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Here is a list of 70+ ideas for entertaining kids thoroughly entertained at a kids’ birthday party. I’ve included a whole range of ideas for activities and entertainment for kids as young as toddlers through to tweens and teens.
Once you’ve decided on the perfect idea for the party you are planning, grab my free party planning checklist to start getting organised.
THE BIG LIST OF KIDS’ PARTY IDEAS
1. ART AND CRAFT PARTY FUN
Art and craft parties are brilliant for toddlers through to tweens. What I love most is that the craft the kids make doubles as a party favour, which saves you both time and money.
This massive benefit will hopefully help you overlook the huge potential for a lot of mess to clear up 😉
Here is a list of the different kinds of crafts you could choose to have as an activity at your child’s next party:
Decoupage is a craft technique in which various types of paper are torn up and glued onto an object and then sealed with multiple coats of varnish.
It lends itself to quite a laid-back, relaxed party vibe. I used Deco Patch kits as a craft activity for my daughter’s 9th birthday party. The kits come with easy-to-follow instructions, and the creations look really cute.
Best for: Kids aged 6 – 10
2. T-SHIRT ART
Kids who love style and fashion will love the chance to create their own T-shirt design. There are a couple of different ways to go about hosting a T-shirt art party.
Option 1: Splat Planet T-shirts
Splat Planet T-shirts are great for younger kids and make brilliant party favours. There are over 30 different outline designs to choose from, and each T-shirt comes with its own set of 10 colour pens with washable ink.
So kids can colour in the design, then when the T-shirt is chucked in the wash, the colour is magically removed, and they can colour in the T-shirt all over again.
Best for: Kids aged 5 – 7
Option 2: Freestyle art
Alternatively, you can bulk buy plain white T-shirts and then provide the kids with fabric paints and pens to freestyle their own creations.
Best for: Kids aged 7- 10
3. SLIME MAKING
Slime isn’t what it used to be!! It now comes in an array of colours, scents and fancy forms. I can’t think of a single child I know who doesn’t love playing with slime.
You can either buy the supplies you need for the kids to make slime from scratch. Or you can buy a slime-making kit.
Best for: Kids aged 5 – 8
Here is a basic slime recipe (free from borax):
- 120 ml / 1/2 cup of PVA school glue (white or clear)
- 120 ml / 1/2 cup of water
- 120 ml / 1/2 cup of cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- Food colouring (optional)
- Glitter (optional)
There are LOTS of slime-making kits out there. I’ve taken the time to check out some of the best, and I m my favourite is the Galt Toys Slimy Lab because it has really strong STEM credentials.
The Galt Slimy Lab kit comes with an instruction booklet with step-by-step instructions for four fun experiments. Kids can make glow-in-the-dark slime, make slime change colour and mould gooey, gloopy slime creatures.
4. FINGER PAINTING
Finger painting is a classic art activity for little kids; it never fails to bring squeals of delight as toddlers and preschoolers enjoy the sensory experience of dipping their fingers (and hands!) in paint and getting creative with it.
Just remember to protect all surrounding surfaces from being decorated!!
Best for: Toddlers – 5
5. FRIENDSHIP BRACELET-MAKING
It’s pretty much a certified rite-of-passage for kids, and girls in particular, to make friendship bracelets. So, it’s a lovely idea as a craft activity for a birthday party.
Best for: Kids aged 7 – 8
6. AIR-DRY CLAY MODELLING
Air-dry clay is like the cool hipster version of good ole-fashioned Play-Doh. What’s lovely is that it dries, so the creations are permanent.
My daughter and her friends absolutely loved getting creative with air-dry clay, it is really easy to work with, and there are some beautiful colours.
Best for: Kids aged 6 – 9
7. LIP BALM MAKING
Tweens LOVE lip balm; it’s like the entry-level beauty product that they can’t get enough of. So, what better than a lip balm-making party for a bunch of tweens?
Best for: Kids aged 8 – 10
2. IDEAS FOR ENTERTAINERS
There are loads of different types of kids’ party entertainers. Here is a list of some of the types of entertainers that work best for kids’ parties.
