The Easiest Birthday Party You Will Ever Host (At the Playground!)

I’m a big fan of the playground birthday party.  It’s kind of no-brainer, when you think about it. Kids+cake+playground=party.  Bonus:  It’s free, and there’s no blue frosting mess in your house. Plus, birthday parties at the park are so much FUN!!

(Planning a party? Check out Outside the Box Locations for Birthdays and Easy Birthday Favors everyone will love.)

Where I live, there is probably a city park within every 5 mile radius.  We’re lucky.  Most of them have at least one covered picnic area with tables, if not several, and in some cases, charcoal grills.  There is usually a playground, and sometimes adjacent soccer fields or basketball courts.  A few of the larger Parks and Rec areas can actually be reserved ($), otherwise it’s available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You have to gamble with the weather…and that will surely give you a few gray hairs in the days leading up to your party.  Develop a back-up plan (ideas to come) and consider this PRO list for an outdoor party:


  • You can invite as many people as you want!  We invited a lot of family friends and included siblings in many cases. The more the merrier!IMG_2024
  • No need to develop activities, games or crafts… I promise the kids will have no trouble coming up with plenty of fun running around together.  Fun is built right in at a playground/park.
  • Clean up is a breeze!  Most parks have trashcans, and whatever crumbs you leave behind the birds will gladly handle for you.
  • Sidewalk chalk!  This was a big hit at our party.
  • If there is a grill at the park (or maybe you own a portable one), you can grill hot dogs (it’s cheaper than ordering pizza!).  But depending on the time of day, you don’t have to provide a meal.  Schedule your party in the morning or afternoon and you can just do snacks.
  • A playground makes a great back drop for an adorable group shot of all kids at the party!  They can hang all over it – so cute!
  • BYOB – that’s balls, not beer.  Invite kids to bring their own outdoor stuff – whatever they like to play with.
  • It’s free!  Unless you choose to rent/reserve a pavilion area (may or may not be possible  in your city – look into it.)  Of course, your party supplies and treats will cost money, but it’s still far cheaper than a party place.


  • The weather.  In Texas we have a saying that whatever the forecast is…just wait 5 minutes and it will change. I’ve lived here all my life and I swear this is 100% true.  (It must be depressing to be a weatherman in Texas.) Anyway, I’ve hosted several outdoor parties, and never had to cancel one yet!  But we always have a backup plan just in case.  If your invitations are via Evite or another online system, it’s very easy to send an update to your guests regarding a weather-related venue change.  Ideas:  Meet at an ice cream place, buy each kid a cone and open presents.  Meet at the Mall food court and set up your party plates, tablecloths, cake, etc at a group of tables.  (Our mall has a carousel, so that’s a fun bonus.)  If your guest list is reasonable you could go bowling or meet for a movie.  Naturally, the easiest backup plan could be your house.
  • Very often the park pavilions are first come, first served.  We always send someone ahead to snag our party spot early.  Our grandparents were happy to bring a book and hang out for a little while before got there to set up. So sweet!
  • You have to share the playground with the general public.  (No big deal.)


  • image2Party favor ideas for an outdoor party:  balls, bubbles, jump ropes…things they can use at the party, and fit your outdoor theme. Oriental Trading company is a great source for inflatable balls that are inexpensive and easy to pass out.  Dollar Tree is a great place for bubbles.  I found these cute colorful balls at Super Target (see pic at right), and some colorful bubbles at a party store.image3
  • Buy a large pallet of water, Capri-Suns, and individual packs of chips and/or fruit snacks.  Easy peasy.  (I much prefer to give each child their own bag of chips than have all the kids sharing germs in a large bowl.  Blechk!)
  • A few parties ago I decided to only buy the small squatty bottles of water, instead of the full-size ones.  Have you ever noticed how people only drink a little of it, then misplace it, and grab another?  We were always throwing away near-full bottles of water after parties.  So now I buy the short bottles.  Of course people can take another if they need more.
  • Bring heavy duty tape in case it’s a windy day.  Great for keeping those plastic tablecloths on the tables, or securing balloons.  Also bring scissors, matches/lighter for candles, and bags or a wagon to bring home the birthday presents.
  • Bring sidewalk chalk, balls, jump ropes, etc. and/or encourage your party guests to bring their favorite outdoor stuff as well. We had a couple of kids bring basketballs and kites.  It was so much fun!
  • Determine where the nearest bathroom is, if there isn’t one at the park/playground.
  • Wouldn’t hurt to bring band-aids in case any of scraped knees.

Our most recent birthday party inspired me to schedule a family and friends potluck soon! Ever since we had kids, we hardly ever spend time with our friends.  We’re always saying to one another that we want to get together, but it’s difficult to schedule hosting a dinner party, and expensive to get a babysitter to go out.  So, rather than put the burden of hosting on either of us, we’re going to simply pick an afternoon or evening to meet a park, bring some food and let the kids play while we catch up with one another.  Easy breezy, and no one has to lose a whole Saturday cooking and cleaning their house to get ready for company.

