32 answers

Ideas for 5 Year Old Boy Birthday Party

Does anyone have any great ideas for a birthday party for a 5 year old boy?? I don't want to spend a lot of money but I'm not sure I want a lot of kids in my home. He's my oldest so I'm new at this. He likes trains, tools, rockets, and music. Any resources you can offer would be much appreciated! The birthday is at the end of April.

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I am keeping ALL of your ideas! And I hope other moms got some good ideas, too. The party was fun and easier to do at home than I'd expected. At times it did feel like a big playdate but the kids were having fun, so we went with the flow. It was a "Word World" theme of games and crafts. I made min cupcakes and spelled my son's name. I'm glad we did it at home. I will probably spend less money next time--I may have gotten carried away!

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My girlfriend took the kids to a firehouse once and it was a big hit.
They did have to go home for ice cream and cake, but she didn't have to do any games or entertaining--just greet, leave, and eat.

Lowe's and Home Depot do like little workshops to build a boat or birdhouse, whatever... You could always call them and ask if they would do it for a party. I know I've heard it being done before!

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Host the party at home to keep the costs down. Invite 10 friends and probably 8 will come. For a theme, you could use Trains, Construction Trucks, or Space. My favorite party planning website has a free party guide for each of these theme. You could read through the party guides and then choose the theme based on what you feel you can do well at your home. Here is a link to the page that lists all the party guides. I hope this is helpful to you! The first "real" party is always nerve-racking, but after that they just get easier!

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It depends on where you live, but contact your local Parks and Rac department. They almost always have a large room somewhere for rent. In my county you can rent the gymnastics building for a lot, lot less than going to one of those bouncy house places. If you can do something like that, then just bring pizza for everyone and a cake and maybe a pinata or something. Doesn't have to be fancy, just has to be fun for a five year old and as I'm sure you've noticed, they can have fun with just about anything.

Hey, if you are looking to plan a party at any budget point, check out all the great party plans at www.pepperspollywogs.com. This is one of my fave sites to plan. They literally have about a thousand party plans, searchable by age, boy or girl, or theme. Good luck!

We had our 5 yr old party at a putt putt golf course "Rocky Gorge" in Laurel. It was only about 4.50 per child for the golf & we bought pizza, cupcakes, lemonade etc. Plus about 8 batting tokens for 5.00. It's nice & I'm sure there are local options. We've also done the sports in the yard and other things people have recommended. If you go to a park try to find one that isn't usually crowded.

Five year old boys love to run around. I went to a party this past weekend, that they had outside, she set out sports toys that he already had and they all just played running around and such. Another good one is we all met at a local park (with a large playground). They provided some snacks and juice and water and the kids all played then we sat together and had cake. I think she planned one or 2 games as well (my son was young, so he didn't do those). Good luck!!

My sister did a great "Spy" party for her son's 9th party. She had lots of different ages, so I wouldn't say anything there was too mature for a 5 year old party.

First, she had me dress up like a spy with dark glasses, hat and trench coat. I did a quick speach about how they were going to become spies and take on top secret missions (while holding a big manilla envelope with a big red TOP SECRET printed on it).

They had a secret decoded message and each person had a section to decode. Then they put them all together in order (Each one was numbered) and read it out. You can have an adult read it. Then they had 3 stations where they honed their spy skills. They had cans set up in a pyramid and the kids tossed spongy balls at them to knock them down. Another station was a shooting station where they had 2 guns with suction cup arrows. They put targets up on the window with tape and the kids tried to get the arrows to stick to the window inside the target. The last station was the wildest. They used string to make a laser beam room. They tied it to doorknobs, dresser knobs, caught it in the window, around bed posts, etc. The kids loved this one most of all, but it was really hard. I suggest only 5 or 6 laser beams.

After that, they had a scavenger hunt with clues. My sister was planning to do it outside which makes it more fun, but she had to change it to indoors when the weather didn't cooperate. That worked out great since they hid clues in certain toys or under a kid's pillow. It ended with a bowl of spagetti in the garage that easter eggs were hidden in. The kids each found one and then all opened them at the same time. The info inside the eggs were numbers. The kids lined up in the order of the numbers for hitting the pinata.

