If you’re looking for birthday party ideas for tweens, this post has lots of ideas to inspire you!
While your little one may have been happy to have his or her classmates over for cake and a few backyard party games when they were younger, things change once the tween years begin. Tweens want to exercise their independence, push boundaries, and impress their friends, but they aren’t quite old enough to do things on their own. They have high hopes and expectations – and lots of opinions, lol – but still need a little help and supervision from their parents to make sure their dream party goes off without a hitch.
While planning a party for your pre-teen may feel stressful and overwhelming, we’ve got tons of birthday party ideas for tweens to help you plan the perfect celebration.
How to Plan a Birthday Party for Tweens
Before we dive into our favorite birthday party ideas for tweens, here are some things to consider as your plan your child’s special day.
1. Think outside the box
When planning a party for your tween, you need to get creative. Your child will likely have pretty specific interests, so you can try to create a party with that theme or idea in mind. For example, if your tween girl loves all things hair and makeup, you may opt to organize a spa day, and if your tween son is really into video games, you may consider a party that is centered around arcade games. The idea is to find something that interests your tween and his or her friends so they feel excited and engaged.
2. Be realistic
When brainstorming birthday party ideas for tweens, it’s important to be realistic, both with yourself and with your child. As mentioned earlier, this is a time when kids start craving independence, but you need to consider what is and isn’t appropriate for your child’s age, and the comfort level of the other parents. Rather than allowing your tween and his or her friends to go somewhere on their own together, consider bringing the experience to your house instead.
3. Set rules and expectations
When it comes to tweens, one thing is for certain: they do not like to be nagged, especially in front of their friends. If you want to avoid power struggles on your tween’s special day, take the time to set clear rules and expectations ahead of time, and outline the consequences you will enforce if these are not followed. This ensures everyone is on the same page so you don’t have to nag, remind, and interfere.
4. Make sure you have lots of food!
One of the best things about organizing a party for tweens is that you can get creative with food options, and make it part of the fun. For example, you might create food-making stations so everyone can make their own pizza, sandwiches, ice cream sundaes, snack mix, etc.
5. Organize activities and games
As you are organizing a party for your tween, make sure to include a few age-appropriate activities and games to ward off boredom. This can be tricky given the age of your child, but there are tons of ideas to consider. Remember that you will likely not be a welcome participant, so provide your ideas and let everyone enjoy them without you. Here are some fun ideas to suggest!
- Two Truths and a Lie. Ask everyone to write down 2 personal truths and one lie about themselves, and then ask them to take turns sharing the items on their list while the rest of the group determines which item is the lie. It’s a great way to lighten the mood and get everyone laughing.
- Straight Face. Write a bunch of funny and embarrassing sentences on small pieces of paper, and then have players take turns picking them out of a hat and trying to read them out loud while keeping a straight face. It’s surprisingly hard to do and so much fun!
- Never Have I Ever. Have your child write out a list of 10 or more statements ahead of time (examples: never have I ever eaten a bug, never have I ever eaten food off the floor, never have I ever been sent to the principal’s office). He or she will then ask everyone to hold their hands out in front of them, palms facing outwards, and will begin reading each item off the list. For each item a person has experienced, he or she must fold down a finger. It’s a fun way to get to know each other better!
- Would You Rather? Have your child write out a list of questions with 2 scenarios, and then have him or her read them off while everyone takes turns saying which scenario they prefer. You can make this easy for younger kids (Would you rather it be summer or winter? Would you rather eat cookies or cupcakes?) and more thought-provoking for older kids (Would you rather be able to fly or be able to breathe under water? Would you rather travel back in time or visit the future?).
- Minute To Win It Games. You’ll want to plan these out ahead of time to ensure you have all of the supplies you’ll need on hand, but they offer a fun way to get kids moving and laughing. Scary Mommy has a great list to inspire you, which you can see HERE.
- Board Games. A birthday party wouldn’t be complete without a few board games, am I right? Classics like Twister, Monopoly, and Scrabble come to mind, but there are lots of newer games that both younger and older kids will enjoy. This post has some of our favorites!
