For boys and girls with summer birthdays, we've got 20 awesome party themes for all ages. And you can do all of them in your own backyard!

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

camping party
photo: Angenuity

Bring your sleeping bags, play camp games, and the best part…s’mores!

Good ideas:

2. Circus Party/Carnival Party

circus 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.

Good ideas:

  • vintage ticket invites
  • carnival games with prizes
  • popcorn boxes filled with popcorn and/or candy
  • clown noses for the kids

3. Farm/Barnyard Party

farm 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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

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!

Good ideas:

5. Rainbow Party

rainbow party
photo: NorthStory

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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

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.

Good ideas:

“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

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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

spy 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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

beach 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/

Good ideas:

  • watermelon shark fruit salad (tutorial)
  • snacks displayed in sand buckets with shovels as serving spoons
  • sunglasses as favours

11. Jungle Safari Party

http://catchmyparty.com/photos/932531
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!

Good ideas:

12. County Fair Party

county fair
photo: Pizzazzerie

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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

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.

Good ideas:

14. Under the Sea Party

under the sea
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!

Good ideas:

15. Puppy Party

doggie 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.

Good ideas:

  • dog-bone cake (granted, this is a party for an actual dog…)
  • stuffed puppy adoption
  • favours in doggie bags

16. Obstacle Course Party

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.

Good ideas:

17. Movie Party

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.

Good ideas:

  • 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

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.

Good ideas:

  • bright tissue-paper flowers
  • fun favour: maracas!
  • luchador mask crafts
  • special sombrero for the birtday boy or girl

19. Bubbles and Balloons Party

bubble 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.

Good ideas:

20. Teddy Bear Picnic Party

teddy bear picnic
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!

Good ideas:

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