Checklist for a simple birthday party

I have been so busy lately that even though I knew Master 3’s 3rd birthday was round the corner, I just simply had no time to plan for it! And guess what? This busy mummy only started to plan for the birthday party 3 days before the big day! It has kind of become a norm to me even though I do not like it last minute. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I have not been as conscientious as most other mummies who plan much in advance and take care of every aspect of the party many months before. Well, I am glad I did manage to put up a decent simple party in a short time anyway. No one would know that I had only planned 3 days before.

The following checklist is a mental checklist that I have mastered over the years with 3 kids. Ok, I am sure everyone has about the same list and I am going to share what I did for games, venue, ideas and resources.

Here it goes rolling:

3 days before madness

1. Guest List and invites

First the hub and I decided on a day, not that we have much choice anyway. Usually, we host birthday celebrations on Saturday nights. Then we decided on who to invite. This is easy as the list is usually our immediate families which totalled up to about 13 adults + 10 children. Lucky for us, all our guests were able to make it on the short notice, yet, again. I promise I would not do that again if I can help it, i.e. invitation at the last hour.

2. Party Venue



We hold parties mostly in our small house. However, after Master 8’s lovely and cosy birthday celebration with his classmates in our favourite yogurt cafe “Frozen – a thousand blessings“, I decided on the same venue since it is new to our guests. A second time lucky for us, the date we had chosen was still available to book. We love this place as the kids love the Frozen yogurt, not to mention that the venue is basically FREE with $120 for a 2 hour slot which included $120 worth of yogurt for our guests! The place is cosy for an intimate affair. And best of all, the healthy choices of yogurt adds on to my list of food and all our guests found it interesting to self-serve their own yogurt tubs. Read here for how to book the venue and what it has in place for a nice birthday venue!

Cost – $120

3. Food – (cost $300 for 23 pax)


I decided to cater dinner to Frozen yogurt cafe from Orange Clove. One good part for this party venue is that the owner allows outside catering. To add on to the food, we made some jellies, brought our own packet Ribena and drinks. Plus the Frozen yogurt in the package, food was certainly sufficient.

Cost – $300

1-2 days before the party

4. Think of activities for the kids to play 

I had to think of simple games for toddlers to play. There is a mix of age group in the party and this being a 3 year old party, the games have to cater for the toddlers.

Egg carton toss game – The elder kids made this game 1 day before the party – “Egg carton toss the ping pong ball” game. They painted some colours to differentiate the number of points. All you need to do is to toss the ping pong ball and see where it lands and add up the points. Easy for little hands.

Cost – Egg carton is free, pingpong ball $2 for pack of 6 from Daiso.



Pet Walkers game – I ordered 5 “Pet Walkers” for the little children. I wanted to have a game of “Walking the pet” by dividing the children into 2 groups for a competition. But we did not manage to host this game as the Egg Carton tossing game occupied the kids for most part of the game time.

Cost of each Pet Walker – $5.90 


Ball game – I brought along a ball for a dribble game along a line of coloured plastic cups.

Cost – Free (we have many balls at home, who doesn’t?)

Balloons – Balloons are almost a favourite game among children. Just blow a few extra balloons lying around, the children can pick them up and play without prompting.

Cost – $5 for a pack of 10 from party shop


White board – This is not really a game, we brought this to record the score for Egg Carton tossing game, but it ended up as one as the toddlers start to pick up markers and doodle on the board!

Cost – Free (We brought from home)


Dustbin – Oh, this is really not an intended game at all. The toddler found it fun to step on the pedal and see the dustbin lid jumps up.

Cost – Free (From Frozen yogurt cafe)


Pinata – We had 2 Cars pinatas by chance. The day before Missy 10 went to a birthday party and upon hearing our toddler’s party the next day, the kind classmate’s mother gave us 2 pinatas to add in the fun! So, on the day of the party, the elder kids rolled some newspapers together and made 2 batons. The kids took turns to hit on the pinatas. We bought some stickers, snacks, party favours 1 day before the party to stuff inside the pinatas.

Cost – We got them for free. Not too sure how much it cost per pinata. Can anyone advise me?


5. Party favours

Party favours are a must in all children’s parties. I stuffed them inside the pinatas, and told my children to take one of each of what they want when the pinatas burst and leave some for the rest of the kids. I am happy they did that and even gave the extras to other kids. Since most of the party favours were found inside the pinatas, I bought simple practical gifts for the older children  – A4 files from Popular, and “Pet Walkers” for the little ones. Usually, I bought $2 gifts from Daiso which I find affordable and practical. So this time is an exception for a different surprise for the children.

Cost – $4.90 for each file from Popular, $5.90 for each Pet Walker, $50 for all party favours which include snacks, stationery, stickers, etc from various party shops.

On the party day

6. Cake


After my first successful attempt to bake a cheesecake, Missy 10 suggested to me to bake one for Master 3’s birthday. I did have some doubts on whether I could reproduce the same results and was a little worried about how I should decorate it. I was glad that the cake turned out well and we drew a car on it to the delight of the birthday boy!

Cost – $25 (for ingredients to make a cheesecake)

7. Decorations


I re-use the “Happy Birthday” sign from Daiso for umpteen times. It serves me well. Add on a few balloons on the wall, viola, I have a simple decorated place for a birthday bash! If I have the time to plan much in advance, I would have surfed the web and printed out the letters for the banner. Just like what I did for last year’s Elmo birthday banner.

Cost – Same balloons used for games, $5 for pack of 10.

That’s it! All the above put in place within 3 days! Total cost of whole party about $550! Not too bad for a party for 23 pax!

Some of the useful resources that I had used for this party can be found below:

Pet walkers –

Catering from Orange Clove – (Try their olive oil spaghetti! I love it! We had butter rice that day.)

Frozen Yogurt cafe – Read here for my review or visit their facebook page.

More ideas on simple birthday parties:

A simple birthday celebration for 2 year old

A simple birthday celebration for 6 year old

A simple birthday celebration for 8 year old

Happy Birthday Master 3!


If you have a simple birthday celebration, do share with me your ideas so that I need not crack my brain for the 3 times a year kids’ parties!

7 thoughts on “Checklist for a simple birthday party

  1. Oh piñata are not cheap. Price range from SGD30+ to over SGD100. Depending on size and design. And considering that you are going to destroy it after that, it’s a waste of money. But I still got them for the kids cause they love it. Lol.

    • Really? They must be making good money for pinatas. There are many DIY tutorials online but being busy mums, and for our kids, once a while splurge is alright I guess 🙂 I agree it is a waste of money too, hence I am pretty sure we will not spend on one in future.

  2. I don’t need to tell you (of all people) that kids are really simple and they don’t need a fancy party with matching decorations and tableware… Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I don’t have the time to plan anything for them either, heehee!!

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