22 Kids’ Birthday Party Alternatives: Fun Ways to Celebrate

No Party Planning Necessary


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These fun birthday party alternatives will have your kid jumping up and down in excitement for something new and different. Planning something different than a traditional party is really a wonderful way to think outside the box when it comes to birthdays, while still allowing everyone to have a good time. You can still make your child's birthday a memorable celebration without throwing a party, no planning necessary.

There are a lot of reasons why you may not want to go through planning a birthday party. With these ideas, you'll save both time and money. Many of the ideas are more budget-friendly than a birthday party and take very little planning. Here are 22 ways how to celebrate your kid's birthday without a party.

  • 01 of 22

    Plan a Scavenger Hunt

    An arrow sign that says "scavenger hunt starts here"

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    A fun birthday party alternative, like a scavenger hunt, will still make the birthday boy or girl feel extra special. You can make your own scavenger hunt by creating clues that lead from one place to another. At the end can be a prize or a birthday present. These can be played inside or outside, making it a great year-round activity that will have your kid running from one clue to the next.

  • 02 of 22

    Go to the Zoo

    A mother and son visiting the zoo

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    A wonderful activity for a birthday is going to the zoo. It's a great family activity that requires you to go out and have some fun, and maybe learn a few things along the way—it's a really fun activity for both kids and adults. Going to the zoo is mostly an option for warm weather but you can bundle up and go in the winter where you'll face fewer crowds.

  • 03 of 22

    Plan a Picnic

    A family having a picnic

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    A picnic can be a great birthday alternative that celebrates being part of a family and sharing the kid's favorite food. Plan a picnic outside if the weather's nice or throw one inside if the weather's not so nice. When you're packing, be sure you have everything you need for the perfect picnic so it goes off without a hitch.

  • 04 of 22

    Go Camping

    A family tent camping

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    Camping is a budget-friendly activity that still feels special. If your child likes to camp, they're going to love it on their birthday. Be sure to pack their favorite meals and snacks. There are even some camping games so everyone doesn't get bored and some special memories can be made.

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  • 05 of 22

    Go Bowling

    A family putting on bowling shoes

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    Bowling is a favorite activity for lots of families but still feels like a special outing. Bowling games are filled with a lot of laughter and fun, making it a fun setting for a birthday celebration. These bowling games will keep everyone on their toes once the fun of the regular game is wearing out.

  • 06 of 22

    Host a Sleepover

    Girls at a sleepover

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    Instead of having a full-blown birthday party, have your tween host a sleepover with a few friends. Besides buying some food, this is a birthday party alternative that is very low-cost and has lots of activities that won't cost you a dime. The kids will love spending all that time together and they'll make some childhood memories that they won't forget any time soon.

  • 07 of 22

    Have a Spa Day

    Mother and daughter with cucumbers on eyes

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    A spa day can be a lot of fun and if your kid likes to relax and be celebrated, they'll love this. Plan for a few hours or a whole day, pampering the kid whose birthday you're celebrating. Make it special with cucumbers for the eyes, a face mask, and luxurious lotion.

  • 08 of 22

    Go to a Sporting Venue

    A mother and daughters watch a soccer game

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    The sound of the crowd, the excitement of the game, and the fried food make a sporting venue a great place for a birthday. Don't worry if you don't have a big budget for sporting event tickets, local games can still be a lot of fun and are much more affordable.

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  • 09 of 22

    Take a Day Trip

    Two kids in a car on a day trip

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    Get out of town and explore somewhere new with a day trip. A day trip is great because you get to travel somewhere new but it's close enough that you don't need to bother with a hotel to do it. Spoil the birthday kid by letting them choose where to go and what to do. This can be done any time of year, you never know what surprising sights you may come across.

  • 10 of 22

    Watch a Movie

    People eating popcorn

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    Checking out the latest movie at the theater is a great activity that everyone in the family will love. Take in the latest flick and share a big tub of popcorn. Is the weather nice for the birthday? If so, then maybe plan an outdoor movie night under the stars. It's a creative birthday idea that will have you staying at home and saving money.

  • 11 of 22

    Fly Somewhere for the Weekend

    Two boys look out a window at airplanes

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    If you need to get even further out of town, consider taking a weekend for a trip. Fly somewhere new or a favorite destination and let the birthday weekend begin. It's a unique birthday party alternative that might just become a tradition.

