It used to be fun. It used to be easy. You ask what kind of ice cream they like, get a cake with their favorite cartoon character and maybe a pinata. You order a magician, put away any low placed vases and send out a few CVS invites and you were good to go for a great pre-tween birthday party. Yet, if you have a kid 11 and older. HA! Magician? Cake? Paper invites? Soooo old school.
Now, you have to worry about facebook invites vs paper, unsupervised or not, co-ed sleepovers or single sex. Here are some ideas for some fun (and possibly cool) teen birthday party ideas. Of course the cool factor and interest depends on your kid. You must ask them! This is just a list to get started because I know, typically the birthday party conversation goes something like this:
“Honey, your birthday is coming up, what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know”
“Bowling maybe like last year?”
“What do you feel like.”
“Don’t know yet”
“Ok, are you sure you want to do something?”
“I don’t know, can we talk about it later?”
Really helpful. Repeat this conversation a week later and a week after that. Here are some ideas to get the conversation started:
Unique Birthday Party Ideas for Teens and Tweens:
1) LaserTag/RollerSkating/Ice Skating
Ok, these are not so unique, but you can make a unique take on these parties. I know my boyfriend used to buy cheap laser guns and vest and set up a huge obstacle course in their backyard instead of going to a lasertag place and they kept moving around the obstacles to have different courses. At night they put glow in the dark paint on…very different!
Depending on where you are, if your kid wants some space you might want to consider renting a boat for a night and having BBQ or taking them on a minicruise.
3) Theme Park
These are great I think. Especially if you do not want them ripping apart your house or you have a teen who doesn’t want you around. Theme parks you can let them go, but still be around if they need you. You can also usually get group discounts.
4) All Ages Club with Live Music
Most teens love music. You can often find clubs who will have nights or days where they have live music that is open to all ages. I am usually very careful about all ages clubs, but parents can always go to and hang around in the back.
5) Grown-Up Scavenger Hunt
Have a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood or even in a theme park. You can make the clues celebrity or pop culture related and split the teens up into teams with great prizes.
6) Murder Mystery
Always a classic and usually can be great if you make the plot interesting and assign everyone parts. You might not be able to get them to dress up, but you can try.
7) TV Show of Choice Party
If your teen or tween loves a particular TV show make a party out of it. If they love Survivor, have some quasi-survivor challenges and teams. Are they a fan of Wheel of Fortune or Price is Right make your own at home.
8) Casino Night
I always loved teen parties that allowed teens to do things they usually are not old enough to do. Casino night is a great example or having a poker night or black jack party and teaching teens how to gamble safely.
9) Game Nights
Game nights can be great where you have 5 or 6 tables or hubs with different games and teens can rotate through each station. You have different types of foods that correlate to each game. Battle ship is sub sandwiches, Candyland is duh, candy….
10) Mock Prom
This is usually for a girl but it can be single sex or co-ed. I had one of these when I turned 16 at our house. Ours happened to be all-girls and everyone wore a prom like dress but didn’t do their make-up or hair and then we had a make-up woman and a hair stylist practice on the girls so we could pretend to have prom. Then we have a family friend take professional looking photographs with the girls (goody bag) to have some friend glamour shots. Then we played music and danced in our dresses. Really fun and great ‘practice’ for prom.
Most of all, it is important to talk to your kids about what they want. If they say they do not want to do something, it usually means they are feeling unsure about something (no friends? embarrassed about you? too much money?) try to think about what their motives are and this can help them have a great party.