We throw a lot of birthday parties during the summer. My two boys have summer birthdays: my youngest was born in July and my oldest is celebrating a birthday this week. My daughter’s birthday is in April but because of the craziness of spring we usually wait to have a party in June when spring activities are over. I’ve been planning consecutive birthday parties this summer and you might say I’ve tried a lot of different ideas over time. So I thought I’d put together a list of some tried and true birthday party ideas for kids.
1. Laser Tag In the Park
One of my favorite party ideas is to have a laser tag party in the park. My youngest isn’t crazy about indoor laser tag parties (I think maybe because it’s dark and can be a little scary for a little guy) but even he loves outdoor laser tag. The trick to hosting this type of party is to find a large space where the kids can run around and hide behind trees and other structures so they really get the feel for the hunt. Locally in Northern Virginia we’ve hired Tom’s Laser Tag for this type of party and it never disappoints.
2. Flag Football Party
I think it’s always so hard to come up with fun party ideas for older kids. A few years ago we planned a flag football party for my older son and hired a local sports camp facilitator to keep the kids in line and organized. It was a huge hit. The kids all had a lot of respect for the facilitator because many of them had interacted with him previously at a local camp. He also did a great job of keeping the kids in line and squashing any skirmishes before they became a big deal. Ask for Antuan from Sportz Camps 4 Kidz in Northern Virginia.
3. Pool Party And Games
A pool party in the summer is always a good idea as long as you have an older group of kids or tell parents that it is not a drop off party in advance. For my youngest’s birthday last year we incorporated some poolside games like eating donuts hung from a string and silly string fights. Quick tip: buy simple glazed donuts to tie to a string (tie it to a sunshade canopy if you have one) because in the summer heat the cake donuts get really heavy and droopy.
4. Character/hero Party
When my daughter was six she was really into power rangers. So we hired a character actor to dress up as a power ranger and facilitate some backyard games. The kids did a tug of war and played ball games with the red power ranger. I’d say this type of party has an upper range limit of about 7-8 years old but can be a lot of fun if they are in a phase where the idolize a character on tv or the movies.
This year and for the third time in our history of throwing kids birthday parties we hired Captain Silly Bones to entertain a group of six and seven year olds. Captain Silly Bones gets on the kids’ wavelength by entertaining them with a silly story and magic tricks to go along with it. He has a way with kids and controls the audience so the parents can relax during his one and a half hour show. Unlimited tattoos and goody bags are provided by the entertainer.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Growing up the most memorable birthday party I ever attended was a scavenger hunt. This is a great idea for older elementary or middle school kids but it does require a lot of advance legwork and enough parents on hand to keep it safe. It’s a good idea to set a boundary for where the kids can travel and to let your neighbors know in advance that you are doing this. Divide the kids into even groups and provide them with a list of items to find. With a parent chaperoning each group send the groups around the neighborhood to knock on doors and ask for the items from the list. The more creative you are with the items on the list, the more fun this is for the kids. The group that collects the most items wins a prize.
This is a fairly standard idea but never fails to disappoint. My kids are particularly big fans of water slide moon bounces which can make it more palatable during the summer heat.
8. Rent a Movie Theater
We have not personally done this but we have friends that annually have a movie party for their July birthday boys. They rent out a theater and provide kids with popcorn and drinks for the show. Afterward the kids head to nearby fountains to splash around. For DC/Northern Virginia readers Loews Georgetown offers private theater rentals.
9. Rock Climbing Wall
Earth Treks and Sport Rock climbing centers are just two local Virginia companies that have indoor rock climbing walls. Both offer private climbing areas and instructors for the adventurous birthday boy or girl. The minimum age for climbing is six so it is a great idea for kids in first or second grade and up.
10. Pirate Adventure Boat
One of our most favorite birthday parties for the preschool set was a pirate adventure boat. The children get the opportunity to live life like a pirate for a couple of hours and search for sunken treasure and fire water cannons. The boat leaves from Annapolis, Maryland but was so entertaining for the kiddos it was well worth the trip from Northern Virginia.
What are some of your favorite birthday party ideas. Leave a comment below and we’ll add to this list!
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