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Old-School Birthday Party Ideas with No DIY

Everything I write about on this blog is easy. It has to be, because I am both busy and lazy (a lethal combination). I’m always pushing the boundaries in terms of how little effort I can put into a fun party. So I threw an old-school birthday party, just like our parents did before Pinterest was around to make us feel bad about ourselves. You can do it too, just use these easy peasy old-school birthday party ideas!

Kids’ parties on Pinterest are often fancier than my wedding was. If you are one of those parents who love to bake or craft, then by all means, GO FOR IT. If making cakes or decorations gives you joy, that’s awesome. However, if it stresses you out, just say N-O to D-I-Y for your kids’ parties.

Contrary to what Pinterest would have you believe, there is no need to have a colour scheme for your child’s birthday party. You do not need a themed dessert table, and you do not need to bake the birthday cake yourself. In fact, you do not need to “DIY” a single aspect of your child’s party.

Your child does not care. They do not notice or appreciate the fact that you stayed up ALL NIGHT to make that amazing cake. If there are presents and dessert at the party, the kid will be happy. And YOU will be happy because you got some sleep and didn’t spend two weeks planning a party that lasts 2 hours.

To get you off on the right foot, here are my ideas for a Non-DIY party!


This has to be the easiest way to feed a bunch of kids in the summer. Hot dogs, buns, ketchup, done! I also added chips and fruit. Everything went in / on whatever bowls and trays I had handy.


How do you entertain kids at your Anti-Pinterest party with almost zero effort? I tossed the kids in our yard with a bunch of toys.

It was 37 degrees C, so the most popular toys were the slip n’ slide, water guns, and the hose. Yes, we gave the kids a hose with a spray nozzle attached. It was REALLY REALLY hot.


I also made a Pass-the-Parcel because that’s what my mom always did for my parties growing up. Nostalgia! This is the perfect party game because all the kids get to open a present, and they all get candy. Here’s how you prep it:

1) Take some candy. Wrap it up.

2) Add another candy on top, wrap it up. The parcel now has two candies and two layers of wrapping paper.

3) Repeat as desired. Make sure you have enough for each kid at the party to get at least one candy.

…And here’s how you play:

1) Sit all the kids in a circle. Turn on some music.

2) Have them pass the parcel around the circle.

3) When the music stops, the kid who’s holding the parcel gets to unwrap one layer and keep the candy inside.

4) Repeat until everyone has had a turn.

Loot Bags

I cut the zipper tops off of some baggies and filled them with candy. I tied them with ribbon.

I’ll be honest – at this point, I was like, “This is too ghetto. I have to make it cuter. I NEED TO CHECK PINTEREST.”

But I didn’t. And guess what? None of the kids cared. At all. They were happy because they got candy, and I was happy because the loot bags took ten seconds to put together.

For more ideas, check out these other posts:

Have you ever thrown an old-school non-DIY party?