I hope this helps. The kids LOVED the games. You can probably go to a dollar store or party store and find spy type goodies for goodie bags (if you give them). My sister found some great spy glasses that had mirrors on the outer edges of the inside. You can see who is standing behind you. Unfortunately, they were too costly to give to everyone. You can probably get decoders and dark mirrored glasses and things like that. I'm sure if you google online, you can find numerous other ideas to go with this cool theme.

Good luck.

p.s. They just did cupcakes so nothing special on the cake. You can always have them decorate the cupcakes if you want another activity. Also, she gave each one a badge (sticker) that indicated their name and that they were a secret agent. They got to color them at the beginning while they waited for others to come.

Hi! If your son has an abundent of energy, there is a Bounce A Round over by the airport. They do birthday parties and they are fairly reasonable if you don't want to have a bunch of kids. They have a bunch of MoonBounces fo kids to play and jump on. If I think of anything else I will be sure to post.
Another thing that's easy, instead of buying a cake, you can make cupcakes with ice cream cones. Not the sugarones, but the melt in your mouth ones that you can stand up in a muffin tin.
Good Luck

Hi. For my son's 6th birthday, (last Aug) we contacted the local volunteer fire dept and they not only brought the truck to our HOUSE, but Sparky the fire dog came too. They handed out coloring books and hats as well as letting the kids crawl all over the truck. The best part? It was FREE. (I did give a donation to the fire dept)We had a fire truck pinata and a cake decorated like a road with a fire at the end. I placed small plastic fire trucks on the road leading to the fire. Let me tell you, my son as well as all the other children, lost their minds when that truck pulled up! It was one of the most fun parties (and cheapest) I've ever thrown! Good luck

Check out a local museum. If you are in the Hampton Roads area there is the Children's museum or the Air & Space Museum. You get a room for the party and use of the museum. The VASC also has packages with science demonstrations, etc. Provide cake and drinks and you're good to go.

prefect time for a party at the park, then you let them play at the play grounds do cake or what not and it is a lot less messie there then it is at your house... hope the idea helps.... You could do a train theme for the cake and table clothes.....

We did My 5yo son's party at Pump It Up. Now, we don't go that big every year, but when we did this one- It was awesome! What i didn't count on was the ease of the end of the party- What i thought was more money than I wanted to spend, was SOOOOOO worth it when we could just gather up our child and stuff and go home! No mess to clean up a my house, no mess to clean up there, no party stragglers, or out of control kids in my home. So worth the base money we paid! Do a cake and a drink and call it a day- The kids have so much fun bouncing around and going crazy- so worth it. Just Bring your own food to save on the total cost. Have fun!
There are other places like this around- Kids Swim First, Bounce Zone, Roli Poli's, etc. You show up- have slammin' interactive fun and leave........What more can you ask for?
Good luck!

Lowe's and Home Depot do like little workshops to build a boat or birdhouse, whatever... You could always call them and ask if they would do it for a party. I know I've heard it being done before!

Maybe invite a couple of friends over to spend the night and build something. If he likes tools, and your husband is up for it, he can build something small or they can all build something small to take home - can be cheap too! We are taking our family to Sesame Place for our sons birthdays (just turned 2 and 4 in a few weeks) and our daughter will be 6 in June, she is getting a spa/sleepover. 3 friends are going to go with her to a salon and get mani/pedis and then out to dinner. It doesnt have to cost a lot to have fun :). Or have a lot of people in your house! Good luck!

Just a suggestion. Micheals Arts and Crafts store does birthday parties. You can go under their website and go under the Knack and it will tell you what to do. They are pretty fun and keeps the kids occupied. You and your son can pick out the craft he wants to do and they charge per child so if you set it up for 10 kids and only 8 show then you pay for the 8.

