We all know how much work it is to throw a birthday party in your home. You might think that’s the only option when you’re on a budget, but having someone else do the hosting and even entertaining doesn’t have to break the bank!
Here are some great recommendations for places you can take your children and their friends to celebrate their birthdays that are affordable and fun. All of these options can be had for under $200, and in some cases much less.
Note: Some of these venue options are more DIY than others. In some cases, you may have to supply the entertainment, food, and/or decorations.
If you have a child who loves to skate, your local ice rink might just be the perfect place to host their birthday party. Renting ice time and a room to have pizza and cake at an indoor arena is far more affordable than you might think.
Who doesn’t love a pool party? Many indoor public pools host birthday parties, complete with time and space for food and cake, and lifeguards to keep your partygoers safe. Search around for pools with cool water features, lazy rivers, and/or slides. Or there may be an indoor wave pool near you with party options.
Community centres and local public arts centres offer a surprising number of party packages for your children. You can simply rent a room or pay for support that will help you lead the perfect party. Many locations will offer various themes from which you can choose, all for very affordable prices. We’ve seen fees as low as $56 per hour or $90 for two hours.
Public Parks and Park Buildings
Though the season for outdoor park parties is way too short in Canada, some parks do have field houses and other indoor facilities for rent—at budget prices. In the warmer months, kids can play outdoors and eat pizza right to the park! Open-sided shelters and fire pits are sometimes available for reservation, too.
Be sure to call your local parks department to enquire about whether you need a permit.
We all remember fondly at least one McDonalds or Chuck E. Cheese party as a kid, right? These options are still around, though they’re not as prolific as they once were. (In the Toronto area, for example, there’s only one McDonalds with an indoor PlayPlace.)
Since you’re probably going to serve pizza anyway, another option is a party at Boston Pizza. Reserve the party room at your local store and, as long as your bill totals at least $150, you have the privacy of the room and someone else do the cooking and cleanup. Some locations offer make-your-own-pizza parties for $16 per child.
Shops & Stores
At President’s Choice Cooking School birthday parties inside select Loblaw’s and Real Canadian Superstores, your child and their friends can get dressed up as little chefs and make child-friendly foods like fruit kebabs, pizza or tacos, and decorate cupcakes to take home. Packages start at $20 per child.
Mega-craft-store Michaels does crafty art parties for kids at their stores. Staff leads kids in making a themed craft (multiple options available) in their dedicated party room. Parties start at $120 for 8 kids.
We’ve found kids’ parties at many climbing gyms to be particularly affordable (under $200 per party) for a packages that include a built-in activity that will definitely keep kids entertained for a full two hours. Maximum group sizes tend to be smaller, but it’s a small price to pay for, well, a small price to pay.
More Budget Party Venues
Don’t discount the “obvious” places like dance studios, art studios, STEM labs, ice-cream parlours, and nature centres. They are not generally as low-cost as say, renting a room in a community centre, but some are pretty darn close. Plus, once you factor in costs for activities, entertainment, setup, cleanup, and food, they may ultimately be the cheaper option.