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12 birthday party ideas for 5-year-olds to have at home

Plan a great celebration with this birthday party inspiration

At-home 5-year-old birthday party
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

At-home birthday parties never really went out of style. Many parents opted for venue celebrations for their kiddos because they can be less stressful. Perhaps most parents steer clear of hosting a birthday party for kids at the house because of all the chaos that ensues. Let’s not mention the after-party mess that you’re responsible for cleaning when all the kids leave.

While there are perks to venue parties, it turns out that throwing a party for your child at home doesn’t have to ramp up the anxiety. Birthday parties at home can be a load of fun and be more budget-friendly than a venue party. Home parties are easier to plan and execute than you think, especially for 5-year-olds.

Turning 5 is a momentous occasion. Your preschooler will soon be heading off to kindergarten, and it’s certainly a milestone birthday you will want to mark with a party. While it’s true that at-home birthday parties are more of a hands-on task for you, they don’t have to be loaded with worry. We’ve got the top tips for hosting a party at your house, along with birthday party ideas at home that make throwing one a piece of cake.

Colorful birthday party table with plates and food
Lidya Nada / Unsplash

Tips for hosting a birthday party at home

The biggest fear for holding a birthday celebration for 5-year-olds at your house is ending up with the kindergarten equivalent of a teenage house party gone wrong. You envision food and spills everywhere, along with broken furniture. Of course, there’s the mess to clean up afterward, and no one likes the thought of getting smeared icing off the dog. Sure, at-home birthday parties are hands-on, but there are ways to keep the family pet and the house intact and still throw a cool party.

Structure

The biggest component of a successful birthday party at home is structure. Five-year-olds run wild when they don’t have anything to do. So, the key to throwing a fabulously fun party for your soon-to-be kindergartener is to keep it structured with games, activities, and food. Always keep a couple of activities in your back pocket, just in case.

Extra hands

Don’t try to host a birthday party at your home without help. On one hand, you won’t be able to enjoy your child’s birthday party and it’s impossible to do everything yourself. Don’t expect other parents to jump in, either. Since 5-year-old parties aren’t drop off, many parents enjoy the opportunity to socialize too.

Instead, enlist the help of older siblings and extended family members to supervise activities and games. If you don’t have extended family comfortable around kiddos, consider hiring some teen help. Teenagers and tweens in your neighborhood who babysit may enjoy the opportunity to make a bit of extra money.

Include an end time on the invitation

When you send out the invitations, be clear about the conclusion of the party. Just like at a venue, there is a time when the party is over. If you don’t include an end time on the invitation at a house party, parents may think the party is longer than it is.

Limit the guest list

To avoid the chaos, don’t overdo the invites. If you’re holding the party at a venue, there’s always a cap on the number of attendees. Do the same things at home. You don’t have to invite the entire soccer team along with the whole class. The party will be more fun for the guest of honor if the invites are close friends.

Kids enjoying eating pizza at a birthday party
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Birthday party ideas at home

When it’s time to think about an at-home birthday party for your soon-to-be 5-year-old, remember it doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster. Here are eight birthday party ideas that will make the guest of honor and their friends very happy.

Arts and crafts party

Most 4- and 5-year-olds enjoy making crafts. A fun and relatively inexpensive at-home birthday party idea is to set up different craft stations around the house or in the yard if the weather permits. Crafts can be seasonal, holiday-inspired, or a theme provided by the guest of honor.

Divide the partygoers into small groups of three to four and have them rotate to each craft station. Set aside enough time at each craft station for kids to complete the activity. Be sure to have an adult or teenage helper at each station to guide the craft. Provide bags for the kids to collect their projects. A cute party favor is a craft apron. Personalize each with a fabric marker. Allow an hour for the crafts, and afterward, serve pizza and cupcakes.

Painting party

Soon-to-be kindergarteners and preschoolers love to paint. There are so many creative ways for kids to explore painting with different materials. A painting party is ideal at home if your child’s birthday falls during warm weather months. Painting outdoors makes cleanup much easier and won’t cause stress for you. Like the craft party, set up different painting stations.

Painting station ideas include finger painting, sponge painting, fabric painting, watercolors, and Q-tip painting. Place the kids in small groups and have an adult or a tween or teen to supervise. Kids can paint their own t-shirts with fabric markers for a keepsake favor too. Keep the artistic theme going by having the party guests decorate their own cupcakes before heading home.

