Planning a co-ed kids birthday party this summer? For boys and girls with summer birthdays, we’ve got 21 awesome party themes for kids from babies to tweens that you can do in your own backyard.
These are all brand-free (you don’t need us to tell you about Frozen parties or Justin Bieber parties, do you?) and inspired by real-life moms and party planners.
We’ve highlighted some top tips for each theme, too. Of course, before you plan, it’s always a good idea to sit down and brainstorm with your child, too.
1. Camping Party
Bring your sleeping bags, play camp games, and the best part…s’mores!
- mini pup tents
- scavenger hunt
- S’mores cupcakes
- trail mix bar
2. Circus Party/Carnival Party
photo: Cakes & Co.
But there’s a reason this is a popular summer birthday party theme for kids: it’s fun! Food and decor are no-brainers—almost anything goes: streamers, balloons, every colour under the rainbow, popcorn, animal crackers, pretzels, hot dogs, bubbles…nothing is too over the top under the big top.
- vintage ticket invites
- carnival games with prizes
- popcorn boxes filled with popcorn and/or candy
- clown noses for the kids
3. Farm/Barnyard Party
photo: Jenny Cookies
You could also call it an Old MacDonald party. Ee ii ee ii oh! Or make the main attraction a petting zoo. There are places that will come to you. You’ll be the talk of the schoolyard.
- cupcakes in egg cartons
- corn on the cob on a stick and watermelon on a stick
- potato sack races
- milk cartons as decor
- stuffed chicks in a cage to take home
4. Ice Cream Social Party
photo: Pretty Prudent
I scream, you scream…. An ice cream social or a banana split party with lots of DIY options is something all kids can get behind. But you may want to forgo a cake, with all the sugar involved!
- toppings in flower pots
- ice cream cone balloons
- pin the cherry on the ice cream cone
5. Rainbow Party
Any food or decoration that comes in a primary or secondary colour is fair game for a rainbow party. Lest you think this is a girly theme, check out this clown/rainbow party: http://www.howdoesshe.com/clown-themed-birthday-party/. Or label it a Willy Wonka party, and call it a day.
- fruit and veggies kebabs all colours
- colourful piñata
- piñata “ice cream” cone (tutorial pinned by Chelsea Hart on Pinterest)
- perfectly imperfect rainbow layer cake (from Paiges of Style)
- rainbow pinwheels as favours
- rainbow pasta salad
- rainbow-dipped Oreos (lots of tutorials out there, but here’s a sparkly one from Beehive and Birdsnest)
6. Western Party
photo: Dixie Delights
This is the old cowboy/cowgirl theme popular with lil’ pardners since your grandparents were kids. Givens are pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, a “watering hole” drinks station, cowboy hats for guests, and a hay bale or two.
“Wanted” sign photo booth
straw cowboy hat favours
cowboy/cowgirl-themed games like “steer” roping
hay bales to hold treats on a stick
paisley cupcake liners as decorative drink toppers
7. Superhero Party
photo: Anders Ruff
First things first. You will need a cape. And a mask. Beyond that, look to comic books, superhero movies and TV shows for inspiration: the sky’s the limit with superhero and comic-book-themed decor and games. For the food? Hero sandwiches, of course.
- graffiti wall/colouring wall
- portrait of the birthday boy or girl as a superhero
- pin-the-logo-on-the-superhero game
- capes for everyone
- comic-book speech bubble signs: find free speech bubble printables
- decorate your entire party with these cool printables—not free, but a huge time-saver!
8. Nursery Rhyme Party
photo: Glee Projects
Get creative with Mother Goose or fairy tales and fables like The Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, and everything that begins with “once up on a time…” A sweet idea for babies and toddlers.
- three little pig marshmallow pops
- gingerbread man cookies
- paper hats made from copies of nursery rhyme book pages
- magic wand favours
9. Spy / Secret Agent Party
photo: Veronica Reeve
Agents-in-training can gear up for a fun day of spy training games, secret missions, “explosives” (Pop Rocks and balloons), and other themed games. Ask kids to wear black and grey as part of the theme.