- Magician – this is some useful advice on how to choose a magician for your party
- Mad Scientist – this is a great party entertainment idea for kids aged 5 and upwards. Fancy being the mad scientist? If you’re in the UK, this Science Party in a Box has everything you need (and it’s won a Netmums Award)
- Bubble artist – this works well for kids from 3 upwards; watching a child get enveloped in a giant bubble never ceases to be amazing!
- Puppet show – perfect for entertaining kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years old
- Balloon modelling entertainer – if you’re particularly crafty, you could do this yourself, this kit has 100 modelling balloons and a pump, or if you have a smaller gathering, this is the most delightful retro-looking balloon modelling kit with 30 balloons, pump, stick on eyes and (most importantly!) instructions
- Story-teller – this is a great way to entertain toddlers and pre-schoolers
- Face painter and temporary tattoo artist – this is best for smaller groups of kids. Otherwise, the wait for their turn can become overwhelming and also means you need to come up with lots of other things to keep them occupied. If you want to hazard doing the face painting yourself, this face painting kit comes with picture instructions and has everything from paints and stencils to glitter and even hair chalk.
- Drama class party – this is a great way to bring together kids aged 6 and 7 for a fun at-home party. We used Perform (UK based) to provide a kids’ party for our daughter, and it went down a storm.
3. FOODIE PARTY IDEAS
Foodie parties can take one of two forms. Either you have a food theme or you have a food making activity.
- Afternoon tea party – this is a great idea for a first birthday party, which let’s face it is more about the parents than the kids!
- Donut wall party – great for tweens, you can theme the whole party with donuts!! Ginger Ray does a great rainbow shaped donut wall. Krispy-Kreme does some donut decorating kits. And Baker Ross has some fab donut cushion sewing kits.
- Pizza making party – you can buy ready-made bases or ready-made pizza dough or you can let them go the whole hog and make the dough from scratch. Then set out a selection of pizza toppings to add. It’s a nice touch to provide every child with an apron (their parents will appreciate it!) which could double-up as the party favour. You can get some beautiful personalised aprons on Notonthehighstreet.com. Top tip: Aim for younger kids making mini-pizzas to avoid waste, also aim for making mini pizzas if you have a lot of party guests, otherwise they’ll be waiting ages for them to be cooked.
- Cupcake or biscuit decorating party – Bake up a batch of cupcakes and then provide the kids with a selection of things to decorate them with. The Cake Decor store has everything you could ever possibly need. Alternatively, go for biscuit decorating. Craft & Crumb have some amazing cake and biscuit baking kits – anyone fancy a pizza biscuit or hamburger cake?! They also do some great biscuit making party bags, which you could give to each child at the start of the party to make their biscuits and then they take away the result.
4. AT HOME: INDOOR ACTIVITIES
It’s one thing deciding to host a kids party at home, it’s quite another to keep them entertained. If you are not planning on hiring an entertainer, you will need to come up with some great ideas to keep the kids occupied. Here are some of the best and most popular ideas.
- Classic party games – take a look at my big list of classic kids party games
- Gaming party – If you’re in the UK, the Pop Up Party Arcade gets brilliant reviews for creating at home gaming parties
- Escape room – Clue Quest, the London Escape Room people have a selection of printable escape room kits you can buy for parties at home
- Glow in the dark dance party – you can buy an actual black light glow in the dark party kit. Make the most of it by using it for birthday parties and at halloween!
- Karaoke – rent or buy a karaoke machine and then run for the hills to avoid having to listen!!! This karaoke machine has bluetooth to connect it to whatever karaoke app you want to use
- Glam squad – great for teen girls (or boys) wanting to get their glam on
- Spa party – there is so much fun to be had buying stuff for a spa party, everything from face masks (always a winner with tween girls!) to nail polish.
- Indoor glamping/slumber party – hire indoor teepees or provide the kids with fun sleepover packs
- Movie night – get a consensus on the movie beforehand, buy stacks of pick n mix and popcorn and pop them in themed cinema-style cartons
5. GARDEN PARTIES
- Scavenger hunt – come up with a set of clues and things to find and you’re away!
