Read these 23 Birthday Party Ideas Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Birthday tips and hundreds of other topics.
There is a "new" tradition growing in popularity in the U.S. called a "Croning". This is a community-based ceremony where a woman over 50 is welcomed into her new role in the "tribe" as a grandmother, a wise woman, and a teacher. It is based on the philosophy that women go through three distinct phases in their lives - the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone - and it works to validate the worth of a woman that has lived many years and collected a lot of experience.
While there is a bit of speculation about where the Croning ceremony actually originated, there is some suggestion that it may be a very ancient ritual. In truth, the origin of the ceremony is not anywhere near as valuable as what you choose to do with it.
Getting a rough outline for the Croning ceremony determined would include the community of women and family coming together to talk about and prepare for it.
This is a great opportunity to celebrate a life well-lived and remind the Crone that her life is not over - that there are so many more adventures waiting for her. Additional gifts can include journals, inspiration cards, bath luxuries, affirmation books, photo albums, scrapbooks, or any supplies for hobbies she enjoys. This is not the time for gag gifts or jokes that diminish the value of her years of experience.
There is only one reported problem with having this kind of party, and that is that it is very difficult to come up with a celebration that measures up the following year!
Coming up with a birthday party theme can sometimes be a challenge as your kids get older. Get your child involved in picking out what games, if any, will be played. Even older kids enjoy winning prizes so think of some fun activities that can have a variety of different winners.
You might have them decorate a t-shirt or visor and give out prizes for most original, funniest, most colorful, and so forth. You could play short bursts of popular songs and let the kids compete for who can guess the name of the song first. If you're completely stuck for a birthday party theme, just pick a color and go with that!
For a unique and sentimental party activity try asking everyone attending the party to bring a white candle (or the birthday person's favorite color). It can be any size, shape, or style. Surround the room with tables of the candles (could be before the birthday person arrives). Then, when they are present, have each guest, one at a time, approach the table, light the candle they brought, and say something special about the birthday person, or a shared memory, or something funny they did together. The birthday person will remember this day forever!
*It will work even better if you have exactly 50 guests so that there are 50 candles lit at the end.
Although it is still a good idea to limit the number of guests (and many parents still swear by the age-plus-one rule for four and five-year-olds), groups of eight kids are manageable at this stage. Children may have more fun without their parents along, but be sure to enlist at least one adult helper.
A "Gentle" Roast and/or Memory Book -- ask everyone to write down something about the birthday person. Sample questions can include:
The most embarrassing moment with Jane was _________.
What I remember most about Bob is ______________.
A wonderful Jackie did for me is ___________________________.
The funniest moment
The most romantic moment
Something the birthday celebrant did to change my life
Etc. etc. etc.
Younger kids might not be ready for a sleepover party, although they like the idea. Instead of pushing them before they're ready, have a pretend sleepover party instead. This birthday party theme is fun for all and everyone still gets a good night's sleep.
Have the kids arrive already in their pajamas with a favorite blanket and pillow early in the evening. Rearrange your family room furniture so the kids can stretch out and watch a short movie after they've played a few games and eaten their dinner and cake. Arrange for the parents to pick them up at about your kids normal bedtime.
You want to have the guests rolling in the aisles and the birthday honoree laughing so hard he or she can't talk. However, you need some funny birthday ideas to get things started. What can you do to make this party a humor-filled event?
Try salting the guest list with actors and comedians who do funny things out of the blue. Having people do something completely off the wall can really catch people off guard and get them laughing. Consider asking them to break into song, tell great jokes or work with another actor to set up entire zany scenes.
Consider pranks, but be careful. A prank that ruins someone's attire or is potentially dangerous, like pulling someone's chair out from under him, is not funny. Pranks like peculiar food or disappearing gifts are much better choices.
Bring back the simple games of childhood and there should be plenty of fun and laughter happening naturally. Simon Says, Red Light, Green Light, Statues and Hide and Seek are all games that should help guests have a fantastic time. For guests who are feeling a bit less energetic, Go Fish, War, Old Maid and other children's card games are a good option.
If you have a birthday party theme, adapt games to match the themes. For example, you can have a scavenger party and make the items to be collected organized around the birthday party theme. If you're having a cowboy party with a scavenger hunt, have kids collect items like a can of beans, a piece of rope, and a piece of straw or hay.
If you don't have a particular theme, make the items age appropriate and easy to collect. One variation on the scavenger hunt idea is to give each team a "white elephant" item. Instead of asking for things, they offer to trade the item for something that the people don't want. Set a time limit or a number of houses and then have everyone return. Have each child vote (anonymously) on what item they think is the best. The winner is the team that collected the most popular item.
If you're having a movie night birthday, a party idea is to have lots of different popcorns for munching. Set out large bowls of buttered popcorn and offer everything from parmesan cheese to taco seasonings to sprinkle on top. Ask everyone for their favorite popcorn toppings and you may learn some new tricks!
You can buy flavored popcorn toppings or make your own. For a treat, buy some movie theater popcorn boxes for serving the popcorn. Whether you make your popcorn in the microwave, a hot air popper, or the old-fashioned way over the stove, movies and popcorn go together like birthdays and parties.
Food and birthday parties go hand in hand so think about having your next birthday party theme be a cooking one! Come up with some food that your child likes that can be assembled party style, either as part of an assembly line or in a build your own kind of style.