I always recommend Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station. They have a covered enclosed pavillion for parties - they include tickets to the carousel and miniature train ride as well as baloons and ice cream. I think they also have a lunch option where you can get hot dogs and popcorn for everyone, too. It's not very expensive, and a whole lot of fun. The carousel could use a little updating, but it works, and the train has recently been renovated... it looks like new. It looks like a little steam train and runs around in a little loop through the forest by the lake... very nice. My boys really like it. Here's the website: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelake/

Good luck. My oldest turns 5 in June. He's already had a party at Burke Lake, and wants a Tale of Despereaux party in our backyard this year. I'll think of something, I guess! ;) I really have fun planning a backyard party, so I'm not scared. ;)


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you can have a few kids from daycare and family over. always make your guest list and budget first, think of a theme you say he like trains,tools,rockets etc find which one he likes the most and make that your theme so if he like trains more then make that your theme ... we at unlimitedevents work for working mom's like you that don't have time to plan and pick-up things or mail out invite... so check us out

I read the response about the DIego rescue party, which my friend did too. They made binoculars out of two empty toilet paper tubes stuck together in the middle with 2-sided tape. Hole punch one end of each and tie yarn through to use as the strap. THe kids decorated them with animal stickers when they got to her house. Fun!

I'm not sure of the costs but check with your local children's museum. They often have train exhibts and party rooms so it would be easy to do a train theme, plus there are plenty of activities to entertain everyone.

Hi M... I have been having the same question about my daughter's 4th birthday in 3 weeks. All she talks about is who is coming to her birthday party and how much fun they will have at her birthday party..I'm like when did I ever say that she was having one.. And especially with every kid that she knows!! I was thinking about the place with all the floats in newport news. I think its called jump around or something.. I have to see how much that will cost me. Sorry I have no good ideas but I hope you get some so that I can too!! Good luck!

Look into renting space at a local rec center. If the weather's decent, the kids can play on the playground equipment, if it's not they can be inside and you don't have to worry about them destroying your house.

My girlfriend took the kids to a firehouse once and it was a big hit.
They did have to go home for ice cream and cake, but she didn't have to do any games or entertaining--just greet, leave, and eat.

Some fire stations rent out rooms and include tours/rides.

Here's an example of a station (not a local one for you unfortunately) that offers this service:

It may give you an idea.


Here's the station in Ellicott City that you may wish to contact:

Have your child's birthday party at
Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Station #2.

Boys and Girls, ages 4-8

For more information, call

My son's birthday is also in April and falls during Spring Break every year. One of the easiest parties I planned was a "Party in the Park". I invited his friends to a popular local park to play. I didn't even have any games set up, although you could and it would be quite easy (ball toss, treasure hunt, obstacle course) and inexpensive. It was scheduled for a time where I didn't have to provide lunch. They had a cupcake and juice box and a small goody bag. The parents were thrilled to get out of the house where they could burn off some energy in a quiet setting where the kids interacted. Some of those bounce places are loud and the kids don't really play with each other. And things like the bowling alley, while fun, still require some effort from parents when the kids are a bit younger. This was easy, laid back and CHEAP! I designed the invitations myself and printed them off at home.

Looks like you have gotten some great ideas! Hope your son has a very wonderful birthday!

I am not sure of your location, but we just had my oldest daughter's party a few weeks ago at a place in Westminster called The Bounce About. The prices were pretty reasonable and we pulled a coupon from their website so it wasn't bad. My kids had a blast. We brought our own décor, even though they offer it for free, but she wanted Hannah Montana. Since we brought our own stuff, they gave us 15 dollars off. They really worked with us. If you are close enough you should give them a call.

Several of our local fire departments will host children's birthday parties for a small fee. The kids get to see the firehouse and fire trucks and actually have their party there. We had our son's 4th birthday party at a county rec & parks building. It was very economical and there was plenty of parking, tables and chairs, a kitchen and restrooms. We hired a puppeteer to come for 1/2 hour, but we could have just done some games ourselves instead. By the end of April the weather may be warm enough to host outside. You could consider reserving a pavillion or picnic area at a local park that has a cool playground or other attraction. Just decorate a few picnic tables with table cloths and balloons. There is also a nature center near us that will host kids' birthday parties. The folks there give the kids a presentation about wildlife and they even go on a short hike in the park. We live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Feel free to contact me directly for specifics if you are interested in any of these ideas.

