The Turning Three Rocks Tour: Levi’s Rockstar Birthday Party

rockstar birthday party on a budget - super fun kids party idea. who doesn't love a rockstar party?!

I’m a sucker for a good party. Always have been.

And just like most women out there, I enjoy perusing pinterest and looking at pretty things or seeing stuff that sparks my creativity. (You can find me here.)

What I’m not into is feeling pressured to perform. I’m sure you’re not either.

I’ve been seeing a lot online lately about rejecting the ideal of a pinterest-worthy fill-in-the-blank, and I totally get that. If we’re stuck in comparison and jealousy and drive to perform or compete then we are stuck in a special kind of hell. (I don’t recommend that for anyone.)

So moms, do your own thing when it comes to party planning for your kids’ birthdays. If your fun is to head to the park with a store bought cake and play freeze tag and open presents, then do it. Do it well and do it proudly. Your kid will love you for it. And if you’re like me and love the excuse to get out a glue gun, organize away, and have a bit of hoopla, then I say go for it. Just know why you’re doing it.

I’ve had such fun throwing my kids’ parties over the last couple of years – Levi’s first birthday sock monkey party and his second birthday cowboy party, and Judah’s first birthday circus party. I’m now gearing up for Judah’s second birthday dinosaur party. (Considering he turns two in a week and a half, maybe I should get cracking on that!)

But I really wanted to post about Levi’s rockstar birthday party before I move on to another… considering he turned three in January. (Yikes.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party guitar cake and place settings with records.

You have to know that I enjoy this. I decorate and craft and whatever because I think it’s fun, not because I think I have to in order to be supermom.

You also have to know that I do this on a budget. I personally think it’s ridiculous to spend tons of money on kids birthday parties when they are just concerned with getting cake, inviting the right friends, and opening some fun presents. (Just my opinion for our own family.)

I hope these ideas will serve other moms in your own craftabulous party endeavour, without heaping on any more pressure to perform in a way that isn’t life-giving to you. I share because it’s something I enjoy and comes easily for me, so if others can copy and tweak that and make it a little easier on themselves, then awesome. Go for it and be blessed.

Ok? Ok.

Now that we have that cleared up… on to the party:

Rockstar birthday party invitation

For Levi’s third birthday we had a rockstar party and it was so. much. fun. (Plus, I got to dress up in my ridiculous shiny, snake skin printed skinnies and wear way too much jewelry and not feel like I needed to explain why this is ok for a 35-year-old woman. Score for mom.)

Levi has always been into music and so this seemed like the perfect fit. Here’s what I pulled together:

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party guitar cake - easy and adorable

I’m so proud of this rockstar guitar cake! (Er, um bass guitar.) I am NOT a kitchen wizz, you have to understand. I actually made this from a box mix in a regular cake pan and then just cut it out to look like a guitar. I froze the cake before frosting it and let me tell you, this is the best trick everrrrrrr and made the cake so moist. (Dear facebook community: thank you. I will be forever grateful for your incredible why-didn’t-I-already-know-this Cake Baking 101 tip.) I will never not freeze a cake before frosting it ever again. It makes a regular old box cake taste amazing. And, of course, it made it much easier to frost without everything crumbling apart.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party with the easiest-ever guitar cake

I made a simple but yummy cream cheese frosting (in my opinion, the only type of frosting… and the type that may or may not have compelled me to eat some with a spoon) and then I used licorish ropes for the strings and silver candy balls for a few little touches. I was really happy with how this cake turned out and it gave me confidence to keep at it in the future… even though I’d rather be doing almost anything but baking. (Totally not my thing. Except for the eating part.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party rice crispy treat microphones

I made these little microphones by rolling rice crispy treat balls, sticking them into cones, and then rolling them in silver sprinkles. Easy peasy. (Honestly they didn’t taste amazing, but that’s more a reflection on Australian marshmallows. I get homesick for American marshmallows sometimes – don’t judge!)