6. Don’t skip the loot bags!
Loot bags are such a fun way to end a birthday party, and they aren’t just for young kids. You can easily make loot bags for tweens too! Consider making a small bag of goodies related to the theme of the party. For example, if you’re hosting a spa party, you might include a a nail file, nail polish, sleeping mask, and facial treatment. Another idea is to create loot bags filled with food-related goodies. Just be sure to check if any kids have food allergies!
12 Birthday Party Ideas for Tweens
If you’re looking for birthday party ideas for tweens, you want to think of an idea that helps your child and his or her friends feel grown up and independent, but that still allows you to supervise as needed. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
1. Hotel Sleepover
Rent a couple of adjoining rooms and allow your tween and his or her closest pals enjoy a night away with all of the amenities a hotel offers – a pool, room service, on demand movies, and maybe even a spa service. You can sleep in the adjoining room, or in the room next door to allow a little freedom while still being close in case of an emergency.
2. Spa Day
When it comes to birthday party ideas for tweens, spa treatments are definitely a favorite. You can treat your tween and his or her friends to a mani and/or pedi at your favorite salon, hire someone to come to your home to provide services, or get all of the products and essentials in for a DIY spa experience. It all comes down to your budget and comfort level, and I’m fairly certain your tween will enjoy whichever option you choose!
3. Arcade Day
If your tween likes to play video games, an arcade birthday party is the way to go! You can take your child and his or her friends to your local arcade for an afternoon of fun, or rent TVs and game consoles for a day of gaming in your home. You can also do a search to see if any companies in your area offer mobile gaming parties where they bring arcade-style games directly to you!
4. Glow-In-The-Dark Party
Another favorite when it comes to birthday party ideas for tweens is to organize a glow-in-the-dark party. Get some glow sticks and black lights, ask everyone to wear white, and transform your basement into an age-appropriate night club! Make sure to have punch and food, organize a few games, and allow your tween and his or her friends to play their favorite tunes and enjoy a night of fun.
5. Paint Ball / Laser Tag
If you are a fan of organizing a party outside of your home, paintball and laser tag are great options as they tend to cater to the 9- to 12-year-old crowd.
6. Cooking or Baking Challenge
If your child likes to cook or bake, why not organize a cook- or bake-off? Everyone can try their hand at making a specific recipe, or if you have a group of more experienced chefs, you can challenge them to create something using specific ingredients like they do on cooking shows and then judge them on creativity, taste, and presentation.
7. Pop Star Party
If your child is musically inclined, another one of my favorite birthday party ideas for tweens is to organize a pop star party! You can do this in a proper recording studio, or rent equipment and make your own studio inside your home. Challenge your child and his or her friends to choose and learn a song, and help them film their own music video complete with costumes and props. You can upload the finished video to a flash drive for everyone as a keepsake!
8. Pool Party
Pool parties are so much fun, and an easy birthday party idea for all ages and stages. If you don’t have your own pool, many local pools allow you to rent their space for a couple of hours at a time.
9. Movie Madness
If a new flick has just been released, consider renting out your local movie theater so your tween and his or her friends can enjoy a private screening. Other options include setting up a big screen in your backyard so you can watch movies and make s’mores, or you can go old school and have a sleepover movie marathon in your basement!
10. Night Out
If you’re looking for birthday party ideas for tweens that are a little extra special, consider organizing a fancy night out. Have your tween and his or her friends get dressed up and treat them to a fancy dinner and/or a show. This is such a fun way to help kids feel grown-up, and you can sit close-by so you can keep tabs on things without interfering!
11. Escape Room
Escape rooms are all the rage these days. Check your area to see if any companies host escape room parties for tweens, or consider creating one yourself. The internet is full of ideas to inspire you!
12. Destination Party
The final item on my list of birthday party ideas for tweens is to organize a destination party. This will obviously require consent from other parents, but if you live close to a tourist attraction, consider taking your tween and his or her closest friends for a night away to celebrate in style!
If you’re looking for birthday party ideas for tweens, I hope this list inspires you!