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!
And for their siblings, be sure to check out our other age-appropriate birthday party ideas.
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.
Birthday Gift Ideas for 11-12 Year Olds
Coming up with birthday gift ideas for 11 and 12 year olds need not be difficult. There are a multitude of options available that encourage learning while offering a fun time with loved ones. Simply consider the likes and dislikes of the individual youngster. They might have a love of sports. Maybe they delight in spending time along while expressing themselves creatively on special projects that may include arts and crafts. Perhaps they simply enjoy spending time with friends or family. There are many gifts that are mentally stimulating, fun and promote physical development. Consider one of the following suggestions.
Gift Ideas for 11 and 12 Year Old Boys
LEGO Technic WHACK
The building kit contains 135 pieces and is age-appropriate for boys aged seven to 14. The STEM project is one of the ideal gift ideas for 11-12 year old boys. The set sparks a youngster’s interest in building and engineering. When completed, boys may enjoy hours of imaginative play by themselves or with others. The car features a pull-back motor that propels the vehicle. The car is designed to resemble professional racetrack versions complete with a bold front bumper, extended rear spoiler and wide racing tires. The vehicle was also designed to withstand demolition events. Youngsters may combine the kit with other Lego sets to rebuild and redesign a new creation of their choosing.
- Kids can be a part of the action with this high-speed LEGO Technic 42072 WHACK! model car This crash...
- This STEM toy lets kids build a toy car with a powerful pull-back motor, sturdy front bumper, large...
- Combine this stunt car toy with the LEGO Technic 42073 BASH! to create an awesome WHACK! ‘N’...
Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3
The faux bow set is a great way for youngsters aged eight and up to develop their hand/eye coordination. They might also develop an interest in the sport of archery. The set comes complete with the bow and six foam-tipped arrows. Minimal assembly requires attaching the ends of the bow together and attaching the arrow quiver. Set up a target outside and let your novice sportsmen try their hand at hitting the bull’s eye. Play simply requires putting a hollow arrow over the end of the faux compound bow and pulling the handle. The lightweight arrows are designed to fly at distances of up to 100 feet.
- FOAM ARCHERY SET: Bow gets a sleek new look and a performance spinning handle so you can release and...
- ACTIVE OUTDOOR FUN: Boys and Girls will love sporting their bow & arrow. So fun and easy to shoot,...
- SAFE DESIGN: Durable, lightweight, foam tip arrows provide safety, power and fun! Archery set is...
The 16-inch dartboard and six darts are designed to resemble the real deal. The game makes for great fun for the entire family. The magnetic board features the colors and target areas complete with assigned points. The set comes with six safety darts in two different colors and features durable neodymium magnetic tips. When one of the lightweight darts is thrown at the board, they automatically stick in place. The set is ideal for anyone six years of age and older and is a wonderful way for youngsters to develop hand/eye coordination. Let the competition begin for hours of fun quality family time.
- BULLSEYE: All the fun of classic darts without harm to walls, pets, or people! Light, durable...
- FAMILY FUN FOR GAME NIGHT: Safety darts are perfect for children. Boys and girls will learn...
- CLASSIC DESIGN FOR TRADITIONAL DART GAMES: The board has all the same characteristics as the...
Gift Ideas for 11 and 12 Year Old Girls
GoFloats Unicorn Pool Float Party Tube
Girls love magical unicorns, which makes the inflatable raft one of the great gift ideas for 11-12 year old girls. The gift might be especially appreciated by the young lady who spends a good deal of time in the water. The raft is the perfect place to relax, unwind and bask in the sun after completing a few laps in the pool. The tube spans 45 inches in width and three feet in height. The float is constructed of heavy-duty vinyl and capably holds up to 500 pounds. Thus the raft is suitable for youngsters and adults. The tube is also durable enough to use on a lake, on a river or in the backyard pool. The GoSports company uses vinyl that is treated to withstand the powerful UV rays of the sun in order to prevent bleaching and deterioration. The unicorn features a rapid valve system that greatly reduces inflation time to approximately two minutes.
- FUN IN THE SUN: Enjoy the magic of summer with the fun and affordable GoFloats Unicorn Party Tube
- HUGE SIZE: The tube is a great value measuring at 45 inches wide and 3 feet tall - ideal for...
- PREMIUM MATERIALS: Made of premium UV treated raft grade vinyl 25% thicker than the competition so...
LEGO Women of NASA
The set comes with 231 pieces to build three different scenarios that commemorate famous women who have been involved in NASA space projects. Thus, the Lego set is a wonderful way to introduce girls to STEM topics through the success of intelligent and braves women. The detailed Hubble Space Telescope stands beside Nancy Grace Roman and the image of a nebula. Girls have the chance to recreate the Apollo control room complete with guidance computer codebooks and the onboard flight software manned by Margaret Hamilton. The Space Shuttle Challenger scenario enables youngsters to build the launchpad and craft plus divide the shuttle into three stages. The build includes astronauts Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. Each set is appropriate for girls aged 10 and up. The Lego kit includes an instruction booklet and information concerning each of the four women.
- Features 3 LEGO builds illustrating the areas of expertise of the 4 featured women of NASA
- Includes 4 minifigures: Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison
- Nancy Grace Roman’s build features a posable Hubble Space Telescope with authentic details and a...
Azul Board Game
Playing the game develops analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and strategy in the youngster. Board games provide girls with the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. The game is appropriate for players aged eight and older and can be played by two or more players. Playing requires players to choose tiles and place them on individual boards to score points. As the game progresses, players must decide whether to score points or block opponents from being able to score. A typical game lasts approximately 40 minutes. The game comes with the main board, individual boards, a tote bag and an array of colorfully designed tiles along with an instruction booklet. There are also YouTube videos available that provide players with step-by-step instruction and strategies.
- High quality components and fun, accessible gameplay
- Fun tile drafting and tile placement mechanics
- For 2 4 artisans, age 8 and up
There is a wide selection of birthday gift ideas for 11 and 12 year olds. The gift you choose for your son, daughter or favorite preteen becomes more special when you consider them as a unique individual. Find something that celebrates who they are as a person. Enjoy the time while shopping and explore all of the possibilities.