Many years ago, organizing a child’s party was a simple task. The parents would just set a date for the party, make or buy invitations and send them to the guests.
Then, all they needed to do on the day of the birthday party was prepare the food and place simple decorations around the house or venue where the birthday party would take place.
These days, kids’ birthday parties involve more preparation. Kids today have their own birthday party ideas about how they want to celebrate, and kids’ birthday parties have gone up to a whole new level.
A quick search online will show you how amazing children’s birthday parties can be these days.
Birthday party themes for children
Before planning your child’s party, you need to choose a theme for your child’s birthday celebration. But how will you know which birthday party theme is best for your child?
If your children are old enough to understand, why not talk to them about it? You might find they have their own birthday party ideas. The birthday party theme should be something your child enjoys. It could be based on a hobby, sports, a superhero, etc.
Popular birthday party themes
There are many different kinds of birthday party themes you can choose from, but some kid party themes are more popular than others.
These have been listed as some of the favourite themes for kids’ parties:
Gender-neutral birthday party ideas
Here are some birthday party ideas that work well for all kids:
1. Harry Potter
If your child has reached the magical age of loving Harry Potter, a Harry Potter birthday party is a must. There are so many ways you can incorporate some magic into this themed birthday party. It’s a definite hit for creative parents, and there are endless fun ideas online.
Take a look at Pinterest to see how people have made their Harry Potter parties unforgettable. Ask all the guests to come dressed in Hogwarts robes and set up a potion-making area at the party.
With all the fun of sports day at your child’s birthday party, this theme is always a hit with kids. You’ll need to come up with some events for the children to compete in. Include all the classics, like the egg and spoon race, sack race, and three-legged race.
Ask the guests to come dressed to compete, and make sportswear the dress code for this fun party.
3. Beach party
You can have all the fun of the beach in your local church hall. Ask the guests to come dressed in their summer finery, but make sure you have the heating turned up if it’s winter. Have plenty of beach balls for the kids to play with. Serve mocktails with slices of fruit, and ice cream and watermelon for dessert.
You could set up a sandpit and water play area if you’re not afraid of the mess. Have a fun photo area set up so the kids can pose for photos with their friends during this fake summer holiday.
4. Science party
Children who are budding scientists – and even those who aren’t – will love this science-themed birthday party. You’ll need to set up a lab and provide lab coats and protective goggles for all the guests. There are plenty of suggestions online for safe and fun experiments to wow kids with. Be sure to practice them in advance, so you know they’ll work on the day.
Get the guests involved in the experiments and make sure everybody gets a turn at making science happen.
If your child likes all things espionage, a spy party is sure to be a hit. You can add lots of fun touches to a spy party – from a dress-up area filled with disguises to codes that need to be cracked. Be sure to have some newspapers with eye-holes cut out so you can ‘keep an eye on’ what’s happening at the party.
You could pretend it’s a spy convention and teach the recruits some top spy skills or have them solve a mystery at the party.
Most popular party themes for girls
1. Princess party
This is a classic party theme. If your daughter wants to be a princess, she’ll love a princess-themed party. You can make your daughter a princess for a day. Dress the birthday girl up in her princess gown and tiara and turn your home into a castle. Invite all the guests to attend the party in their favorite princess frocks. If you want to go all out, you could hire an entertainer, dressed as a princess, to sing songs and read stories.
2. Tea party
The tea party is a popular kids’ party theme. Children like this theme because they can put on fancy clothes, sit at the table and drink tea from china cups and eat scones – just like the adults do. One version of the tea party that has become quite popular is the Mad Hatter Tea Party. A teddy bear’s tea party is another popular take on this theme; ask all the guests to bring their favorite bear to the tea party.
3. Pink party
The pink theme is very popular with girls of all ages. Even adult women have given pink parties, especially now that pink has become associated with breast cancer awareness.
The pink party is perhaps the easiest party that you can pull off. All you have to do is decorate your house, or other venue, in pink and prepare pink food. Ask the guests to wear pink to the party, too.
It doesn’t have to be pink; you can do this with whatever color your child likes best.
4. Ladybug party
The ladybug theme is another favorite for girls’ parties. It is a sweet theme often used for first birthday celebrations and older kids birthday parties. Children love animals, so themes like this are bound to be popular. You could focus on one specific animal (like a ladybug) or throw a jungle party to include as many as possible.
5. Sleepover party
The sleepover party is extremely popular with older girls. Despite the term ‘sleepover’, the girls turn this party into an all-night event – watching movies, playing games, and just talking non-stop. The great thing about this party is there’s usually no need for you to decorate your home. You just have to make sure you have enough food, as this type of party usually involves non-stop eating all through the night. Oh, and expect to have an overtired child the next day!
Most popular party themes for boys
1. Pirate party
The pirate party is the most popular theme for boys. Most boys want to dress up in a pirate costume, complete with an eye patch and a big pirate hat that has a giant skull and crossbones printed on it. Characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy appeal to very young boys. You can make swords from long balloons and have the children compete in sword fights.
