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Birthday Party Ideas and Themes for Kids

Posted By Kate Degen


One of the best parts of being a kid is turning another year older, and the party that comes with it, of course! Celebrate with these fun birthday party ideas for kids.

Video Game Party
Game on! Is your kid 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 his 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 prize. For favors, hand out tubes of green gumballs with “GAME OVER” stickers down the front.

Swimming Party
This swimming party will be a total splash! If you have a pool at home, have everyone wear their favorite bathing suit, and give everyone a pair of goggles as they arrive. Set up a treat table with a blue tablecloth and serve summer foods like watermelon wedges and fish and chips (goldfish and potato chips) in beach pails. Hang pool noodles as a backdrop and use pool towels as table runners. Get a pool-shaped cake with sugar pool floaties on top! Complement it with beach ball cake pops and sandal sugar cookies. Outside, play pool games like Marco Polo or pool basketball! It is a swimming party, so have a swimming contest— whoever swims to one side of the pool and back the fastest wins! If you don’t have a pool at home, look into group rates at your local pool or recreation center. Send everyone home with their very own pool float or noodle.

Camping Party
Is your kid a natural outdoorsman? Let’s take the celebration outside with a camping party! Keep the group small and invite everyone for a sleepover under the stars. Set up tents in the backyard around a campfire— but not too close! Make sure everyone brings a sleeping bag and a pillow. Roast hot dogs for dinner and set up a trail mix station for a crunchy treat. Mix up green Kool-Aid in a punch bowl with plastic bugs for some refreshing “bug juice.” Before the sun goes down, have a nature scavenger hunt— pick 10 items that the group has to find outside. No camp out is complete without s’mores! After the scavenger hunt is done, toast marshmallows over the fire while everyone tells their favorite ghost story. In the morning, send everyone off with their own s’mores kit so they can have s’more fun at home!

Karaoke Party
Does the birthday boy or girl have a solid set of pipes? A karaoke party is sure to hit a high note! Create a tablescape with a black tablecloth, paper stars, and glitter confetti. Forgo the cake for microphone cake cones! Bake chocolate cupcakes in bright colored cake cones. Frost them with chocolate frosting and add silver sprinkles on top. Don’t forget the rock candy and guitar-shaped sugar cookies! For the karaoke stage, use metallic garland to create a backdrop. Use a black roll of paper to create the stage and a small runway. Before the party, create a list of your child’s favorite songs for everyone to sing! Have a box of rock star accessories by the stage with feather boas, sunglasses, and wigs! Send everyone home with a small gift card to buy music at home.

Karate Party
Hi-ya! Kick it with this thrilling Karate Party. Take the party to the karate studio for a private class. Consider making it a smaller group so everyone gets personal attention when learning the moves. After the lesson, serve Asian-inspired treats to refuel like rice and veggie sushi rolls, chocolate-dipped pretzel nunchucks, and ninja cheese— just peel the red strip off of one side of a BabyBel cheese wheel, and use food coloring to draw eyes into the white cheese showing through! Get a karate ghi cake with a belt, or serve cupcakes with ninja faces on top. Play a game of pickup and see who can pick up the most small candies with chopsticks in a short amount of time. Give the winner their own plastic nun-chucks! Have all the guests sign a white belt for the guest of honor to keep. Send everyone home with a gift bag of knotted sour rope candies that look like a belt.

Sports Party
Kick it up a notch with a sporty bash! If your child has a favorite sport, make that the goal. But if they love them all, go for the gold! Have everyone wear their favorite sports jersey. Decorate with colors of the VIP’s favorite sports team, or set up a goal post on the wall. Bake a basketball, baseball, or football shaped cake, and set up a treat table with concession stand favorites like hot dogs, soft pretzels, and nachos! Take the party outside and set up a football throwing contest or a batting booth where they can hit water balloon pitches with a wiffle ball bat (don’t forget the towels)! Create a goodies tray with treats to go like Cracker Jacks, chewing gum, and sunflower seeds. We’re sure this party will score!

Magic Party
Abracadabra! Liven up the birthday celebration with a little magic! When each mini magician arrives, hand out top hats and magic wands (plastic versions can be found at most party stores). Get a rabbit in a hat birthday cake and set up a treat table with chocolate dipped pretzel wands or even Trix cereal rice crispy treats! Hire a magician to come put on a show for the kids. Set up a stage in an area where everyone can fit, and use a black sheet to set a stage backdrop. After the show, play a tricky game of rabbit toss. Buy 3 beanbag rabbits, and set up upside down top hats to throw them into. A deck of cards in a baggie with magic dust (just use fine confetti) makes the perfect party favor!

Tea Party
It’s time to par-TEA! Have all the invitees wear their favorite party dress. As everyone arrives, create personalized tea party hats with a hat station. Provide straw hats, flowers, ribbons, and a glue gun— with adult supervision of course! Once everyone is stylin’ in their new hat, start the tea party off with hot and iced tea in fun colored tea pots. Don’t forget, pinkies up! Decorate the table with paper doilies and tie strips of tulle into bows on the back of each chair. Set up dainty snacks like mini sandwiches and fruit pizzas on tiered platters. Fancy girls can have fun too! Hold a balancing contest where each guest walks around and balances a plastic tea cup on her head. Or play a game of hot tea cup (hot potato), and pass a tea cup around until there’s a winner! Put together baggies of tea bag-shaped shortbread cookies as a parting gift.

Petting Zoo Party
What do kids love more than being party animals? Playing with animals! Rise to the occasion and take the party to the petting zoo! Make sure your brood is a manageable size, but typically petting zoos will give a discount for a group. Before you go, ask the birthday boy or girl which animals they want to see the most. Set up a map to make sure you hit the most important spots! If the petting zoo has party space, bring an animal cake or cupcakes decorated like lambs, llamas or rabbits! Create a treat table with a fun “don’t feed the animals” sign and label the snacks as “sheep treats” or “pony food”. Bring some face paint along and help everyone transform into their favorite animal! Or go really wild and bring the petting zoo to your home— fence in the backyard and hire a local petting zoo to bring their animals to your house.

Luau Party
Mahalo! Bring the spirit of Hawaii to you with this luau themed celebration! Have everyone wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt or beach gear, and place a lei on each guest as they arrive. For girls, have a bucket of flowers for their hair! 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 grass skirts! You can even hire a ukulele player to come play songs to make it sound just like Hawaii! For favors, send everyone home with a miniature ukulele to practice at home!

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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