Group of kids at a birthday party.

When it comes to celebrating your child’s birthday, you likely want to pull out all the stops. Huge cake, that blow-up jumping castle that someone always gets hurt in, pony rides and anything else your little one desires. But all of that costs major money.

Luckily, there are countless ways to pull off a memorable party without breaking the bank — you just need to start with a solid kid’s birthday party theme and work from there.

So, here are four fun ideas for you to use or to simply get those wheels turning.

1. Games galore

If your kid is into games, good news — that’s a party theme right there. Depending on the types of games you have (or can borrow) and where you want party traffic to flow, you can set up activity stations throughout your house. Never underestimate the entertainment value that can come from something as simple as a video game area.

Don’t forget old-school games like Mother May I, Red Rover, Hot Potato and even Duck Duck Goose. Sardines (Hide and Seek in reverse) is also fun, no matter how old you are.

Weather permitting, and depending on what resources you have in your garage or attic, you can also serve up some games and activities with a side of Vitamin D. If you have a basketball hoop, boom — there’s another activity station. Got a pair of cornhole boards that haven’t seen any action in a while? No time like the present. You can even set up a game of four square with nothing more than a ball and a stick of sidewalk chalk.

And if you’re brave, ask party guests to bring over any Nerf guns (or anything equivalent) they have to host a backyard Nerf fight. You can let the kids run wild, and you won’t have to worry about accidentally vacuuming up errant Nerf darts from around your house.

2. Happy campers

Let’s say you have a bit of an introverted kid who doesn’t want a big party — just something with the fam. Don’t simply buy a cake and call it a night! Depending on the time of year (and where you live), make use of calming and peaceful Mother Nature for your sweet one.

If you have access to a camper or RV, basic overnight spots at a campground may only set you back about $25 — alternatively, you can set up camp in your own backyard. Throw in some balloons and a few card tables covered in dollar store tablecloths for a mess-free dinner and cake table, and you’ve got the makings for a serene birthday under the stars.

If the weather is too cold or rainy, pitch your tent indoors or let the kids make a blanket fort with cushions, sheets and pillows from around the house. Have a candy treasure hunt before breaking out the flashlight for kiddo-friendly ghost stories.

3. Pajamas, pancakes and pampering

For a cute, clever and affordable kid’s birthday party theme, think about how you can pamper your party guests. It doesn’t get much easier (or fun) than to host a sleepover party: jammies-themed with pancakes for dinner. And it pays to skim current coupon offers online before you hit the store for supplies. Once you’ve made your list, check out our online coupon gallery to match up what you plan to buy with any special deals you come across.

Complete the pancake and pj’s theme by turning the event into a pampering evening (get it, three “p’s”?) by bringing in nail painting, makeup and dress-up stations. Then, delight your guest of honor with a homegrown fashion show complete with their favorite tunes. Who knows, it could even turn into an impromptu dance party.

4. Bookworm bash

If you’ve got an avid reader, consider building the theme around one of your kid’s favorite books or literary characters by choosing associated snacks, beverages, music and decor. Depending on the age group, you might even want to include a story time, reading one of your kiddo’s favorite books aloud to guests as an activity.

Set up a craft station complete with paper, glitter, stickers and markers where partygoers can make their own bookmarks to take home. You can even laminate them with packing tape! It’s fun, it’s unique and it combines a party activity and party favor so guests can bring home some of the magic.

Memories are priceless

By using one of these themes (or something else you come up with that’s equally as wonderful), you’ll be sure to throw a budget-friendly party your child will remember fondly for years to come.

There’s no way your kid will remember that the tablecloth was from the dollar store or that you used packing tape and not a real laminating machine for the bookmarks. All they’ll remember is how much fun they had at that party and how special you made them feel that day — and that’s priceless.