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12th Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Kate Degen


There’s a dozen reasons why turning 12 is the best! Celebrate with one of our awesome 12th birthday party ideas!

Softball Party
This softball party is sure to be a grand slam! Have guests wear their favorite softball jersey or t-shirt. Use astroturf or a grass-like material to cover the treat table and use a red and white stripe table runner. Get red and blue balloons for behind the table and use plastic home plates as serving trays. Set up a hot dog station and serve snacks like potato chips and sunflower seeds in mini baseball mitts (line them with cling wrap to keep them clean). Get a tiered cake decorated with a softball diamond, gloves, and bats, and complement it with softball cake pops. Set up a softball camp outside and test everyone’s skills at swinging and hitting from the tee. Get a softball shaped pinata but instead of using a stick, use a plastic bat! Hand out baggies of field favorites like cracker jacks and bubble gum.

Equestrian Party
This equestrian party will have everyone jumping out of their seats. Create a vintage tablescape by decorating a wood plank table with a burlap runner. Decorate with horse trophies, flowers in mason jars, and hang horseshoes from the front of the table. Use metal pedestals to hold hay barrel rice crispie treats and cupcakes with green grass frosting and horse figurines on top. Don’t forget the trail mix, horseshoe sugar cookies, and a horse’s favorite— carrots and celery! Play pin the tail on the horse and set up a horseshoe game outside. Make this party incredible by renting a horse or pony for rides in the backyard! After everyone’s turn on the horse, hand them a ribbon with their initials on it to take home. All the guests will love horsing around!

Miami Party
Welcome to Miami! Bring the beach and the energy to you with this cosmopolitan celebration. Decorate with paper cutouts of yachts, and get big blow up palm trees for around the house! Get beach balls and lay them all over the ground. Create a treat table with a silver tablecloth and serve Cuban sandwiches, tacos, and frozen drinks (virgin of course!). Get an over the top cake with 3 tiers, and decorate with silver icing, palm leaves, and glitter. Bring a dance teacher to the party to give everyone a salsa lesson! Once you’ve learned the moves, set up a dance floor and party it up like it’s a real Miami club! If the weather is nice, set up a volleyball court outside and have a competition! Send everyone home with a pair of bright sunglasses and a beach towel.

Video Game Party
Game on! Is your 12 year old obsessed with Mario, Donkey Kong, or their Wii? Power up with this video game celebration. Decorate with a black tablecloth and bright green pedestals and balloons. Hang video game characters on the wall behind the table along with gold star balloons! Instead of cake, serve Toad cupcakes! Ice vanilla cupcakes with red frosting and put round white chocolates on top—don’t forget to draw eyes on the front of the wrapper! Get game controller-shaped sugar cookies along with Princess Peach gummy rings and chocolate gold coins. Get the party started with an ultimate gaming competition. Depending on the size of your group, set up 2 to 4 TVs with Nintendo, PlayStation, XBOX, and Wii consoles. Let everyone play their favorite game, or create teams and see who wins the most matches! For some fresh air, take the party outside for a Yoshi egg hunt! Hide plastic eggs with candy inside all around your yard. Whoever finds the most eggs wins a video game! For favors, hand out tubes of green gumballs with “GAME OVER” stickers down the front.

Pirate Party
Ahoy mateys! This pirate and treasure birthday party is pure gold. Decorate your space with anchors, ships, and treasure chests. And don’t forget the parrot pinata! Set up a chest full of chocolate coins and have each kid guess how many are inside— the closest guess wins all the booty! Play a round of pin the patch on the pirate, or set up an eye patch station with construction paper, large elastic bands, and decorative goodies, so everyone can make their own eye patch to wear home! Feed the hungry pirates a ship-shaped cake or pirate cake pops! Don’t forget fish tacos or fried clam po’boys. Did sailing the seven seas tire everyone out? Finish off the day with a pirate movie like Treasure Island!