Game party

Another simple at-home birthday party idea is an old-fashioned game party. They wouldn’t be 5-year-olds if they didn’t love playing games. Classic party games like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, hopscotch, Simon Says, freeze dance, musical chairs, egg and spoon racing, and bean bag tossing are always a hit. You’ll definitely need a lot of energy and extra helpers for a game party because an adult will need to lead the activities and keep the kids organized.

A game party is a perfect pick if your child has a small guest list. Anywhere from eight to 10 kids is perfect for this type of party. If you’re not comfortable leading the games, consider hiring a college student majoring in early childhood education to run the party.

Cooking party

Little hands really adore helping in the kitchen, which makes a cooking party a super tasty option. An at-home cooking party is another great choice for a short guest list. A cooking-themed party for five to eight guests is best. Start off by letting the young chefs decorate their own cooking aprons with fabric markers. The apron also serves as the favor. Kids can make their own pizzas. While the pizzas are cooking, have them create their own smoothies and decorate their cupcakes. When the pizza is ready, it’s time to eat and sing “Happy Birthday.”

Breakfast party

Most 5-year-old birthday parties are in the afternoon. So, change things up by hosting an at-home breakfast birthday party. The twist here is the guests get to have a hand in making their own breakfast. Kids can help mix the pancake batter and breakfast smoothies before getting to work decorating doughnuts. Doughnuts make a yummy change from the usual cupcakes.

Movie party

A super easy and low-maintenance at-home party idea is to invite guests over to watch your child’s favorite film or a new one that’s recently dropped on Disney Plus or Netflix. Kids can come in their pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. Food can be tasty movie treats like popcorn, chips, and cookies. If the weather allows, host an outdoor movie party.

Backyard campout

You don’t need to trek out into the woods for a campout birthday party. Weather permitting, you can host an at-home birthday party with a camping theme in the backyard. Indoor campouts can be fun, too, if your child’s guest list is small. Pitch some tents and have the ingredients for s’mores on hand. Activities can include a scavenger hunt, campfire stories, and a nature hunt.

Afternoon slumber party

Age 5 might be a bit young for a sleepover, which is what makes an afternoon slumber party so inviting. Guest should come to the party in their pajamas and bring a stuffed friend along with a sleeping bag. This afternoon slumber party can include all the sleepover essentials such as games, crafts, snacks, and of course, a movie.

A child getting a soccer ball for their birthday.
Freeograph / Shutterstock

More birthday party ideas at home

If these at-home birthday party ideas aren’t striking a chord with your kiddo, here are some more fun suggestions when hosting a party for your soon-to-be 5-year-old.

Sports party

If your kiddo is into soccer or just loves being outside with a ball, then put together a sports-themed birthday party in your yard. Like a craft party, set up different sports stations with a soccer goal, a kiddie-sized basketball hoop, and knee hockey nets. Have parents or teens on hand to organize games around the different sports. An at-home sports birthday party is ideal if you have a big yard and your kiddo’s birthday is during warmer months. Since you will need to be outside for this, include a rain date on the invitation.

Magical party

For a retro at-home birthday party, think magic. Hire a magician to come to the house and entertain the kiddos for an hour. Plan some basic party games like pin-the-tail on the donkey and an egg-and-spoon race before serving pizza. End the party with a cake or cupcakes.

Obstacle course

Everyone knows that 5-year-olds have tons of energy, which is what makes an obstacle course party a fun idea. Setting up an obstacle course in your backyard isn’t hard. Pool noodles can go a long way to helping create a backyard obstacle course. An inviting obstacle course needs things kids can crawl through, jump over, jump on, and run through. Be sure to have plenty of cool drinks on hand. Wrap up the obstacle course party with a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar.

Pool party

If you have a backyard pool, then a pool party is always an option for an at-home birthday party. Plan this one with caution though when dealing with 4- and 5-year-olds, since most won’t be confident swimmers. Keep it safe by hiring a certified lifeguard to keep an eye on the kids in the pool. Have swimmies and life jackets on hand for kids who don’t bring their own.

Child painting at an art-themed painting party
Arina P. Habich / Shutterstock

Home parties are always a hit

Hosting a birthday party at home for your 5-year-old can be just as fun if not more than hosting it at a pricey venue. At-home birthday parties are budget-friendly and aren’t as difficult to plan and execute as you may think. With this exciting menu of birthday party-at-home ideas, you’ll have plenty of inspiration to find one that suits your soon-to-be kindergartener.

To avoid the chaos that always surrounds kids, be sure to have enough activities planned to keep the guests occupied. It’s also important to have additional hands available to help with craft stations, run games, or assist budding chefs. Whenever possible, use your outdoor space. Doing so makes cleanup easier. Build in a rain date for outside, at-home birthday parties.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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