Something like lasagna can be set up in different stages. Tacos can also use plenty of help in being prepared. Build your own pizzas are another favorite party food. If the kids are too young to roll out the dough, do that ahead of time and let them just build the toppings. You can use recipe cards for invitations and thank you notes and send home aprons as the party favors.
Having trouble coming up with birthday party ideas for your older child? Older kids can get very involved in planning their own parties. They're likely to come up with a birthday idea you wouldn't think of that their friends will really enjoy. Ask them to think of the best parties they've gone to and talk about what games and activities were the most fun. Learning to plan a party is a good skill.
Have them list out the different games they want to play or activities they want to do and estimate how long each will take. Set aside time for cake and ice cream plus some time to open presents. If, as is likely, they end up with a longer list than you think is reasonable, have them rank the activities and do them in order until you run out of time.
Kids like throwing water balloons but you might not be thrilled with the idea of having a bunch of soaking wet kids in your house later. No matter what you birthday party theme, you can probably come up with a 'bad guy" that is related.
For a fun birthday idea that keeps the kids entertained and your house dry, create a drawing of the bad guy on a piece of plywood or other scrap wood and hide it somewhere in the yard before the party starts. Nearby, have a container of water balloons ready to go. Send the kids off to find the bad guy and let them throw the water balloons at the character. If you draw on the wood with chalk, the balloons will wash off the chalk and "make the bad guy go away."
There are an endless variety of themes for birthday parties. Toddlers typically enjoy the perennial favorite theme of Disney. Younger elementary school kids like a birthday party theme around fantasy characters, like a pirate or a princess. Some themes are universal, like an island party.
Older adults might enjoy a surprise party where they are the theme: Have each guest bring a written letter or scrapbook page. If someone organizes this in advance, the completed scrapbook can be presented to the guest of honor at the party. It's sure to invoke some fun memories and great stories.
My birthday is in January and I've come up with a number of creative ways to celebrate it. One year we rented an ice skating rink at the local park and recreation department and had an ice skating party. If there's enough snow on the ground, you might want to think about taking your party over to a sledding hill. I did that one year. Prior to that year, I hadn't been sledding since I was a kid and I had forgotten how much fun it can be.
Of course, if you don't like the cold, you can have any number of party themes with an indoor party.
Planning a birthday party can get hectic. Transform your planning time into bonding time between yourself and the birthday person. Before you start take an evening, turn off that television and cuddle up with your child or that special person while you choose a party theme. This allows two people to do two things at once in this very busy world.
Many parents plan scavenger hunts for birthday parties but are uncomfortable with asking people to give the kids things. Here's a modern twist on an old birthday party idea. Borrow some digital cameras and have an adult or older child go with each team. Rather than taking away the items on the scavenger list, you can just take a picture! Whichever team makes it back to the party base with a photograph of every item on their list wins.
*Make the prize a disposable camera to keep within the birthday party theme.
Why not take things in reverse? One fun birthday party idea is to have a backwards birthday party. You can have children get dressed with their clothes on backwards, walk in the door backwards, eat the cake and ice cream first and then sing Happy Birthday, and do the games at the end of the party rather than the beginning.
*Play a few games that can be played backwards by starting at the end.
Hats can be a key component for a birthday party theme. Some are fairly obvious, like cowboy hats and firefighter hats. But crowns for princes and princess, hats worn by movie stars in certain movies, or pirate hats can be fun as well. If you don't want to make hats for every guests, think of things you can put on top of headbands instead. Dog ears can be made out of felt and pipe cleaners for example for a dog party. One of your party activities can be to make the headbands or hats, letting each child choose their own options. Have paper hat pieces all cut out ahead of time to make it easier.
While older kids don't need a theme to have a birthday, their idea may be to eat nothing but junk and that doesn't make for peaceful parties. For a sleepover, plan both dinner and breakfast with an eye toward fun as well as nutrition.
Make your own pizzas and let each child customize to their heart's content. Offer some salad as well or some vegetables and dip for the munchies in addition to the typical chips. For breakfast, pancakes and eggs are pretty easy to make for a crowd. Serve a large pitcher of orange juice and some hot chocolate as well.
Collect old pictures from family and guests to and either create a collage or have the pictures transferred onto a video tape (easily done at local video/camera shops). Don't forget the music - a perfect addition to the clips, or play favorite "oldies" at the party while watching the video. (Tip: Transferring pictures to video takes a few weeks - make sure you allow enough time.)"
Another favorite birthday party theme is sports. You can have the party focused on your child's favorite sport or make it more broad and invite everyone to wear some part of the uniform from their favorite sport. Set up some outdoor party games that are sports oriented.
Get a large poster of the birthday child's favorite sports star and hang it up. Carefully tape a birthday hat to the poster or make it look like the star is holding a helium balloon. Play "Who Am I" with famous sports stars of the day. Play charades that are sports oriented as well.
One fun birthday party theme for adults and teenagers is to center the party around who else was born on that day. You can play various games where the answers are other famous people born the same day as the birthday person. You might set the stage by making the birthday party invitation include names and pictures of celebrities born on the same day.
Birthday decorations can also center around this theme, with pictures of famous people or some specific genre of art or music credited to someone who shares a birthday. Younger children might get a kick out of decorating around a favorite book by an author that shares their birthday.