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Once children stop being little kids and enter the tween and teen years, inviting the entire class to a bounce house to celebrate birthdays is no longer an option. However, even surly teenagers deserve to be celebrated. There are still plenty of special ways teens can mark another trip around the sun with their friends. Even very big kids can find ways to have fun on their birthdays with their besties.
Playtime is a serious affair for kids, no matter how big they are. Candy Land may be a thing of the past, but older kids still like games. Head to the nearest escape room and watch as they try to get their way out of a jam. Or for under $15, get an at-home escape room kit like Exit that comes in themes like The Abandoned Cabin and Lord of the Rings. Whether or not you help is up to you!
Big Screen Scene
Whether your t(w)een is a scream queen or rom-com fanatic, movies are always a hit — and there is no shortage of options for every budget. Drop older teens off at the theater with a few friends and money for popcorn. If your budget is a little higher, arrange for a private showing for a gaggle of t(w)eens. For those who want to stay closer to home there are also a few options. Stream the latest flick on your biggest screen television or go big and get a projector. All you need is a blank wall or white sheet. To make a movie at home extra special, head to the back yard and watch a movie under the stars. The one thing all movie parties need? Popcorn and candy. Microwavable bags are adequate, but a cost-effective way to up the ante is to get some gourmet popcorn. Johnson’s has been making popcorn at the Jersey Shore for decades. Have a big tub or party favor sized containers shipped to your door. Or, get a mix of fun flavors in individual bags from Popcornopolis.
For about the same price as a traditional party at a trampoline park, parents can rent a limo for their t(w)een’s nearest and dearest friends. While a parent rides up front with the chauffeur, kids can take over the back while they indulge in unlimited soda and candy or just enjoy being driven around town like the VIPs they are.
For something closer to a traditional birthday party, take your t(w)eens bowling. This is a great option for tweens and teens who want bigger parties – and for parents who aren’t ready to host a house party. Book a couple of lanes and sit back and the kids do their thing, with or without bumpers.
Birthdays are a great time to let those DIY skills shine. Choose a craft and let the t(w)eens have at it. Michael’s Crafts has ideas for every budget, interest, and skill level. Or, save yourself some time and get each guest a pre-made craft kit like Big Fat Yarn knitting kits for beginners that include everything they need to make their own creation from start to finish. Each box comes with enough supplies for multiple projects. As a bonus, since guests are making something to take home, there is no need to worry about party favors.
Living Room Spa Day
Tweens and teens are at the perfect age to truly appreciate a little pampering. Head to the drug store to get some face masks, whip up a sugar scrub, and grab some nail polish. Gather a few partygoers, stream some relaxing music, and treat the birthday kid and their friends to a day of pampering in the living room. Gen-Z favorite Miss A has facial tools like jade rollers for under $2.00 each. For an extra treat, make some tea sandwiches. If your budget is bigger, take the birthday honoree and a couple of friends to a salon for mani/pedis.
Challenge kids to bake something amazing. This can be as simple or complicated as the guest of honor and their supervising grown-up can handle. Bake a cake for each t(w)een and hand them over for each to decorate. Or, grab an all-in-one baking kit — there are several great options depending on interest and skill level. The Cookie Cups has kits for making everything from cookies to cinnamon buns. A great option is their Royal Cocoa Bomb making kit that allows each party guest to make, and decorate, their own cocoa bomb that explodes in warm milk. Bake Eat Love is another option, with kits for macarons and eclairs that work well for parties. Because no one is too old for cake pops, another fun option is KidStir’s unicorn cake pop kits. A plus to this type of party is that snacks are taken care of!
Sleepovers never go out of style. Teens and tweens can gather their nearest and dearest friends for a full night of revelry. Order in some pizza, break out the best board games, stream the latest teen flicks, and tell the kids to try to not to be too loud after 11:00 pm (then wear your earplugs and try to get some sleep). Any of the other ideas for tween- and teen-friendly parties can easily be extended into a sleepover that’s “extra”; a fun option to make a sleepover a little more personalized is to get the t(w)eens matching pajamas or robes.
Sure, tweens and teens can be increasingly hard to please the older they get, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just takes some creativity … and a little willingness to fade into the background, like a cool parent, while they take the party into their own hands.
These celeb parents know how to throw an epic birthday bash!
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