Dear M.,
Having birthday party at a park can be fun if there's a playground nearby but then you can't always predict the weird Spring Northern VA weather, ya know one day cold one day beautiful. Also some places you do have to pay to 'rent' picnic tables. You might find a playground/park with picnic tables off the beaten path, that way you don't have to pay thr rental fee etc. Also dpending on how many kids you want to invite you could into one of the bouncy places in Manassas or Ashburn. There's one where we had a 'mini classis' party for 15 kids and they had a blast! The cheapest we found was at Pump it Up in Manassas off of I-66 for $170. Their website is www.pumpitupparty.com All we had to do was show up, they provided invites and goody bags. Also there's a place called My Gym thats fairly cheaper than Gymboree. Visit www.our-kids.com for a list of parks in your area or indoor party places. Good Luck and have fun

Bowling parties are fun and not too badly priced. But if you will be having a lot of younger party members this might be a hard party to pull off. We did it for my son's 6th b-day party and he loved it. You could try a local gym. I know the Columbia Association has several cool party ideas for that age group that are not too badly priced. But my son's favorite parties were ones where he just got to run around either in the back yards or at a playground and play with all the kids. His favorite was at Centennial park at the big playground and they just had a cake, drinks and a few snacks (the kids don't usually eat too much anyway so the snacks were for the parents) but that idea is weather sensitive. Good luck whatever you decide and I'm sure your son will love it either way. One thing I always follow though is he only invites the number of kids as his age is or less if he wants a more intimate party. This ensures that for now at least there wont be herds of kids in my house.

I don't know if this is feasible for your house but last year, we had a Diego Animal Rescue party in our yard. I got the idea online and it was wonderful. We painted shoe boxes green and hid stuffed animals in them (I bought them at the dollar store and used old ones from my kids) then hid the boxes around the yard. Each boy got a pair of binoculars and a compass (oriental trading) and a hat to decorate. Then they went in search of the animals. We set up an old picnic table to be our "animal hospital" and my older daughters were the vets. It was a blast and the boys had a super time. It was super cheap and actually very easy to do.

You can have the party at a park to keep the mess out of your home and the cost is 0. A good idea is to only invite the number of kids as to the child's age (so up to 5 guests for a 5 year old) and plan the party for 2 hours. Get a cute table cloth maybe some balloons and set up near the playground. I always make my own cake to save some money too. You can get great ideas on bettycrocker.com or just google the type cake you want to make. For example you can google train cake or rocket cake since he likes those type things. If you are not trying to be that creative just make a simple 13x9 cake and buy some action figures or those candy letters with a theme at your grocery store and stick them on. Cupcakes are easy and great option too (no plates or knives or forks to worry about). Another great thing boys like that you can do at a park is a pinata. Party city sells them in all types of shapes and sizes. Having the playground there also helps get all that sugar energy out of them before heading home:) Hope this helps.

Depending on where you live, how about inquiring at a local fire dept for a tour...We have a Fire Museum here in Baltimore and for a donation, they host birthday parties and give tours of the truck and equipment. No set huge fee. You can bring cake, pizza or just snacks and juice boxes...easy yet so fun!!!!

Absolutely head to a park, with a shelter as back-up, in case the weather turns bad. Lots of running room, and if you find one with a wooden train-shaped climbing area, even better! Shelters sometimes need to be reserved so check with the parks and planning group in your area. You can set up ring toss games,pin the tail on something, hang a pinata for the kids to bash, etc, have loads of balloons at the ready, a cooler with ice cream and a cake to serve. If you use a paper tablecloth like those available at Costco and bring markers, the kids can even decorate it for the birthday boy to take home. (you serve the cake and ice cream on one and throw all of that away and re-set the table with the one to decorate). Young boys use up activities at astounding rates, so having the park play equipment will be helpful to keep everyone busy and run off some energy. You will arrive to a clean home, with the tablecloth to use for dinner and a happy worn out child! have fun.

My little boy will be 5 at the end of May. With the warm weather now, we have planned a fishing party at a local lake. He is ecstatic. It's inexpensive too. Order a few pizzas, get some CapriSun drinks, buy a cake and a $9 fishing pole at Wal-Mart. We bought our boy a Spongebob fishing pole. They also have Spiderman and Transformers for boys, and Barbie and Dora for girls. Hope this helps.

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