Summer parties can be fun regardless of what you are celebrating. Everyone gets to get outside and spend a little time enjoying the sunshine, warm weather, and most importantly– enjoy the fun and games that you wouldn’t be able to do inside! If you are looking to throw a birthday party, or just a fun get-together, there are tons of options to make your party just right!
A few things to think about when planning your party:
Who is the party for?
A kid’s birthday party will take on a whole different vibe than an adult only, or adult/kid party.
What type of activities will you have?
If you are doing a kid’s birthday party remember to keep it simple. A good rule of thumb is invite one friend for each year of age that your child will be (a 3yr old would invite 3 friends). Also, don’t break the bank, there are tons of creative ways to make sure your kids have fun without emptying out the pocketbook! An adult/kid mix party is a little different. Make sure there are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy, but keep them simple so the adults can sit back and relax while the kids are off playing.
What type of food and beverages will you supply?
If you are doing an adult only party, make sure you have drinks to suit everyone, unless you specifically state byo (bring your own). For kid friendly parties make sure you have lots of finger foods that are easily accessible at any time, and if you have a party theme it is really simple to find lots of recipes to suit your theme.
Planning a Child’s Outdoor Birthday Party
Depending on the age of the child, a theme may be in order. For kids age 3-10 any number of themes may work.
Party Themes Age 3-6:
- Splish-Splash Water Fun – Sprinklers, wading pools, water balloons galore! Let everybody just have some fun getting wet and wild!
- Carnival Party – Check out these Madagascar themed party ideas I posted about previously to help get your carnival off to the right foot!
- Treasure Hunt – Handmade treasure maps are all you need here! Combine this with the Obstacle Course Party and you have a great time in the works!
- Messy Party – let kids do what they do best, get messy! Finger painting, mud pies, you name it, let ‘em do it!
- Obstacle Course Party – Set up several obstacles throughout your backyard and watch the kids have fun figuring out how to maneuver each one!
Party Themes Age 7-10:
- Tee-Off (mini-golf theme) – Set up a backyard mini golf course!
- Super Soaker Water Party – With a water gun fight, sprinkler freeze dance, leaking relay, water balloon fight and more; this will be a hit with any kids!
- Spa-day (for girls) – Set up a backyard beauty salon and let them give each other make-overs, try on make-up (if parents allow), or even invite beauty school students to come over and do their hair!
- Obstacle Course Party – Set up several obstacles throughout your backyard, just be sure to make them more difficult than you would for a pre-schooler!
Getting the Food Ready for the Party!
Remember to keep it simple. You don’t want the food to be the thing that monopolizes your time. For kids of any age, finger foods are always a hit! Keep slices of watermelon handy along with a selection of easy to grab snacks like carrot sticks and/or pretzels. Let the kids make their own treats as well. Homemade ice cream is simple to make and fun for any kid! You can even customize your snacks to fit your theme. If you are doing a Carnival party, set up a Big Top Nacho Station. Be creative, the kids will love it!
Don’t forget the drinks! Plan in advance what you want to be available; juice boxes, water, etc.
Remember, this is supposed to be a fun day so don’t stress about all the little details. If something doesn’t go exactly as you planned don’t worry about it, you are probably the only person who noticed, and everyone is busy having so much fun they aren’t going to mind if you only got 200 water balloons inflated instead of 500.
Party Mistakes to Avoid!
Things like food allergies and entertainment not suitable to the age of the child can be party disasters! Check out these simple party mistakes to avoid to ensure your next summer blast goes off without a hitch!
Combining Party Themes – My Daughter’s Third Birthday!
This summer I had a chance to throw my own backyard birthday party for my daughter! She turned three years old last month and we had so much fun getting her party together I just can’t wait to do it again! Instead of just sticking with one theme, we decided to do a mish-mash of activities to keep the kids busy for hours. Everything turn out so great and all the kids had tons of fun. Here is what we did:
To start off the party we let the kids who were there early just do a little free play with the water balloons and the trampoline while we waited for the other kids to arrive.
Tip: If you have a lot of water balloons to fill up ask friends and family to come over and help you with this detail so you can concentrate on other aspects of the party!
Once all the kids were there the real fun began! We did an obstacle course treasure hunt and each kid got a fun surprise at the end. I simply made hand drawn treasure maps with pictures showing each child where they were to go. It looked like this:
Tip: If you are a poor artist (like me!) be sure to write what it is underneath so parents can help their kids decipher where to go next.
As each child visited the obstacles and completed the task they got a prize. Some obstacles were quite easy, like bucket toss where each child had to toss a small ball into a series of buckets (think bozo show circa 1980’s). Other obstacles gave the kids time to really get into an activity for a while, like painting or balloon toss. Here is what we had them do:
- Bucket Toss
- Tent Crawl
- Tattoo Station (press on tattoos)
- Painting Station
- Water Balloon Toss
- Pool Slide
- Collect their Prize!
After the obstacle course, we had a little more free play–mostly on the trampoline, then we had food. We served hot dogs, watermelon, graham cracker bites, and a pasta salad. Just a note– just because your kids like pasta salad, doesn’t mean other kids will so make sure to have other options available!
After everyone ate we got the kids all set up to make their own ice cream! The process is simple. You can use whole milk or cream, a little sugar, some vanilla, ice, and salt. All you have to do is add 1/4 cup milk to a quart size plastic freezer bag, mix in 1 tablespoon sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Seal it tightly and place it in a gallon size plastic freezer bag. Add ice all around (not too full or it won’t mix well and might burst), and pour in about a cup of salt (more or less depending on how much ice you used). Then just let the kids shake shake shake until the ice cream forms. We had so much fun with this because the kids shook theirs while jumping on the trampoline.
Who knew you could make ice cream by jumping on a trampoline! A few ice cubes made their escape, but the kids just scooped them up and put them back in the bag.
To wind down any party you of course have to have gifts and cake! To be honest, we had so much fun I almost forgot to bring out the cake, lol. Just as everyone was getting ready to leave I remembered and brought it out so everyone could enjoy.
Here is the birthday girl seeing her cakes for the first time, and enjoying herself a little mickey mouse cupcake. Her brother and cousin sure are enjoying them as well!
Are you looking for some other fun end of summer ideas that you can do in your backyard? Here are a couple of fun posts from two other bloggers who would love to share their ideas with you!
Written by Jesica.