Here is a list of totally doable (but totally fun) birthday party themes for kids, recommended by regular parents - not party planners!
We're rounding up our community's tried-and-true kids birthday party ideas, along with quick and easy tips for games, treats and unique party favors to go along with them. You can totally make these happen!
What kids party themes have been a big hit with your family? Add a new favorite to the list below, or post a review with your tips for any of the party themes already on the list.
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Sarah Calamita: Most cities have a rental company that will come set up teepees along with balloons, pillows, decorations, eye masks, blankets, etc for the perfect little sleepover party! Perfect for ages 6-13. We also set up a movie screen in the living room and gave them popcorn. Cutest sleepover party ever!
Minute to Win It Party
Shila: A carnival birthday party theme for kids can include a variety of familiar backyard games like cornhole, ring toss, etc. You can even rent (or buy) a few giant outdoor games to make things extra silly and festive! Set up a few tables for face painting and glitter tattoos, or even hire a balloon artist or a magician. Serve carnival-inspired treats like cotton candy, corn dogs and funnel cakes. Party favors can include balloons or gigantic stuffed animals awarded to a few special prize winners.
Mad Science Party
Shila: Mad Science can be an explosively fun birthday party theme for kids! You can host this at an outside venue or in your home, and the chosen experiment(s) can be instructor led or self guided depending on the ages of guests. There are many easy science experiments for kids to consider as the main activity.
Kelly R.: My tween went to a Survivor-themed birthday party and had a blast. The kids were divided into teams and had to compete in a variety of party games, like a trivia challenge and being the first to put on a frozen t-shirt. They got to take home their team color bandana and a tiki cup as party favors.
Shila: Call your local fire station to see if they offer firehouse tours or drive-by home visits from one of their big red firetrucks. If you can't secure it, firefighter birthday party themes can still be enjoyed at home with games like obstacle courses or a backyard scavenger hunt for "fires" to put out with a hose. Give away plastic chief hats as party favors!
Backyard Movie Night Party
Shila: For this fun and hands-on birthday party theme, lead kids through making their own slime with a simple slime recipe. Kids love it, and parents will love that the mess is made at someone else's house! You can let the kids have fun experimenting with different colors and mix-ins to create their own unique blend.
Food Truck Visit
Kelly R.: Hire a food truck to stop by your party, either for a birthday meal or just dessert. Kids and parents will love it, and you won't have to worry about preparing food for the party! This is a fun main event, or you could add it on to other outdoor themes for birthday parties, like a pool party or backyard movie party.
Shila: There are so many fun pool party ideas for kids, whether or not you have one in your backyard! Meet up at a local pool and serve pizza and cake under a pavilion, or check indoor water parks near you for winter birthdays. Plan some pool games or just let the kids swim and splash their hearts out!
You don't need a swimming pool to have water fun in your backyard. From slip n slides to water balloons and super soakers, kids will have a blast with backyard water toys for an at-home celebration.
Harry Potter Party
Alexandra F.: Throw your Harry Potter fans a party they'll never forget! Send invitations mimicking Hogwarts acceptance letters, then prepare decor, activities and food to theme. We've begun our Harry Potter parties by sorting kids into Houses, then rotating through "classes" by House. Favorite activities have included Potions (slime-making), Quidditch (pool noodles make the best brooms!), History of Magic (Harry Potter trivia), and Charms (magic show). Finish with a feast in the Great Hall - butter beer, chocolate frogs and licorice wands are easy to make, and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans are always a hit!
Alexandra F.: One of the best cartoons for kids is also an awesome birthday party theme for toddlers, preschoolers, and anyone who loves this energetic, imaginative and playful dog! We did a Bluey theme for our 5-year-old's birthday and my favorite part was how easy it was to incorporate imaginative games based on various cartoon episodes. We played Keepy Uppy, Octopus, Magic Asparagus and Dance Mode (freeze tag), but other fun options are What's the Time Mr. Wolf, Shadowlands, and Scavenger Hunt. If you're really ambitious, you can even make a Duck Cake!
