When it comes to birthday parties, I am all about welcoming and relaxed, with lots of opportunities for kids to solidify friendships through fun and creative activities. My oldest daughter Emma turned ten last month, and this month we threw a birthday party for her friends. I kept my basic birthday party formula, but set up more advanced activities since these girls are growing up and for a tween birthday party they are looking for a taste of sophistication!
How to Host a Fun & Low Stress Tween Birthday Party
Here is how we structured Emma’s tween birthday party:
- Welcome Activity. Something that girls could do as they came in.
- Theme Activity. A “to remember” activity that set the tone for the party
- Cupcake Decorating. We almost always decorate cupcakes at birthday parties. The kids LOVE the autonomy of decorating their cupcakes however they like, and it’s so much easier than decorating a cake!
- Quiet Filler Activity. Like the welcome activity, something the kids can do if they finish the earlier activities quickly. I try to provide both quiet and active filler activities. Some kids need down time at a party, while others need the opportunity to get moving!
- Active Filler Activity. Kids can choose between this and the active filler activity, or they can do both. My kids love sitting still and focusing, but many kids do not, so it is important to have an active alternative!
- Goodbye Activity. Something kids can do as parents filter in for pick-up.
Emma and I planned this out together, weeks in advance. We had everything so clearly set out that Emma was able to do the set-up completely on her own! Major win for mom, and wonderful practice for Emma in hospitality.
I found these cute plastic owls at Oriental Trading. Paired with Sharpie pens, this made a novel welcome activity that none of the guests had done before. They had plenty of room to chat as they decorating their whimsical owls.
This was a crafting-centered birthday party, and Emma picked Sculpey clay crafting as our central activity. My kids play with Sculpey clay all the time, but most of their friends do not, so this made it a great special activity for Emma and her friends. I set out a few supplies:
- Sculpey clay
- Sculpey flowers and leaves flexible clay mold – these were very popular, and provided girls who wanted a very structured activity with a way to easily make a beautiful, defined shape.
- Six more acrylic rollers – there were ten girls, but they were able to share these without too much trouble.
- Sculpey metal shape cutters – these were also a big hit!
- Screw eyes pin findings – perfect for making necklace and bracelet charms.
- Earring findings – Emma does not have pierced ears, but several of her friends do.
- The Sculpey Beginner’s Guide to Polymer Clay (you can find more polymer clay books we like in this post.)
- Sculpey modeling tools – minus the piece with the really sharp end.
The girls LOVED this activity! They got really creative, and I was amazed at all the different ways they used the clay. I heard from several parents that their daughters really enjoyed crafting with Sculpey clay. I think they would have crafted for even longer, but I had to end the activity in time to bake the pieces for them to bring home at the end of the party.
I apparently completely missed photos of this, but we made chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting (softened butter with powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla) that the kids decorated with nerds.
Quiet Filler Activity
Detailed coloring pages are all the rage right now! I printed a bunch out (they come free with my HP Envy printer) and paired them with Crayola Twistables colored pencils.
Active Filler Activity
You are never too old to build a tall tower using DUPLO blocks! Three girls worked together to build a tower that reached the ceiling, while a few others created funky creatures out of the remaining bricks.
We used music as our goodbye activity. We were looking for a new stereo system when the Amazon Echo first came out, and we decided to buy that instead. Since we have Amazon Prime, many of the songs the girls love are available to listen to for free thanks to Prime Music. They had a blast asking the Echo to play their favorite songs and then dancing to those songs while waiting for their parents to pick them up.
And there you have it! A low key, low stress tween birthday party that Emma and her friends loved! This party was also flexible enough to accommodate Emma’s younger siblings, her little cousins, and the younger sister of a friend who came along.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?