Planning a birthday party for your child can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, there’s always a bevy of pizza-shilling animatronic nightmares ready to take your hard-earned cash. But with these do-it-yourself party games, your child’s next birthday can be cheap and easy.

1. Judge the Clown

Does anyone actually like clowns? What kind of person would become a clown? It’s time to find out. Even the most acrimonious mothers can come together to try to figure out what’s up with this person. Will you get a young girl who likes children but is just a little too eager? Or will you get an overweight 50-year-old man who keeps paintings of John Wayne Gacy in his parents’ basement? I mean, I’m guessing the latter, but I’ve never seen a clown in real life, so who knows?

2. Half-assed Balloon Animals

Balloon animals are pretty awesome, but doing them well requires a lot of practice. Sure, you could hire a professional to do it, but you don’t have to. Here’s a list of balloon animals even the least artistic parent could pull off themselves with minimal effort:

  • Snake
  • Legless Lizard
  • Worm
  • Sandworm
  • Maggot
  • Leech
  • Loach
  • Eel
  • Moray Eel
  • Electric Eel
  • Ebola

Is Ebola shaped like that? I don’t know. AND NEITHER DOES YOUR FOUR-YEAR-OLD.

3. Solid “Piñata”

Piñatas are a great outlet for your child’s boundless energy and insatiable thirst for violence. Plus, torturing animals is great training for a future job at Sea World. But piñatas aren’t without their downsides. Often, the piñata breaks before your child’s energy runs out. And then the giant piles of candy just make them even more rambunctious. So next time, don’t use a hollow piñata. Use one that’s completely solid. Just let the kids wail on it until they fall asleep. Mischief managed.

4. Pin the Tail on the Dumb Kid

Why bother drawing a donkey when there’s surely already a kid at the party who’s a total ass. He deserves a pin in his rump if you ask me. If you don’t know which kid is the dumb kid, well, then it’s probably your own. :-(

birthday cakeCake designed by Marco Galtarossa from the Noun Project

5. Slip'N Slide™

Do they still make these? I remember they were a lot of fun when I was a kid. But looking at it now, if I jumped onto the ground like that, I’d surely break a few ribs. Is the fact that the ground is wet really supposed to change anything? What, are kids just indestructible or what? Or is it just because they don’t weigh very much.

It seems like a summer-only activity, but if your child’s birthday is in the winter and you live in a cold climate, you can still play this game. Just replace the Slip’N Slide with an icy sidewalk. Wheeeeee!

If you do choose to get a Slip’N Slide, be sure to hire a lifeguard to keep an eye out for Ghost Sharks.

6. Kitty's “Sandbox”

I know what you’re thinking. The child will end up playing in cat poop. Really? You’re concerned about that, Mr. Takes-His-Diaper-Baby-Swimming? A public pool is a giant collection of other people’s kids peeing and pooping in a tub of water which you then spray up your nose. And you’re worried about a litter box? Get some perspective. At least the cat litter will clump around your child and lock them in place once they start peeing in it themselves.

7. Seven Minutes in Heaven

A staple of middle school make-out parties, this game can be adapted for children’s parties. No, I’m not suggesting having toddlers making out. Instead, put your screaming child in the closet by themselves. Then, just relax and enjoy the nicest seven minutes of your day. The more soundproof the closet is, the better. Just make sure there’s no drain cleaner or anything in there.

8. Laundromat

Hmm, I count seven loads of laundry that need doing and seven children with nothing to do. Seems like a perfect match. They can all do their loads at the same time at the local laundromat. It’s the perfect environment for a bunch of children running around. You won’t even be able to hear their screaming over the din of all the washers and dryers churning. The Laundromat People seem like the kind of folks who would be unfazed by children flailing about all around them. Sure, the 50-year-old Vietnamese woman will yell at you. But let’s be honest, she was gonna yell at you anyway. She always yells at you. Who knows why? You probably set down your basket on “her” table or something. Don’t worry about it.