Your ‘tween has a birthday and you have a dilemma. Your child has totally outgrown Barney and My Little Pony. But a teen co-ed party doesn’t sound right either. So how do you plan a party for this spunky young age group? It can be easier than you think. This article provides some helpful general suggestions and some specific birthday party ideas for ‘tweens. Sit down with your birthday boy or girl and get planning!
Be considerate of who is invited. Know your kid’s friends and steer clear of known trouble makers. Although a highly structured party can feel stiff, a general schedule of activities and time can keep things from getting too wild. You’ll want to keep any potential “loose cannons” from having time to get themselves in trouble. Getting everyone engaged in something fun and interesting will keep it positive.
Food and utensils do not have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Have something simple like take-out or hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. Take some stress off yourself by either picking up some treats at the grocery store or making a cake from a box at home. Better yet, have your party-goers make the treats themselves.
A “group bake” can add some anticipation for the final result. Who cares if you have cake at 10pm, or with lumps, or with bare patches in the frosting? It’s all in good fun and the kids will enjoy eating something they create.
Give them something they can take home besides a bag of candy. This could be something they created at the party, pictures you took of them printed from your computer before they go home, or a memento of their activity (scorecard, team roster, “ticket,” winner’s certificate, etc).
Here are some other ideas to run with when you have your next ‘tween birthday party.
Slumber party with movie marathon – Carefully consider your movie choices. The kids may be a bit past “kiddie” movies, but many ‘tweens are still below the PG-13 range. Also, just because it says PG-13 doesn’t mean all 13 year olds would be ready for the content in those movies. There are several websites that rate movies based on content and theme. Pick a couple of approved favorites, pop some popcorn, and casually check in now and then.
Traditional scavenger hunt – The scavenger hunt is a good team activity that you can do with as few as four kids with two teams. Send them around your neighborhood or have a couple adults drive if necessary.
Mall scavenger hunt - Be sure you go to a mall that you and the kids are familiar with. Most items can be inexpensive or even free depending on your list. Free items could include old hangers, a coupon book, a business card, etc. Create a theme based on color, holes or “dings” in the merchandise, items from certain stores, etc.
Party around an activity – Go to a place that offers a sporting activity like the following: batting cages, climbing walls, indoor laser tag, miniature golf, pool, bowling, roller skating, go-karts. Some of these activities can be found in groups at family activity centers, others might be independent locations. Visit ones you think you’d consider before purchasing tickets or a party package.