Want to save money on your birthday party? Be sure to check out to get free party supplies coupons and promo codes.

Let us know if you host a playground/outdoor birthday party, and share your tips and pics with us! Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more Kid friendly Ideas.


Looing for a cheap birthday party location? Try the park! It's usually free (or really cheap) and has built in fun for all ages. See all about how to host a playground birthday party

44 Replies to “The Easiest Birthday Party You Will Ever Host (At the Playground!)”

  1. I’ve never done a playground party but after two boys at my daughter’s last party nearly destroyed my house, I think we’re done with at home parties…LOL! I love these ideas and also the fact that you wouldn’t have to plan a lot of games. The “goodies” are perfect too! I’m going to have to try this for our next one.

    1. Yes! It’s built in fun for kids of all ages! You also don’t have to keep the list small because you can have tons of kids at the park. Parent like it too because the kids will be worn out after 🙂

  2. These are some great tips! I’ve always been hesitant to host a park party because I felt like I would have to schlep so much stuff. You make it seem so easy and I am totally over cleaning up my house before and after parties.

    1. I always have a big bucket I start putting stuff in. It’s easy to carry and then everything is in one place. Don’t clean your house! Have it outside!

  3. I really like to plan different birthday parties.This sounds great for kids parties.Once I organized a Birthday party in a park for my niece.That went very well too.Thanks for sharing these tips and ideas.Really helpful and informative.

  4. Fun tips! I’ve always wanted to do a park party, but my kids’ birthdays are in the winter…. That said, we are in Southern California so the weather should cooperate. I’m going to try out some of your tips for the next birthday that rolls around!

  5. We’re actually going to be attending a park/playground birthday party this coming Saturday! My three year old is so excited! Birthdays and the park are his favorite things in life! lol
    I love BYOB – Bring your own ball! 🙂

  6. Great tips! I decided to have my son’s 2nd Birthday at the park this year and have been wondering if I made this right decision.

  7. Such a unique, awesome party idea! I really like the party favor ideas and the checklist is very helpful. Bookmarked this page and looking forward to applying these myself.

  8. Instead on tape use butterfly clips to keep tablecloths from flying away. Just clip the clothes to the edges of the table.

  9. Hi hon. We are doing a graduation party for our son. Because we live an hour away from his friends, we are going to go to Miami Whitewater Forest where this is midpoint. We are inviting all of his friends and our family. We have reserved shelter, have a grill, and its the largest shelter with a bathroom. We also have horseshoes, volleyball, and a huge shaded area for our older adults.

  10. Last year i celebrated my son’s first birthday at a park. It was very windy that day. More that i was expecting but overall we had fun. This year we are doing it again. But we will have someone to go early and save our spot last year we got there and the spot we wanted was already taken, it was a little disappointing but we made the best of it after all.
    Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions

  11. These are some really great ideas for throwing a party for your child. So many great things to do with them and taking them out to a playground is a great idea to keep them all contained to a space. My wife and I want to throw a party for our 7-year-old son and we think he would love to have puppets or something like that of people he likes to role model. We’ll have to look into finding a service that can assist with that maybe.

  12. I’m really looking into doing my daughter birthday party at the park. I live in Georgia and her birthday is in November so I’m kind of concerned about the weather but unfortunately every other location is already booked

  13. My son is having a birthday party this weekend at a park ! The theme is super mario and this is my first time doing in a park really, and im not sure what kind of activities should i do.

  14. Sandy
    SEPTEMBER 25th 2018
    My son is having a birthday party this weekend at a park! The theme is super Mario this is my first time doing it at a park really, I don’t know what activities to do at the park .

  15. I find it awesome that you suggested throwing a kid’s birthday party in a playground so that they will have fun playing by themselves. Another way to throw a fun party is to plan a team mystery game to go along with it. Doing this will help improve their critical thinking skills while letting them dress like their favorite characters.

  16. Your tips helped us have a simple and relatively stress-free park birthday party for our 7 year old. The kids loved the party favor baskets of light up balls and candy and we loved not having to make multiple gift bags! Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that! Park birthday parties are the best when the weather cooperates! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  17. I was thinking of hiring a balloon twister for my son’s playground birthday next month. Do you think that will be over the top? It is kind of expensive, but I wanted some kind of entertainment other than the playground. My other fear is that no one will be waiting in line for a balloon, they will all be playing. But it could also double as the party favor. I am torn on what to do.

    1. I think that’s a fabulous idea! It would totally serve as the party favor! Maybe they can come at the 2nd half of the party even so you can do some playing and cake stuff first? I love this idea!

  18. I liked how you stated that the games should be according to the theme of the party. My daughter’s birthday is next month, and we want to prepare her a nice tropical birthday since that is what she asked for. We will be sure to decorate the place and have some games related to the theme of the party. Maybe even rent a tiki bar so we can offer them some drinks and make the place look more incredible.

  19. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4!

    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the excellent work!

  20. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation. I really appreciated your hard work and dedication. You make it too easy for your reader’s thank you for sharing your blog with us.

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