- secret code invitations
- secret-agent training games
- old-school nose-and-glasses disguise
- black spy beanies for everyone
10. Beach Party / Surf’s Up Party
photo: Lovely Party Things
Can’t get to the beach? Bring it to you. This is a classic summer theme that’ll cool you off in the heat. Checklist: a sandbox, sand toys, some beach blankets and towels, beach balls, coloured lanterns, coolers filled with beverages. Maybe a kiddie pool for wee ones and a homemade ball pit. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/156851999496734867/
- watermelon shark fruit salad (tutorial)
- snacks displayed in sand buckets with shovels as serving spoons
- sunglasses as favours
11. Jungle Safari Party
Photo: Catch My Party
Let the animals go wild by throwing a jungle party. Put all your child’s toy animals to work as decor. You could also give it a slight twist as a Where the Wild Things Are party. Don’t forget the animal crackers!
- beaks and snouts to wear and as favours
- tissue paper forest
- monkey cupcakes
- kid craft: make homemade binoculars
- streamers for vines
12. County Fair Party
Good, wholesome fun for everyone. Go for simple pleasures with corn dogs, watermelon, berries, and lemonade and old-fashioned games like potato sack races, three-legged races, water-balloon toss, scavenger hunts.
- DIY fabric scraps pennant (perfect for far-from-expert sewers)
- tin can toss game
- move an indoor bookcase or cabinet outdoors to store plates, cups, etc.
- wrap tin cans with decorative paper for cutlery, etc.
- pie-eating contest
- old-fashioned candy
13. Art Party
photo:Miss Party Mom
Let kids get creative with tons of art supplies. Arts and crafts do double duty as a theme and an activity. No games required when kids are busy crafting. It’s easy to make the food look great: rainbow-coloured sweets and cupcakes make excellent eye candy, and we think an assortment of fruit would look cool, too.
- Don’t just make art—eat it too! Let kids decorate their own cupcakes.
- paint-chip table runner
- canvas and palette for each child
- hand-drawn empty-frame “wallpaper” backdrop
14. Under the Sea Party
photo: Chickabug Blog
There’s so many ways you can interpret this party: either focus on awesome sea creatures like octopus, whales, and squid. Or make it a bit more feminine by adding some mermaids. Incorporate shipwrecks, submarines, Neptune, and more. Balloons are essential, as are seaweed streamers and bubbles, bubbles, everywhere!
- two words: bubble machine
- fishing net loot bags
- treats made to look like sushi—or veggie and cooked sushi rolls
- lobster net balloon release
- oyster whoopie pies
- easy DIY octopus lanterns
15. Puppy Party
photo: Juicy Bits
We think younger kids would love a dog-themed party and will get a kick out of cookies shaped like dog treats and snacks or lunch served in dog bowls.
- dog-bone cake (granted, this is a party for an actual dog…)
- stuffed puppy adoption
- favours in doggie bags
16. Obstacle Course Party
photo: Beth & Co.
An obstacle party is a surefire way to keep kids entertained. The photo above is of a water obstacle party inspired by the TV show Wipeout… Giant slide, big red balls, water everywhere. Awesome.
- pool noodle obstacle
- make use of that Ikea tunnel
- hula hoops, balloons and dunking pool slide from Meaningful Mama
- simple decor—it’s all about the activities!
17. Movie Party
Show a movie under the stars or even make it a “drive-in” movie with toy or homemade box cars. Rent a movie screen or rig a DIY screen from a dropcloth. Or just tell kids to bring their sleeping bags, or set out camping mats and all pillows and cushions you have.
- Make carboard box cars for a drive-in movie!
- treat wagon with all the movie favourites
- movie ticket invites
- flavoured popcorn mix-and-match station
18. Mexican Fiesta Party
photo: 100 layer cake-let
This theme is perfect for summer and it’s an excuse to eat tacos, guacamole, and queso-topped everything all day long. Decor and games are easy: was pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey ever more appropriate? And every colour of the rainbow works, you just need the essential Mexican papel picado banners and, of course, a rockin’ piñata.
- bright tissue-paper flowers
- fun favour: maracas!
- luchador mask crafts
- special sombrero for the birtday boy or girl
19. Bubbles and Balloons Party
photo: Moms & Munchkins
Let’s not overthink it. Kids love bubbles and balloons. Go to town with giant bubble wands, a bubble machine, balloon animals, and water balloon games.
- photo-op: neat DIY hot air balloon photo booth
- love this bubble cake
- activity: each kid gets a bubble bin, and…go!
- favours: bubbles to take home
20. Teddy Bear Picnic Party
photo: Miss Deliciouza
For little kids, this is a cute idea—you could make it a Winnie the Pooh theme, but we like to be inclusive of all bears! Think country picnic: checkered picnic blanket, striped straws, and honey-themed foods. Plus, ants on a log!