3 Affordable Ideas for an Active Birthday Party in Chicago

3 Affordable Ideas for an Active Birthday Party in Chicago

Hosting a kid’s birthday party is expensive these days.  If you have several children, or if their birthdays are close together it can be financially challenging for a parent.  I own a business that puts on active theme-driven birthday parties.   Although we are not the most expensive place to have your party, indoor kids birthday party venues in Chicago  can be between $250-$1000.

The truth is, I am actually one of those parents – my kids have their birthdays all at the same time and they are also in the dead of winter.  So outdoor parties are not an option for me.  But my brothers and I were all summer babies.  So my dad, an artist, would put on amazing backyard birthday parties.  They were always creative and my mom would cook the best food.  It was great! They were our three big parties each summer.

Since my kids were born in the winter, I cannot use my great outdoor party ideas so I decided to share them.  I have even adapted some of the exercises we use at POW! Kids.   Here are three of my favorite ideas for an active, outdoor kid’s birthday party.  You will also be happy to know that these three kids birthday party ideas are very, very affordable.  I provided you with an illustration to also help you understand how I would set up each activity.


Nerf Nation Game– All kids love nerf guns.  Today, you can buy a Hasbro nerf gun or crossbow between $10-$20.  Which ever you choose, buy two of the exact same nerf guns and extra pellets.  I suggest the single load style so no rapid firing can happen throughout the party.   Then, blow up 4 balloons of various sizes.  With a Sharpie marker label the smallest balloon with the number 10, the second smallest with 5, the second largest with the number 3 and the largest balloon with the number 1.  Using ribbon or string, hang them from a branch outside. They should be about 4-5 feet off the ground.  Lay your two nerf guns down and assign three pellets to each gun.  Divide the kids into two groups.  The game will begin with two kids running to the firing station, picking up their nerf gun and aiming at the balloons.  They will fire 3 pellets, put the nerf gun down and then relay run back to the cone and tag the next child.  This is a great PHOTO OPPORTUNITY.

Three adults will stand at the tree.  One adult will record the points the green team earns, another will only record the red team’s points and the third adult will retrieve the pellets and return them to firing station.

I suggest running this for an amount of time.  Ten minutes is a good start.  The team that accumulates the most points wins.

Nerf Birthday Party


Outdoor Obstacle Course Decathlon – Take advantage of public park areas to build an obstacle course that will wipe your kids out!  Here is a great layout that will make it fun and fair for all ages.  The cost of putting this obstacle course together is between $20-$40 if you had to buy every item included.

I suggest using a stopwatch to record each kid’s time.  You can create a scoreboard and allow each kid to go through the course a few times.   The winner earns a prize.


  1. Jump over the hurdles
  2. Zig zag through a cone formation
  3. Jump from hula hoop ring to the next with two feet.
  4. Sit and pop one balloon with your butt.
  5. Pick a silly hat out of a dark colored pillow case.  Whichever one you choose you must put on and crab walk across the ground from one point to the other.  This is a great PHOTO OPPORTUNITY.
  6. Hula hoop 3 times around your waist.
  7. Kick a soccer ball from one place to another.
  8. Do 5 pushups
  9. Stack 6 cups in a tower.
  10. Sprint to the finish line.

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Paint, Run, Search, Find – Purchase a small roll of butcher-block paper or  restaurant table paper roll.  Buy basic kids paint, brushes and plastic cups.  Then, purchase or use a bucket of toddler shapes.  Buy a couple large bins of foam geometric shape stickers from Michaels.  Make sure you have the same color paints available as the stickers.

Divide the kids into as many 2-person teams as you need.  One child is the painter and the other child is the seeker and runner. The painter has 30 seconds to draw 5 shapes on their section of the paper.  Create a master sheet with the shapes as a reference for the kids to use as a guide so the younger children can also participate.  When the painter is done (an adult calls time at the end of the 30 seconds), the seeker turns around and must go retrieve the same shapes in the same color from the trays or buckets that are placed 10-30 yards away.  As they find the correct stickers, which match the ones that were drawn, the child returns with them to their designated painter.  If they forget they have to run back and look at the drawing again.   The two kids work as a team  peeling the stickers and placing them next to the shape that was painted.   The first team done wins that round.  The second round begins and the children change roles.  You repeat as many rounds as you want.  The PHOTO OPPORTUNITY I like is when they work as a team to peel and place stickers.

Chicago kids birthday party outdoor

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