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Your child might be counting down the days to their birthday party, but you might be a bit anxious. After all, you’re the party planner responsible for keeping all of those kids entertained. Engaging themes and festive games can help your party go off without a hitch.
Plan a memorable birthday party with these fun kids birthday party ideas.
#1 Drive-In Movie
Do you have a movie-loving kid in your house? Let a movie be the inspiration behind your next birthday party. A “drive-in” movie from the comfort of your own backyard or family room allows kids to catch their favorite flick with friends. You can carry this movie theme throughout the event. To begin, think of what movie you want to watch and how you will stream it. You can set your movie up outdoors with a projector aimed on a screen, the side of your house or even a bedsheet. Or, just use your indoor television if you have space for all your guests.
Incorporate the drive-in theme in a couple of ways. For an outdoor event, kids can bring their favorite ride-on toy, which they can pull up to the outdoor movie. Or, stock up on boxes that kids can decorate to look like their very own car, perfect for a drive-in show indoors or out. Serve popcorn, candy, and other movie-themed treats for kids to enjoy during the show.
#2 All About Animals
Animal lovers will be delighted by a birthday party centered on their favorite species––and chances are, their friends will enjoy it, too. An animal-themed birthday party comes in many forms and can be inspired by your child’s interest. Here are a few ideas.
Got puppy fever? Host a puppy adoption party for your child’s birthday. Every child can “adopt” a stuffed dog and do some crafts related to the theme, whether they’re making a collar for their new pup or drawing a picture of their favorite dog.
Host your birthday party at an animal-inspired spot to give kids an up-close-and-personal look at the animal kingdom. Your local zoo or a farm can be a fun place to celebrate a birthday, and many offer birthday party packages. Kids can walk around the zoo or farm and see different animals and then end their celebration with an animal-themed birthday cake and ice cream.
Even if you don’t have a zoo nearby suitable for hosting your party, you can still host a zoo-themed bash. Choose animal print tablecloths, and use small toy animals as tabletop decor or even cake decorations. Kids can do bear walk races or make animal face masks to keep busy and stay on theme.
#3 Cupcake Wars
Get mouths watering by hosting a cupcake wars birthday party perfect for the budding baker in your house. Even elementary school-aged kids can use their creativity to design delicious and decadent desserts, all while having plenty of fun.
This birthday party theme is inspired by kids’ baking competitions like Cupcake Wars. This birthday party theme isn’t just naturally festive––it also offers a lot of creative fun for kids. Use the cupcake theme throughout the party, including the decorations. Outfit kids with their own apron, and give them some fabric markers where they can write their name or decorate it before the bash begins.
Before the party, bake a couple dozen cupcakes––enough for each child to have a couple to decorate. Leave the decorating to the kids. Different colored icing and piping bags let kids design their own cupcakes. Offer plenty of toppings, from classics like sprinkles to more creative choices like chocolate candies, chocolate chips, jelly beans, gumdrops, and more. You can give kids a prompt for decorating or just let them use their own creativity. For added fun, give each cupcake a special award, like most colorful or most likely to be sold at a bakery so that every child goes home a winner. For dessert, of course, kids can dive into their cupcake creations.
#4 Dart Gun Fun
If your child loves dart guns, this is the birthday party idea for you. All you need is wide open space and a team of kids who love to play. Some areas even have dart gun gyms that you can rent out for birthday parties, giving your guests plenty of space to run and play.
Rather than just having kids run wild all party long, take some time to create different obstacles and games they can play with their darts. You can set up targets using paper plates on the ledge of a deck or fence, for example, which kids can try to knock down. Stack plastic or paper cups into a pyramid, and see who can knock all of the cups down first. Set the kids up on different teams and play a dodgeball-inspired game using darts instead of balls.
#5 Backyard Carnival
Going to the carnival might not be a regular occurrence for your kids, which means a backyard carnival can be an extra special way to celebrate a special day. Use the big top as your inspiration for decor and fun. Decorate with red-and-white striped tablecloths and brightly colored streamers and balloons. Plan a carnival-inspired menu featuring foods like hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy.
The real fun of a backyard carnival is all of the games you can play. Fortunately, planning these games doesn’t require a lot of equipment or planning. Stack plastic water bottles into a pyramid, and let kids knock them over by throwing a ball at the tower. Use a cornhole board, if you have one, to create a fun bean bag toss. Blow up balloons and tape them to a fence. See if kids can pop a balloon by throwing a dart at it. If you have a willing participant, let kids throw a whipped cream pie in the face of a very cooperative Mom or Dad. Have small prizes and trinkets on hand to reward kids after they complete each game.
#6 Lego Masters
The Lego obsession is real for a lot of kids, and chances are you’re going to have a child who wants to throw a Lego-themed bash at some point. Fortunately, Legos are a hit among boys and girls in many age groups, so this theme can keep everyone entertained. To start, use this theme to inspire your party decorations. Use primary colors of red, yellow, and blue for your decor. Cut cardstock in those colors into squares and shapes and add circles.
Then, think of activities that will keep little builders engaged and interested. A big bin of Legos is always a hit. Add Legos to an empty table and kids can crowd around it and make different creations. Or, give kids their own bin, along with a prompt, such as “build a vehicle,” to see what the kids can come up with. Consider the kids’ Lego-building abilities when choosing the prompt.
Let kids make Lego minifigure masks so that they can dress up like their favorite character.
