20 Birthday Party Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Time to celebrate another year around the sun! Throwing the perfect birthday party is challenging at any age, but teens and tweens can be particularly tough. Talk with the birthday boy or girl about what they envision for a celebration and use these 20 ideas to get the conversation started. These themes can be as budget friendly or as high end as you make them. Let the party begin!

  1. Scavenger Hunt – Divide into teams and give kids a list of items to find or challenges to complete. Include taking selfies at specific locations. This activity can be done pretty much anywhere including the mall, neighborhood or park.
  1. Friends and Food – Sharing a meal with a side of camaraderie and laughter is a surefire win. Serve the guest of honor’s meal of choice or purchase the ingredients and let the crew prepare it themselves. Set a beautiful table indoors or dine al fresco!
  1. Camp Out – Book a camp site, RV spot or cute cabin and spend the big day fishing, hiking, building a fire, telling stories and grilling out and making s’mores.
  1. Game Day – Get tickets to a pro, college or high school sporting event. Don’t forget the soda and popcorn!
  1. Movie Party – Contact the local theater and book a private screening of a new movie or set up a projector at home for the ultimate sleepover. Set up a spread of the birthday teen’s favorite snacks and treats!
  1. Hotel Fun– A night at a hotel is a great place to celebrate an extra special birthday. Find one with a restaurant and pool or binge a favorite series and order pizza.
  1. Dive In – Any celebration involving H2O is a guaranteed good time. Head to the neighborhood pool, spend the day on a lake, visit the ocean or fill a baby pool with water balloons and set up the sprinkler.
  1. Murder Mystery – Throw a party that will have every guest trying to figure out whodunit! Send invites letting guests know their “part” in the game.
  1. Spa Day – Treat the birthday celeb and his or her entourage to a few beauty treatments. If a spa isn’t available, DIY with help from parents or older kids from the neighborhood.
  1. Backyard Olympics – Serve up a big slice of competition and watch the fun unfold. Divide into teams and see who tops the podium in the egg toss, obstacle course, jump rope, relay race and hula hoop.

  1. Take a Hike– For the active teen or tween, a hiking adventure with a few close friends could be the perfect way to celebrate. Spend the day in the great outdoors and finish at a favorite restaurant.
  1. Amusement Park – Roller coasters, fair games, greasy food and lots of room to play – a day at the park gives kids freedom to have fun and hang out in a safe environment.
  1. Gaming – Visit a video gaming center or turn your house into the ultimate tournament of champions. Go all out with gaming themed snacks and decorations.
  1. Karaoke – This party idea hits all the high notes. Set up a “stage” and include a box of props with hats, ties, boas and sparkly shoes.
  1. Pizza Party – An old-fashioned pizza party is quick and easy to pull together if the birthday boy or girl isn’t sure what to do. Invite guests to make their own pizza then top it off with a few games and a sundae bar with all the fixings.
  1. Escape Room – Using clues and loads of teamwork, see if the group can solve the puzzle in time. Visit a gaming center or make one yourself!
  1. Geocaching – Ask partygoers to download the app then head to the park and pair off into teams to see how many caches they can find. Finish with a picnic lunch and cake.
  1. Laser Tag – Take aim and treat the kids to an afternoon of strategy and lots of running around. Many entertainment centers offer laser tag in addition to bowling, arcade games or other activities so everyone will have plenty to do.
  1. Volunteer – Say happy birthday and do good at the same time. Get his or her best buds together and spend a few hours serving at an animal shelter, cleaning up a neighborhood park or volunteering with kids. Celebrate after with a favorite meal and cake!
  1. Take a Tour – If your teen or tween is the curious type, make the party an adventure! Visit a local museum, find out how ice cream is made at a local creamery or tour a popular sports venue.
Many of these ideas can be combined to make the ultimate celebration happen. Here’s to the best year ever!

Courtney McLaughlin?is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C. She gratefully shares her life, home and heart with her daughter and their dog.