I also served cheese and crackers (cheese cut into stars with a cookie cutter), apple and peanut butter stacks (thank you pinterest – why had I never thought of those before?), and a few veggies, grapes, and pretzels. Simple, easy, and totally kid-friendly.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party place setting

I got a handful of records off of Freecycle (big fan!) and used them as placemats. We had a few bright plates, cups, and napkins and simple little name cards that I printed and colored with Levi. (Download a free printable PDF template for the kids rockstar party name cards here.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party table decorations - use a record for place settings

For everything else, I just picked colors I liked and then repeated them throughout: red, orange, yellow, and blue. (And see that red table cloth? My go-to for everything: Christmas, Valentines, birthdays, you name it. I picked it up several years ago at an after Christmas sale. Such a great purchase.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party easy party backdrop

This was the cutest, cheapest, easiest backdrop! I had a few pieces of bright-colored paper that I cut into zigzags and then strung some balloons on a piece of thread. I’m not sure I’ll ever pine over helium balloons again – this is so easy and cheap. I’ll probably do the exact thing for Judah’s party later this month, only with different colors. The whole thing took me less than fifteen minutes.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - get some temporary tattoos

We dressed up a little and made sure we had enough tattoos for all the kids. (Why is a toddler with tattoos just soooo cute? And why does my husband think putting a tie on his head transforms him into a rockstar? #lifesgreatmysteries)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party

When the kids first arrived we pointed them toward the tattoos and this little decorate-your-own-guitar craft station.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - decorate your own guitar station

We set up the coffee table–I mean craft station–with crayons, puffy letters, stickers, and a few other things and let the kids go for it. For the guitars I just collected some discarded boxes from the back of a hardware store and cut out a few different shaped guitars for the kids to choose what they liked. (And no, I have no template for the shapes; I just eyeballed them using google images.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party: decorate your own guitar     Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - decorate your own guitar

This would be very cute to do with paint, but our littles were all three and under so I figured the simpler the better.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party Activity: decorate your own guitar

I set up a music station with every musical instrument we own (we happen to love music and so have a few). I also picked a few extras up at the thrift store and got the keyboard and microphone from another kind Freecycler. I also moved some pictures from other parts of the house to rock the scene a tiny bit. (This photo is from before the kids arrived – duh.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party musical instrument station

Even the littlest of guests love making noise.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party-11     Rockstar Kids Birthday Party-10

And let me tell you about the part of the fiesta where we got our groove on. The littles went bananas, in the cutest possible sense.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party dance time

And a Booker family rockstar party wouldn’t be complete without my husband teaching all the kids his favorite move. We call this “the cockroach” and it never ceases to entertain.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - dance party

And yo, my birthday boy knows how to bust a move. He’s got skills (and facial expressions) the rest of us only dream of.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - dancing it up    Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - he's pretty into the dancing

After a few dance songs (I think we did two or three structured ones and then one free dance) we got out the instruments and let them bang away for another two songs. I warned the parents ahead of time that it was going to be loud and chaotic and we just went with it. (This actually looks pretty mellow compared to how it sounded.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - let the kids go crazy with instruments for a song or two. Loud but super fun.

The kids had a blast and could have kept going… but we cut them off after the fifth or sixth song (always better to end on a high, right?!). Thank goodness for the allure of presents to entice those noisy instruments to the “backstage” area.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - opening presents

For party favors I compiled some of Levi’s favorite kids music and made mix CDs for the kids to take home. The CD jackets are just folded paper stapled together with labels I made on the computer, printed on regular paper, and glued on. (Download a free printable PDF template for the kids rockstar party CD labels here.) I also had some little cardboard star box thingies that I picked up at an after Christmas sale for $.25 each, spray painted them red, filled them with candy, and wrote the kids’ names on them. (I didn’t take a close-up photo of those, but you can sort-of see them in the guitar decorating station photo above.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party CD mix of favorite kids songs as a party favor

We’re trying to make it a point to get a family photo at every birthday – usually after everyone leaves when we’re not quite ready to quit partying and start cleaning up just yet. We balance the camera on a stack of books, turn on the self-timer, and hope for the best.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - attempting a family photo booth shot

Sometimes we have amazing luck and everyone is actually looking and smiling at the camera. (Miracles do happen, friends.)

