That in-between age can be a bit tricky for party planning, gone are the days of soft play or princess and pirate parties, but you still want to throw a party to celebrate another year. So we have collected together all our favourite tween and teen party ideas that we think will be cool enough not to embarrass your very grown-up VIP.
Disco’s a popular at most ages, so are great if you have a wider age range to cater for. For a large party the easiest solution is to hire a local hall and a DJ who will usually provide all the music and lights for a fantastic event. All you need to do in contribute some food and cake.
We held a disco party when our tween daughter turned 10 and it was really simple. We served lots of pizza and crisps and fizzy drinks, then gave our sweetie cones at the end instead of party bags. We added a few decorations to the hall with some neon balloons and glow sticks which were a huge hit.
Most kids enjoy sleepovers and if you can handle the chaos of more than one guest, then a sleepover party will be a lot of fun.
Choose a few special friends and set up a fun space for them to sleep. Plan enough time for a party tea and a few fun activities like some crafts or spa treatments, and pick a fun movie they can all watch in their PJs. A pop corn bar is fun where they can grab a box of popcorn and add other treats to it like pretzels, sweets and marshmallows.
And don’t forget to plan a fun breakfast and maybe a few games or activities to do in the morning before the guests go home.
A cooking party can be great fun and best of all you have less food prep to do! For younger kids, keep it simple, maybe by making pizzas and decorating cupcakes but older children can plan a more elaborate meal and even have a proper dinner party. We even let our guests design and make the birthday cake once. We just baked some plain sponge cakes and supplied them with plenty of icing, food colouring, sweets and cake decorations. Everyone was really impressed with the end results.
Pizza & Movie Party
This could easily be combined with a sleepover party. Or you could keep it simple and invite a group of friends over, order some takeaway pizzas or make your own, pick a fun movie and let them hang out and have fun.
You can let the guests hang out in your living room with lots of comfy cushions and bean bags or if you have access to a projector you can set up a special cinema room or even hang a white sheet on a washing line and watch the movie outside. All you have to do is keep them supplied with snacks and drinks.
Bowling & Trampolining
There are lots of fun activities if you want to take your party away from home. In our town, bowling and trampolining are two of the current favourites. Most places will let you buy special party packages where you can pay for the activity and food or you can just buy regular tickets and go to a nearby restaurant for food afterwards.
Campfire at night
The excitement of being out in the dark and often quite a new experience for this age group. If you can pick a date where you a guaranteed a dry evening a campfire could be lots of fun. You could go to the woods or a beach if you live near any or even a campfire set up in the back garden can be good fun or just a nice way to end an indoors party. You can sit around and tell stories, sing song or play games like Never have I ever or Truth or Dare. You can have some snacks to toast on the fire like s’mores and bread. If you want to continue the fun outside the campfire, you can play a few other games such as glow in the dark treasure hunts with glow sticks.
There are lots of murder mystery kits available to buy now that are aimed at younger tween age groups, so they are a bit shorter to play and some don’t have such scary content. The simplest types we found are ones that you can download online and print out yourselves. You generally get a story to read out and set the scene, some clues to hide around and characters to assign to all the guests. The guests then go off and work out who the murderer is. The games we have played generally take around half an hour and have been really enjoyed by our children.
A pamper party is great to do alongside a sleepover as everyone can get changed into their PJs and relax when they do all their spa treatments. You can pick activities that you feel would suit the ages of your tween guests. Things like nail painting, glitter tattoos, hair braiding and simple home made face masks are generally popular. You can set the scene but creating a relaxing spa area with lots of cushion and relaxing music and give everyone a healthy smoothie to drink to begin with, then carry on with the treatments. There are lots of things you could include in a party bags to take home that carry on the theme too, such as small nail polishes, eye masks, tattoos and friendship bracelets.
If you are lucky enough to have a birthday in the summer you could have a festival party. Decorate your garden with lots of bright tropical decorations. Set up some cool activities like face painting, tattoos, hair braiding, and a photo booth and play some music and let the guests hang out and relax. If it’s sunny, you could have a BBQ too or just serve a section of buffet food for guests to nibble on. You could even make VIP festival passes to hand out instead on invitations.
Craft parties are fun for all ages, but you can choose more ambitious projects as the guests get older. For tween age kids you don’t have to buy expensive craft kits, just visit your local market for supplies, like balls of wool for making pom poms and friendship bracelets, plain white mugs or plates can be decorated with sharpies. You can make a batch of salt dough or buy some air dry clay to make clay charms with. And cheap white t-shirts or canvas bags can be decorated to take home all their makes.