baby celebrating first birthday

Last Minute Birthday Ideas

Birthdays are important milestones for children, and as parents, we try our best to make each birthday as special as possible. Sometimes, however, life gets in the way, and we find ourselves scrambling to put a party together with little time to prepare.


Last Minute Birthday Ideas

We’ve listed a few last-minute birthday ideas to help arrange a great party at a moment’s notice. For the party itself, consider some of these options:


  • Craft Parties: Check our blog for some easy, season-appropriate crafts and hit the local dollar store for supplies.
  • Field Trips: Check local fire houses and police stations to see if they can provide a field trip, or visit your local animal shelter to spend some time with the kittens and puppies (if you arrange a field trip, have the kids make thank-you cards as part of the party).
  • Get Outdoors: If the weather’s okay, look for local outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, swimming, trips to the zoo, fishing, or cross-country skiing.
  • Go Team Go: Buy some cheap seats to a local sporting event, have the kids decorate some signs, and maybe do some face painting with the team colors. If the venue has a jumbotron, ask if they can show a picture of the birthday child with a short message. Surprise the birthday boy or girl with a special gift after the event, such as My Very Happy Birthday Book or It’s My Birthday! Personalized Book
  • Learn a New Skill: See if your local karate school is willing to give the kids a lesson, teach them to make and decorate their own cupcakes, how to kayak, or anything that leaves the kids with a new skill.
  • Movie Night: Rent some of the latest kids’ movies, and whip up a big batch of popcorn with lots of toppings, such as candy corn, chocolate chips, a sugar/cinnamon mix, nuts, and candy.


Last Minute Birthday Ideas for Gifts

Your child just came home from school with an invitation to her best friend’s birthday party—which is tomorrow. Your child wants to give her friend a gift, of course, but what can you do with so little time to prepare?


These last-minute birthday ideas make great gifts for either your own child or their friends, and are quite affordable:


  • Flowers: If the birthday girl (or boy) likes flowers, how about a big bouquet? Grab a couple of bunches from your local grocery store, add a soft toy or gift card, and you’ve got a lovely gift.
  • Balloons: If flowers aren’t the birthday child’s thing, how about a bunch of balloons? Again, most of the larger grocery stores usually have large, fun helium-filled balloons ready to go.
  • Books: Books make great last-minute birthday ideas. Look for books that mirror the child’s interests, or go one step further and surprise them with a personalized birthday book (if time is an issue you can give them a gift certificate to choose their own book). For superhero-loving kiddos, try a personalized book like Super Kid! that comes with a cape and mask.
  • Toy Baskets: Buy a medium-sized basket or bucket and fill it with small, fun toys from your local dollar store.
  • T-Shirts and Pajamas: We know, we know—clothes aren’t the most exciting birthday gift. Look for fun clothes displaying the child’s favorite cartoon characters or superheroes, though, and you’ll score some points.
  • Gift Cards: In a pinch, a gift card is perfectly acceptable. The child gets the excitement of choosing what to buy with her own money. If you give a gift card from an online store, she also has the fun of receiving something in the mail (don’t try to tell us that isn’t exciting—we still get a thrill when the mailperson drops off packages for us).


So there you have it: a few last-minute birthday ideas to help make your child’s special day extra important—and make life just a little easier for you.