When children are growing up and it’s time to start planning their birthday party, picking a theme or a location is based on what they are into at that time. It’s likely that they have the lunchbox, PJs, action figures, and videos on repeat of their favorite superhero, character or show. But as children enter the tween years, it’s a delicate balance to create a fun birthday party theme that is no longer viewed as babyish and not too grown-up either.
Party experts, Monique Banks and Ariel Banks Baker, are the team that has created over 3,000 memorable children’s birthday parties. Speaking with parents, they learned quickly that party planning for a tween has its own set of opportunities and challenges to create something that is magical and memorable. As founders of BLUEPRINT, they eagerly share tips to create a successful tween party that they have learned along the way.
Once a year, your tween should feel like it is really and truly their special day. For that reason, parents should focus on their child and create a party that makes their tween excited to celebrate. That doesn’t mean having a big budget for décor, fancy cakes, and entertainment, but keeping in mind the size, theme, and music for the event.
Tweens want independence and parents appreciate a bonding opportunity. Planning a tween birthday party is the perfect opportunity for both. It’s a good idea to get your tween involved with planning their own party. This year it is not about surprising them with something that is adorable or what you think is cute. Let them have input on how many friends they want, the type of cake, and a fun theme.
Traditional party games like Freeze Dance, Simon Says, and Musical Chairs have one thing in common. Someone is out and waiting on the sidelines for the game to end with one winner being announced. That leaves almost all of the guests feeling a range of emotions including bored and/or being left out. Even tweens love a good game, just make sure that it’s inclusive like a fun quiz guessing game.
Be creative when selecting a party theme. BLUEPRINT offers several easy-to-download plans with tween themes like Candy Shoppe, Camp, Lip Sync Madness, Fashion Runway, and Pajama. For example, it’s fun to have a Pajama party theme without a sleepover.
It may seem obvious that a party should have activities. Monique and Ariel suggest back-to-back activities to keep kids engaged and hopefully off their mobile devices. When tweens are busy, that means that they are having a good time. And good times equal good memories for the birthday person and their guests. The best parties will have something going on when guests arrive, high-energy games, a time for cake and snacks, and when it ends a warm goodbye from the birthday child.
When the party is coming to an end, avoid the awkwardness of herding tweens out the door by having a planned ending. A great way to do this is by playing two songs back to back. The first song can be used as a warning that the party is coming to an end and it’s time to say goodbye to friends. The second song is a fun way to end the party on a high note with everyone dancing and singing together.
It’s not uncommon for a tween to suddenly decide that they don’t want a birthday party. This is likely due to peer pressure and feeling like they are too old for a kid’s party. The best way to combat this is by getting your tween involved with the planning process. This way they will feel like they are in control and can still have a special day that is all about them.
Planning a tween birthday party doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can create a party that your tween will love. And by involving them in the process, you’ll be sure to create a memorable event that they will cherish for years to come.
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