  • 12 of 22

    Spend the Night in a Hotel

    A family unpacking in a hotel room

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    Kids have a lot of fun staying at hotels. It's somewhere new to stay and there are all kinds of adventures to be had. Kids of all ages will love this birthday party alternative. Whether you're taking a road trip or just staying the night in your hometown, the adventure of it all is sure to be memorable.

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  • 13 of 22

    Invite a Friend Along

    Two friends spending a birthday together

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    Instead of having a big party with all their friends, consider having just a friend or two to come along. Whatever activity you're doing is going to be more fun with a friend. Just include the friend in the celebration to make some great memories, whether it's playing a game together or sharing a meal.

  • 14 of 22

    Host a Family Dinner

    A girl feeding her father at the dinner table

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    If you want to celebrate a birthday at home, having a special meal is a great way to make the day perfect. Host a family dinner with all the favorites of the guest of honor. Bond with family games and have lots of laughs for a special birthday. It doesn't have to be dinner either, breakfast in bed is a great idea too.

  • 15 of 22

    Hit the Skating Rink

    A family roller skating while holding hands

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    See how well you remember how to skate when you strap on some roller skates or ice skates and go skating with the family. The kids will think it's hilarious and you'll get a lot of laughs. The skating rink is also a fun activity for winter since indoor skating rinks are protected from the weather, but this is also a great warm-weather activity too.

  • 16 of 22

    Play at the Amusement Park

    A family riding a roller coaster at an amusement park

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    Amusement parks are favorites among elementary-schooled aged kids and tweens. Take the whole family and ride the roller coasters together and pig out on fried food. The kids will love you acting like a kid again and won't soon forget the fun you had at the amusement park.

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  • 17 of 22

    Try Out Laser Tag

    A family playing laser tag

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    Laser tag is a thrilling experience that will have your family chasing each other, trying to outperform each other with laser strikes. The birthday kid will love spending time with you in a setting that they normally don't, making this a great alternative to a traditional birthday party. It's a great way to mix things up and have some fun.

  • 18 of 22

    Take a Tour

    A family taking a tour at a museum

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    Taking a tour is a fantastic way to learn something new. See if there's any desire to take a tour of a museum, activity centers, or historical trips around town. Contact any places that your child loves to visit and see if there's a tour available. They'll get to go somewhere they love and have special VIP treatment.

  • 19 of 22

    Visit a Trampoline Park

    A boy jumping at a trampoline park

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    Perfect for the kid that loves to spend time jumping around, a trampoline park is a must-visit. These outside and inside parks let kids jump around on huge trampolines, one to another. It doesn't just have to be kids either, adults are encouraged to jump too. Get the family going and have a special celebration that will have fun memories to go with it.

  • 20 of 22

    Go to a Water Park

    A girl at a water park

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    Water parks are open during warmer weather, so if you have a child whose birthday is in the hotter months, this may be an excellent idea for you. It's a great way to cool down while still spending time outside. A fun alternative to a birthday party, they'll have such a fantastic time at the water park that they won't think twice about a party.

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  • 21 of 22

    Eat at a Special Restaurant

    A mother and daughter eating at a special restaurant

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    Even kids have favorite restaurants that they like the best and you can surprise them with dinner at that special restaurant. Let them order what they like and make them feel special during the meal. Be sure to order dessert, you are celebrating after all.

  • 22 of 22

    Let Your Child Decide

    A girl celebrating her birthday

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    Sometimes the best way to find out what someone wants is to ask them. The same goes for kids. What do they want to do for their birthday? Many kids will be excited when they hear of a special celebration all about them. They may have a unique birthday party alternative that you haven't thought of. Keep in mind that you're trying to plan something with less stress and more family time, without breaking the bank.

  • How can I celebrate my child’s birthday at home?

    Scavenger hunts, spa days, and sleepovers work particularly well. Other ideas include playing fun birthday games, camping in the backyard, having breakfast in bed, or eating a special dinner. You could also think of the most fun your child has at home and then do whatever you can to make it extra special.

  • How do you celebrate a child’s birthday meaningfully?

    You can make a child's birthday meaningful by doing things that they enjoy and that they'll remember. So plan something out of the ordinary and make them feel special the whole day. The activities above are all meant to be fun and memorable.

  • How do I make my kids feel special on their birthdays?

    You can make your kids feel special on their birthdays by making the day all about them. Plan activities for them or let them choose what they want to do for the day. These birthday party alternatives are all about making a child feel special while spending the day with family.