2. Superhero party
Every little boy wants to dress up like his favorite superhero and the birthday boy is no exception. So why not grant his wish on his birthday? It would be great if all his guests could also come dressed up as their favorite superheroes. The children will love showing off their costumes and getting into character. Have plenty of games planned and set up a craft area where the heroes can design their own sidekicks.
3. Star Wars party
The Star Wars saga has become widely popular among young boys as well as adults. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it has also become one of the most popular themes for boys’ parties. Invite the guests to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters.
4. Minecraft party
Minecraft is a popular game for young gamers. If your son spends a lot of time playing Minecraft, he will appreciate a Minecraft-themed party. Creative kids will love designing their own costumes to wear to this party. Minecraft birthday cakes are popular choices at the moment, and they look great.
5. Lego party
A Lego-themed party is also a great way to celebrate your child’s birthday. This popular party theme is a lot of fun and is a great way to bring out children’s creativity. Have plenty of Lego stations dotted about so guests can build and create to their heart’s desire. This is a great theme for smaller themed parties but perhaps not so practical for parties with extensive guest lists.
Once you and your child have decided on what themed birthday party is perfect for the celebration, deciding on the decorations, invitations, and even the food to prepare, will be a cinch.
Lockdown birthday party ideas
Online lockdown birthday party
If you’re throwing a child’s birthday party during a lockdown, you might need to host it online. Your children will love being able to chat with friends for their birthday.
To help to keep kids occupied during the Zoom call, it’s important to have an activity they can all do together. This could be a craft activity or Lego project to build (you’ll have to send the stuff to each child’s house in advance). Be sure to send food and cake, too. All the kids should be able to enjoy the party from the comfort of their own homes.
A friend-spotting walk
If lockdown rules allow, you could take your child on a birthday walk. Invite their friends to leave them notes and messages to find along the way. It could be a walk around the local area with stops at their friends’ windows for a wave and to drop off a slice of cake. It won’t be the same as a regular party, but it will allow them to see their best friends.
Kids’ birthday party venues
You have quite a few options when it comes to party venues for your child’s birthday celebration. Here are some suggestions:
Throw a party at home
If having a houseful of sugar-crazed kids is your worst nightmare, this probably isn’t the party venue for you. However, having a party at home does have a lot of benefits. It’s budget-friendly, easy to organize and you won’t have to transport a carload of food and balloons on the day.
Outdoor birthday parties are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the pandemic. Rather than worrying about ventilation in a crowded venue, head outdoors and make use of the wide-open spaces in your local neighborhood. For example, you could organize to meet other families at your local park or woodland, or you could set up a party space in your backyard.
Hire a local community space
There are probably some venue options within walking distance of your home. There might be a church hall or community venue close by, or a room to hire at a leisure center. All you need is some space, toilet access and a kitchen for preparing food. Venue hire costs can vary, so shop around until you find the perfect space within your budget.
Throw a package party
If you’re looking for a stress-free party that organizes itself, you can’t go wrong with a package party. If you host the party at a soft play center, paintball center, or go-kart track, for example, the staff will organize the whole thing for you. You’ll pay a set amount per child, and the food, entertainment, and decorations will be taken care of. Of course, it’s a more expensive party option, but it does take all the stress and worry out of party planning.
Kids’ birthday party food ideas budget
If you’re looking to throw a banging birthday bash on a budget, you’ll need to get savvy when it comes to food. The idea of feeding 30 kids might sound overwhelming, but the reality is more budget-friendly than you imagine.
Here are some tips to help you with your food budget:
Time the party carefully
The time of the party will dictate how hungry the guests are. If you throw the party over lunch or dinner time, parents will be expecting you to provide a full meal. On the other hand, if you host the party after lunch, your guests will already have eaten and won’t turn up to the party starving. Not only will this save you money, but it may also save you from a few tantrums! Hungry kids are not happy kids, as you know.
Serve it wisely
While individually packed lunch boxes have grown popular in recent years, this option will cost you more, and lots of food will get wasted. A buffet-style party lunch is a more budget-friendly option. Don’t go crazy with the food; the party guests might not eat as much as you’re expecting.
Have adult helpers take plates of food around the tables to serve the children; this way, the kids can choose what they eat, but you don’t have to worry about grubby fingers in the buffet.
Discount shops always have plenty of crisps and biscuits on offer. Stocking up there rather than during your weekly shop could save you money. Write a list before you go and stick to it. There’s no need to go wild; birthday celebrations don’t need to cost the earth.
Birthday party games for kids
Pass the parcel
This classic game remains a favorite of children around the world. Who doesn’t love opening presents? It’s an easy game that will keep the children entertained for a few minutes. To keep all the kids happy, it’s a good idea to wrap something small between each layer of paper (a packet of sweets or a temporary tattoo, for example). The main gift doesn’t need to be anything expensive; a cheap coloring book will be fine.
For this game, you’ll need some big buckets and plenty of balloons. With the different colored balloons spread around the room, task the children with sorting them into the correct buckets. You can have a bucket for each different color, or one primary bucket for them to fill as you shout out the colors one at a time. Then the party guests have to collect up and organize the balloons. Expect things to get noisy and chaotic!
If you’re looking for more birthday bash games for toddlers, take a look at our great article Toddler Party Games. It’s jam-packed with ideas.