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party - don't forget the family pic in front of the cute backdrop!

Most importantly, this little guy and his brother had a blast with us and with his friends. And you know what? Ryan and I had a great time too.

Rockstar Kids Birthday Party photo booth with paper strips and a couple of easy props.

And just because: a little afterparty shot of Judah. (I’m @adrielbooker on instagram.) He’s the cutest little rocker in diapers, dontchya think?

sleepy little rockstar

Happy partying, friends.

Adriel x

Want more kids party ideas on a budget?


About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Mom
    21 September 2013 at 12:36 pm

    You are SO creative! And we both know you didn’t get your love for any “excuse to get out a glue gun” from me … lucky boys! xo

  • Adriel
    21 September 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Haha, what can I say? I’m a craft nerd!

  • Lisa @bitesforbabies
    21 September 2013 at 3:34 pm

    That looks like an AMAZING party!!!! I can’t wait to plan parties like this when my kids get a bit older!!!
    Lisa @bitesforbabies recently posted..Bye-Bye “Bottomless Pit!”My Profile

  • Suleydy
    25 September 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Hi I love your rock star party idea is awesome I think my ill boy would love that as well for his upcoming birthday I was wondering where did you get the template for the party invitation? I would love to know pls thank you…

  • Mary
    19 October 2013 at 1:46 pm

    You are just so clever. I am in the process of planning my son’s cowboy second birthday in which I plan to copy most, if not all of your ideas and now can’t wait to start planning for this one too (rock star) oh well, one thing at a time. And even though we don’t celebrate Halloween in Australia I am also planning a little party for some toddler friends (another confessed party planner sucker) I think I am just going to keep on following you forever!! Thank you

  • Jessica
    20 February 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I love this! I am throwing a budget rocker party for my son and I love your ideas! I’ll be using lots of old vinyl records and making the backdrop and microphones for sure! I really think the mix CD is an awesome favor idea, so cheap! Can you please tell me how to personalize the label? I’m not familiar with PDFs. Thanks so much!

    • Adriel
      26 March 2014 at 6:40 am

      so glad you can use some of these ideas jessica! have a great party!! x

  • […] Levi’s 3rd birthday rock star party […]

  • Suzanne
    2 January 2016 at 8:03 am

    OK how do I edit this pdf of your labels? I LOVE it and need for next weekend! Please help!

  • Olivia
    16 November 2016 at 1:05 am

    It looks like so much fun! I bet your children really enjoyed helping you with the preparations. Probably not as much as they enjoyed playing with them but still…:) You managed to spend some quality time together and pull off an amazing party. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your joy with us!

  • Faz
    19 January 2017 at 8:02 am

    Dearest Adriel

    Greetings from beautiful South Africa. I stumbled across your blog today as my eldest finally made up her mind that she’d like a rockstar birthday theme party in 15 days.

    I absolutely LOVE how you began this blog… I’ve come across so many Mammas competing to throw the bestest bash as a show off even though they could’ve saved their pennies.

    It took me s while to realise that all kids want is to play with their friends n cousins, a birthday cake and snacks. Your creative ideas definitely lifted a huge load off my shoulders.

    Its been 3 hours later and I just cannot stop reading your memoirs, it’s very inspiring. Many thanks for sharing your experiences, advice and inspiring so many Mammas out there.

    Stay Blessed!

    1 February 2017 at 7:01 pm

    That party looked like so much fun!!! Your little man must have loved it. I know my son would too. My son is 3 and he always pretends to be the Foo Fighters! haha. You are very clever 🙂 recently posted..10 outfits a dayMy Profile

  • Stacy Walker
    5 May 2019 at 7:47 am

    I love your backdrop! I’m looking to recreate it. What size paper did you use? Was is cardstock, construction, tissue paper? Did you glue zigs together to get the streamer longer? 🙂 Great job!

  • Natalie S
    25 September 2021 at 3:48 am

    May I know how you made the cake. Is there a tutorial online? Help! 🤓


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