sticks), Dino Dogs, Tyrannosaurus Burgers, Pterodactyl Chicken Wings… all to be dipped in a bowl of tomato sauce labelled hot lava!
There’s nothing like a slumber party to make your kids feel a little more grown up, with the promise of staying up late, ghost stories and lots of giggling.
Get the kids excited by creating invitations shaped like toothbrushes, slippers or a torch and make sure the birthday boy/girl has a new set of pyjamas to look forward to. Set up some fairy lights or dot the room with different coloured lamps and the more bean bags, cushions and blankets the better.
Start the evening off with an activity the kids can all do together, like a do-it-yourself pizza bar or decorate your own popcorn box to get the kids mingling and don’t forget, no slumber party is ever complete without a movie, so have a few on hand!
Younger siblings will feel left out if they can’t come into the party zone, so to avoid some tears, send them to a friend’s or a family member’s for their own sleepover.
Good ol’ fashioned pool party
With summer just around the corner, there’s nothing like a great Aussie pool party. Make the day special by getting or renting some extra lawn chairs, beach umbrellas and all the inflatable toys and pool noodles you can get your hands on.
If you have a bigger back yard, set up a slip n’ slide but choose a set like this one from Big W instead of making your own to minimise dangers. Make sure you always keep an eye on the kids to avoid injuries though and stay safe. Reusable water bombs and water guns are also a guaranteed hit.
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