- Glamping – there are plenty of kids party glamping companies to choose from to book
- Music festival – get the kids to bring their own tents, get a playlist together, create a firepit and maybe throw in a fireworks display. Great for teens.
- Hot tub spa party – hire a hot tub, provide the kids with spa pamper packs and let them relax and enjoy! Tweens LOVE a hot tub party.
- Bubble machine party – make sure to buy a bubble machine like this Gazillion Bubbles machine that can blow out hundreds of bubbles. Perfect for kids of any age, but particularly great for yielding squeals of delight from toddlers and preschoolers.
- Water splash party – Take a look at my big list of fun water play ideas for kids and take your pick. Splash parties can work for any age, just choose age-appropriate games.
- Bouncy castle – hire a bouncy castle. Just make sure to check the company providing it are licenced and paying attention to safety.
6. ANIMAL INSPIRED PARTY IDEAS
Most kids love animals and animal themed parties are a great way to get a little education into a kids party – nourish those young brains!! They are also a great way to support animals and their welfare.
- City farm – take the kids to look at the animals, usually city farms have a space you can hire for party food
- Animal petting party – find a reputable company to bring well looked after animals for the kids to learn about and pet
- Creepy crawlies party – again, find a reputable company to bring well looked after insects and bugs
- Animal sanctuary – this is a great way to support a local animal sanctuary if they allow visitors
7. ACTIVITY CENTRE PARTY IDEAS
There are plenty of entertainment venues that are absolutely perfect as ready-made party entertainment spaces for kids. Here are some of the most popular places to host kids’ parties.
- Bowling alley
- Trampolining centre
- Climbing wall centre
- Swimming pool party
- Soft play centre party
- Ice-rink skating party
- Roller-rink roller skating party
- VR Experience party
- Escape room
- Laser tag party
- Paintballing party
- Go-karting party
- Group cinema trip
- Circus skills party
8. OUTDOOR: SPORT FOCUSED PARTIES
If your child and their friends are sport-mad, why not throw them a sport themed party? You could set it up as a more competitive affair for older kids or stick to having someone come and demonstrate skills for younger kids. Here are some ideas for popular sport-focused parties.
- Gymnastics party
- Football skills party
- Cricket party
- Olympics-style athletics party
9. SPECIALITY PARTY VENUES
There are hundreds of local venues that offer parties for kids. Here is a list of ideas for the types of venues to consider.
- Chocolate making party
- Bathbomb making
- Pizza making
- Pottery painting
10. OUTDOOR ACTIVITY CENTRE PARTIES
Check local listings for outdoor activity centres that offer parties for kids. This kind of party is perfect for kids from the age of 9 upwards, where they can cope with a little bit of cold in winter or when they need more mental stimulation and activity than just party games.
- Bushcrafts – check local directories for local bushcraft experts or centres
- Den building – great for team building skills alongside having lots of party fun
- Survival skills – useful skills to learn alongside oodles of fun
- Horse riding – ask your local stables if they host parties
- Adventure playground – always a winning idea for kids with lots of energy
- Zip-lines (Go-Ape if you’re in the UK) not for the faint-hearted, but lots of adreneline fuelled fun
HOW DO YOU ENTERTAIN A PARTY OF KIDS?
How you entertain a party of kids depends on lots of variables. You need to consider the age of the children, the hobbies, your budget, the time you have to plan it, whether you want to provide the entertainment yourself.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY?
If the party is for your child’s birthday you need to consider your child’s favourite hobbies and likes. I’ve put together a whole post on everything you need to know and think about when planning a kids party.
You also need to think about how many children you are happy to invite. The amount of kids invited tends to go down as your child gets older. That is until you get to sweet sixteen parties and upwards.
DO YOU HAVE TO THROW A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR YOUR CHILD?
Absolutely not! It is lovely to throw a big party for your child’s first birthday, but that party is as much for you as parents as it is for your child! However, you absolutely don’t have to throw a party at all.
The same goes for how you celebrate your child’s birthday as they grow up. There tend to be whole class parties for kids from the time they start school until they around ten years old.
You can usually get away with having minimal kids to host right through until your child hits sixteen, at which you might find that they suddenly want to start throwing big parties again.
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Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.