It’s almost time for your son or daughter’s birthday, and you realize that your baby is growing up too quickly. The preteen stage can be one of the most challenging for parents, and preparing for a preteen birthday party is no different. While preteens aren’t really into cartoon character birthday themes anymore, they aren’t quite ready for teen parties, either. Here are some tips to help you throw a “cool” party that will please your preteen.
Theme – Preteens are most likely out of the character-theme phase of birthday parties, but that doesn’t mean that the party shouldn’t have any theme at all. In fact, a theme will help the party seem more put-together. Talk to your son or daughter and decide which type of party they would like to have. During the summer, a pool party is an excellent option, and it is fun and appropriate for any age group. Girls might also like to have a fashion party, a spa party, a baking or cooking party, or a music party. Boys might suggest a sports themed party, or a video-game theme. Both boys and girls enjoy sleepovers, and this type of party will surely be a hit if you are willing to allow several of your son or daughter’s friend to sleep over. Girls will enjoy spending the evening watching movies, eating popcorn, and maybe doing each other’s hair or nails. Boys might want to have a camping party where they set up a couple tents in the backyard and (with the help of an adult) cook hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.
Location – Location is important for any birthday party, but at this age your son or daughter probably doesn’t want to have their party at the bouncy-house place or the playground anymore. Both boys and girls might like a party at a bowling alley or arcade if there are appropriate games to play. Some preteens might also enjoy a party at a sports field or at a mall. Even if you have the party at your house, consider a trip to one of these places as part of the activities for the day.
Decorations – Decorations for your preteen’s party may not be as easy to buy as they were for past birthdays. Often, supplies for younger kids’ parties can be bought all in one place and in one package (usually for cartoon-based parties), but decorations for a preteens’ party might not be as easy to figure out. Choose decorations with the help of your preteen and pick items that are color coordinated and go with the theme that you have chosen without looking childish. For example, if your daughter has chosen a fashion party, choose streamers, plates, cups, napkins, and balloons that are shiny, metallic, or sparkly; perhaps even have metallic wristbands that can be marked with “VIP”, found affordably at retailers like Event Wristbands. If your son has chosen a camping party, choose shades of green or brown to complement the outdoors inspiration. M&N Party Store enables you to shop for decorations by themes, including “Western Round-up” and “Glow in the Dark”.
Activities – A preteen’s party will still need structured activities to keep the party-goers occupied, while an older teenager’s party usually won’t need any kind of entertainment since teenagers typically just like to socialize. Avoid childish games like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, limbo, or breaking a piñata. Instead, choose games that fit directly within the party theme that will appeal to preteens. For example, for a baking or cooking party, allow your son or daughter and friends to decorate their own cupcakes instead of buying a birthday cake. For those who are fans of the hottest teen musical acts, creating your own makeshift karaoke area will be a hit. Play with water balloons if you’re having a pool party or have a sports tournament in the backyard. Basically, make sure to choose activities that your preteen and his or her friends will enjoy. Always consult with your son and daughter, as they ultimately know what’s best! Of course, make sure that activities are age-appropriate. If there is a dance floor at the party, make sure that the popular songs contain suitable lyrics, and if a game of Truth or Dare ensues, keep an eye on what sort of challenges are being leveled.
Overall, a preteen birthday party will need all of the same elements as a party for any other age: an organized theme, a good location, fun decorations and engaging activities. For preteen parties specifically, the best rules to live by are to avoid any child-like themes, locations, or decorations, and involve your child so that he or she can have input into what exactly they want their party to be like. At this age, preteens are really starting to figure out “who they are,” and giving them an opportunity to create their own unique party is a great way to foster their creativity and self-expression.
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