Kelly R.: Buy or borrow a karaoke machine (it makes an awesome family gift if you don't have one yet) and let the kids dress up with feather boas, colorful sunglasses and other rock star accessories. Queue up some kid-favorite music and the rest basically takes care of itself!
Mystery Dinner Party
Alexandra F.: Though this will take more planning and preparation than your typical birthday party themes for kids, if your crew loves mysteries it will definitely be worth it! The birthday kid and their guests can work together to solve a mystery of your making during the festivities. Pre-made mystery party templates are available for purchase, or you can get really creative and make up your own! Here's a free murder mystery template for tweens you can use, or modify to prepare your own plot, character roles and instructions.
Tie Dye Party
Shila: Host an outdoor kid birthday party doing tie dye - it acts as a great main activity and doubles as an amazing birthday party favor! Provide plain white t-shirts for each guest to tie dye, either with a store-bought DIY tie dye kit or with the less-messy Sharpie method. Send home an index card of instructions for how long to wait until the shirts are ready to be worn.
Princess Tea Party
Shila: Invite guests to throw on their finest princess dress or costume, wear a crown or tiara and attend a white glove tea party themed birthday. Instead of tea, pour unlimited cups of chocolate milk served along with mini muffins, petite cupcakes, and adorable, triangular-cut jelly sandwiches.
Shila: There are many cooking schools that host parties for kids of all ages! Birthday party themes and recipes can range anywhere from make-your-own pizza to cupcake decorating wars. Families can hosts these type of parties at home, too. Select some easy recipes for kids and measure prepared bowls of ingredients in advance.
Shila: There are lots of great Hawaiian-inspired birthday party ideas for kids! Start by greeting guests with leis and flowered headbands. Grass skirts optional! Luau party games for kids can include the limbo, hula hooping, bowling with pineapples, and a musical game of hot potato - but with a coconut instead! Serve up plenty of shaved ice and/or fruity drinks dressed with cute mini umbrellas!
Shila: I love birthday party themes for kids that involve good old fashioned backyard fun! Let the kids play pirates and have a scavenger hunt to find buried treasure using a clue map (bonus if you can actually bury it, too!), compete in 3-legged races, play Sharks and Minnows, dive for sunken bags of gold (if you have a pool) or walk the plank (diving board) while playing a game of birthday boy or girl trivia, etc.
Shila: For the birthday child who loves glamour, hair, nails, and make-up design, provide birthday guests with individual make up kits filled with eye shadow, lip gloss, blush, hair chalk, etc. Give them makeovers or have them work on each other in pairs. Take plenty of photos and turn them into a collage to print or email later within your thank you cards!
These glamour-themed birthday parties can also be hosted at local spas and kid-friendly nail salons. Kids can go home with elaborate up-dos, colorful hair extension clip-ons, or French braids! Give a bottle of non-toxic nail polish as a party favor.
Shila: From "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" to "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," there are so many great picture books that would make cute birthday party themes for kids - and they make nice party favors to send home, as well! Kids can dress up as their favorite characters. The opportunities are endless and the main activity can be a live read aloud story time, followed by a craft and treat.
Mommyx3 (Monique H): This party would be a huge hit because who doesn't love a good emoji? :) It’s not surprising, I mean whether it’s the smiley face, the wink or the face palm, there is an emoji for absolutely everything and people love them. They have printable emoji decorations and plenty of party places sell them and even emoji games as well.
Shila: Out of water, a mermaid birthday party theme can include painting store-bought starfish or making shell jewelry. In the water, mermaid games can include relay races or diving for rings. Local swimming schools often host birthday parties and that can come with the benefit of lifeguards to help monitor the safety of little swimmers. Present Swedish Fish candy or Goldfish Crackers for snack!
Primary photo: Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels
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