Luau Party
Mahalo! Bring the spirit of Hawaii to you with this luau celebration! Have everyone wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt or beach gear, and place a lei on all the guests as they arrive. For girls, have a bucket of hair flowers, too! Create a tablescape with a blue tablecloth that’s adorned with palm tree leaves. Hang grass skirts behind the table along with pineapple balloons! Serve tacos, Hawaiian pizza, and slices of fresh fruit. Get a palm tree cake and accompany it with upside down cake pops decorated as pineapples! Create a drink station with bright colored juices, fruits, straws, and umbrellas, so everyone can make their own refreshing drink. Hire a hula instructor to come teach everyone a traditional dance. Don’t forget to hand out the grass skirts! You can even hire a ukulele player to come play songs that make it sound just like Hawaii! For favors, send everyone home with a ukulele to practice at home!

Snow Tubing Party
This snow tubing party is super cool! If the birthday boy or girl has a winter birthday, bring the party to a snow tubing course for some high energy fun! Make sure everyone brings snow gear and boots. Hand out the party favors at the beginning of the day so everyone can use them on the slopes— snow tubes for everyone! After everyone is frozen solid, bring the party to the lodge and set up a table with hot chocolate, powdered doughnuts, and a tiered cake with white icing and edible glitter to look like snow. If you prefer cupcakes, opt for icy treats made with blue velvet cake and decorated with white frosting and coconut shavings or sugar glitter. Don’t forget the peppermint patties! Along with their snow tubes, send everyone home with a bag of snowflake sugar cookies.

Baking Party
Does your kid have a knack for whipping up something sweet? Bake up some fun with a baking party! Give everyone an apron to wear that they can keep when they leave (check online or a craft store for kid’s sizes). Create a dessert table with a homemade “bakery” sign above it using the birthday girl’s name, like “Welcome to Sam’s Bakery!” Set up pedestals with a cake and other bakery favorites. Make sure to leave one empty for the delicious treats you make with the group! Have everyone set up around the kitchen counter as you make a batch of cookies. Let everyone help with the ingredients. As they bake, have a cupcake race! Split the group into 2 teams and give each team a spatula and a cupcake. Each team member has to run down to one end of the yard and back without dropping the cupcake. First team to finish wins! When the cookies are done, set up a decorating station with frosting, sprinkles, and even candy and salty treats, like pretzels. Let everyone create their own concoction. Send everyone off with their cookies and a cookie recipe card so they can make them again at home.

Under the Sea Party
This party is sure to make a splash! Bring the sea to life by twisting green streamers and taping them to the wall to look like seaweed. Hang a pink paper lantern from the ceiling, paste on eyes, and hang 8 pink streamers to create an octopus. Use a bright blue tablecloth on the treat table and decorate it with seashells and fishnet. Serve sandwiches on croissants (they look like shells), crunchy cheese stick coral, and blue Kool Aid ocean juice. Create beachy cupcakes with the birthday boy or girl’s favorite cake, vanilla icing, and cinnamon sugar on top to look like sand! Play pin the claw on the crab or have an under the sea treasure hunt! Hide sea-like goodies around the house like mermaids, shells, scuba divers, and more. Have everyone pick an item to find out of a treasure chest, and when they find it, it’s their favor to keep!

Crew Boat Party
1-2 is totally crew! Sail away with this nautical celebration! Hang a ship’s wheel on your front door and give every sailor a hat when they arrive. Order sailor hats in bulk, then use red and blue fabric paint to write everyone’s name on the front. Set the treat table with a red or blue chevron tablecloth. Decorate with buoys and wood anchors. Forgo the cake and bake blue velvet cupcakes with white wrappers. Use sticks and nautical paper cut into triangles as sails on top! Serve fruit in a watermelon boat, goldfish crackers, and sailboat-shaped cookies. Let everyone create their own sailboat! Before the party, create boat bases using popsicle sticks and glue. Help each guest pick a base, pick a sail from a variety of paper triangles, and glue them together. Fill up a kiddie pool and let each captain see how their boat floats! To really take this party up a notch, charter a boat to take everyone out on the water, or sign the group up for a sailing lesson!

Kate wants her work to impact the little but important moments in people’s lives—like birthdays, anniversaries, and family celebrations. She loves coming up with witty copy that might inspire someone to create an awesome t-shirt!

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