#7 We All Scream for Ice Cream
You’re probably not going to find a kid who isn’t pumped for a tasty bowl of ice cream, so why not make it the theme of your kid’s birthday party? For the ice-cream loving kid, this party theme is the perfect choice. Set up an ice cream bar where kids can get creative with their ice cream and toppings to create a sundae just for them. First, choose your flavors––or, more specifically, let the birthday guy or gal choose their favorite flavors. While you might always want classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate on hand, let your child choose at least one of their favorite flavors too, no matter how crazy it is.
Then, plan your toppings. Your options are endless here, so get creative and plan toppings with your child’s tastes in mind. Start with the classics: hot fudge, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and sprinkles. Then, get creative with crushed cookies, chocolate candies, gummy worms, marshmallows, brownie bits, sliced strawberries, blueberries and bananas offer plenty of options that they can enjoy. Once they make their sweet masterpiece, they won’t soon forget this ice-cream-themed celebration.
#8 Craft Challenge
Crafty kids will enjoy a birthday party that gives them opportunities to use their creativity with friends. Host a craft-themed celebration that centers on the types of crafts your kid loves to tackle. Consider a painting party where each kid gets a canvas or unfinished wooden shape, along with paints and brushes, to make a creation to take home.
Celebrate a birthday with a jewelry-making party. Beads, string, and wire are all the kids will need to create dazzling pieces that they can wear during the party and then take home. Learn to make friendship bracelets and exchange them for a lasting memory.
If your birthday guy or gal simply can’t settle on just one craft, then set up some stations around the party, where kids can move about freely and craft and play. Playing with homemade dough, building a cardboard creation, or sketching a favorite picture are just a few stations you can incorporate that will please kids of all ages and skill levels.
#9 Spa Day
A little bit of pampering can be a lot of fun when you’re celebrating her birthday. Host a spa-themed birthday party that gives the gift of relaxation and fun. Fortunately, for kids, your spa day party doesn’t require a trip to a luxury spa. It just means turning your home into a spot where your girl and her pals can enjoy a little luxury.
Set up a manicure and pedicure station where girls can choose a color and have their nails painted. A vanity filled with makeup products can serve as a spot for every guest to enjoy a little makeover. Consider giving each girl a kid-friendly makeup palette as a gift to use and then take home.
Girls can make a DIY sugar scrub with just a few ingredients––sugar, coconut oil and her favorite essential oil––that they can use to soften their skin and then take home. Purchase some fun sheet face masks to let them wear for added pampering. She’ll feel fabulous after this spa birthday party.
#10 Camping Party
Your child might not be ready for a sleepover, but that doesn’t have to stop you from hosting a camping-themed birthday party. Set up a tent or two in the backyard to create a spot where kids can play. Design a nature scavenger hunt that sends kids on a hunt for a variety of items throughout your backyard or neighborhood. When kids complete it, they can share what they found.
Keep the food on theme, too. Kids can enjoy grilled hot dogs, baked beans, trail mix, and other items that you might pack when you’re camping. Backyard games like sack races and kid-friendly horseshoes can keep your guests entertained. At the end of the party, set up a s’mores station, where kids can toast marshmallows over the campfire and enjoy a sweet treat.
#11 Holiday Themes
If your child’s birthday falls near a holiday, then use that holiday as inspiration for birthday party themes and activities. For example, an October birthday is well suited for a Halloween-themed bash. Kids can wear costumes, trick-or-treat around the party, and listen to spooky music. Have a February baby? Host a Valentine’s-themed celebration where your space is decorated with pink and red hearts and let kids create and deliver sweet messages to each other. A November birthday can celebrate the colors of the season, with kids going on a leaf scavenger hunt and enjoying crisp autumn air. Use the season as inspiration for your celebration.
#12 Beach Party
A beach-themed birthday brings all the fun of a day at the beach to your child’s birthday––sand optional! Choose an ocean-inspired color scheme for your decor, incorporating hues of blue into your space. Select a few beach-themed crafts and games. Kids can play volleyball with a beach ball, paint a seashell, or design their favorite ocean creature. Incorporate sand and water into your party if it will be held outdoors. Hide small plastic sea creatures in a sandbox, where kids can dig, or pull out the sprinkler or backyard pool for a splashing good time.
#13 Outer Space Bash
Give your kid’s birthday an outer space theme that’s seriously out of this world. If you have a child who dreams of being an astronaut or thinks spaceships are just the coolest, then this is the right party theme for their birthday. Kids can build their own rocketship using boxes, duct tape, and other craft supplies, get creative with cloud dough, and play “planet toss” with colorful balls. Try some glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark stickers on the wall to carry the space theme throughout your party space. Black backdrops with colorful planets and stars set the tone for festive, on-theme decorations, too.
#14 Field Day Games
Got an active group of kids coming to your party who are going to want to move? Classic playground games serve as the inspiration for your next birthday party. This party theme requires plenty of space where kids can run and play, making a park or spacious backyard the perfect spot. Set up stations where teams of kids can play different games, including three-legged races, sack races, wheelbarrow races, and egg-on-a-spoon races. If the weather is warm, add some fun water play into the event, such as water balloons or games like drip-drip-drop, a fun play on duck-duck-goose.
#15 Nature Play
For kids who love to get out and explore, a nature-themed birthday party can be a blast. Host this party in a park, or get together to navigate a kid-friendly hiking trail as a group. Equip kids with binoculars or bug catchers and let them explore and see what they can find. Take this activity a step further by letting kids share what they found and then use those items, from branches and pinecones to greenery and flowers, to create a cool nature collage to take home. Kids can enjoy a picnic lunch in the open outdoors and then celebrate with cake and ice cream.
Did you find a birthday party idea that you love in this list? By choosing a creative theme that speaks to your child’s interests, you can design a birthday party that’s memorable for your special guy or gal. Read this for more birthday party planning tips.