Planning a birthday party for a preteen? Though planning a birthday party for older children are just as much fun as planning a party for toddlers or preschoolers, it requires a little more thought as well as a few adjustments. After all, preteens are a bit harder to impress than the little ones, and they're looking for activities that are a tad more grown up.
For those headed towards their preteen's birthday, don't fret. Consider these preteen birthday party ideas to get a jump start on party planning and a preteen-pleasing event.
Pick a Fun Craft
Even though they are older, tweens still love crafts and the art of making things. There are so many cute crafts they can do. Consider having them make autograph pillows, so that each child will have a memory of the party that can be fun for both girls and boys to make.
Find the Perfect Location
When considering all of the preteen birthday party ideas available, maybe try throwing the party outside of the home. If cleaning the house, preparing the food, and then cleaning up after the party isn't appealing, consider having the party at another location such as an ice rink, a bowling alley, a local park, a movie theater, the local mall, or even at an area museum. Many of these locations provide party activities and ideas for the invitations and, sometimes, even the food. Bring the cake may be required, but with all the time saved, that shouldn't be a problem. Discuss location ideas with the birthday tween before making a commitment.
Consider a Sleepover Party
If the birthday tween wants to keep the party close to home, a sleepover party is probably going to be as easy to plan as any other. For preteens, sleepovers are truly a right of passage. They might want to invite everyone they know, but it's probably best to limit the number of guests in order to keep the party running smoothly. Be sure to offer plenty of activities to keep guests busy, and make sure one or two of them are quiet activities, such as watching a movie, telling ghost stories with the lights dimmed, or making a craft.
Check-in with the preteens periodically, but give them some time alone to bond and do what preteens do best—hang out with their friends!
Will It Be a Co-Ed Party?
An older child might be ready for a co-ed party, or not. If the tween wants to invite members of the opposite sex, be sure to set clear boundaries on what is and is not allowed. Will guests be allowed in the tween's bedroom? If this will be a night party, at what time will the guests leave? Also, be sure any games or activities the tween plans will appeal to both girls and boys.
Pick a Birthday Theme
The party doesn't have to have a theme, but if the tween has a particular passion or hobby, it could be fun to incorporate it into his or her party. Possible theme ideas for a preteen birthday party include:
- Glow in the dark party
- Sports-themed party
- Martial arts party
- Beach fun party
- Surfer party
- Olympics party
- Skateboard party
- NASCAR party
- Outdoor or camping party
Don't Forget the Goody Bags
Any listing of birthday party ideas should always include the mention of goody bags. They don't have to be called goody bags, but preteens still expect them, and why not? Goody bags are fun to buy for, fun to hand out, and fun to receive. Set a budget for the bags with the birthday tween, and then shop together for the loot. Coordinate items with the theme of the party, or collect a mix of items that the tweens will enjoy. Be sure the birthday tween passes the bags out to his or her friends, and thanks them for coming to his or her party. That's their responsibility as the party host. Alternatively, have the children make their own goody bags by setting up a buffet of goodies, small toys, and treats.