Let's Party: Fun Birthday Party Themes

You may find yourself at a children’s birthday party every weekend, but the thought of planning your own kiddo’s soiree has you breaking out in a cold sweat. Take a couple of yogic breaths and read on to create a fabulous themed birthday party in a pinch.


Theme: Princess


Perfect for the little girl who hasn’t stopped belting out “Let It Go” since Frozen hit theaters last November and thinks her Snow White dress is perfectly acceptable sandbox attire.


The Royal Treatment – When it comes to themed parties, Silly Sally’s (888-787-4559; is dialed in and they throw down a fabulous princess party. Your little lady’s favorite princess will arrive armed with games, balloons, face painting, songs and more. If you want to dine like a royal they’ll bring a full tea set with sandwiches and petit fours, as well.


If your party includes tiny gents, consider whipping up a little “coronation” ceremony as each guest enters the door – knighting the boys and crowning the girls – so everyone gets in on the fun.


With a Twist – If you spend your lunch hour on Pinterest, here are a few ideas to harness your inner Martha Stewart in honor of your princess:


• Craft a simple party game in the spirit of Pin the Tail on the Donkey but instead draw a large frog on a piece of green poster board and cut out red “kisses.” Let each guest try to pin a puckered kiss to the frog’s lips.


• Establish a “Make Your Own Tiara” station for bejeweling and a “Make Your Own Shield” station for decorating with a personal crest.


• Create an appealing fruit snack by threading grapes through a skewer to create a “wand,” then top it with a piece of melon cut into a star shape for some razzle dazzle.


Theme: Science Experiments


Perfect for the kid whose favorite questions are “Why?” and “How?”


Satisfying Curiosity – When it comes to making science fun, no one does it better than Mad Science (781-899-6006; A member of their team – a mad scientist, if you will – arrives ready to put on a 45-minute show of cool science experiments, including a project that each kid gets to take home. (Choose between Mad Science putty, slime or a bouncy super ball.) If you’re game to dig deeper into your pockets, Mad Science goody bags, dry ice bubbling potions, a rocket launch and cotton candy are also available as add-ons.


As proof that they’re the real deal: In 2013 Mad Science made the Guinness Book of World Records when they had more than 150 people produce 292 eruptions of baking soda volcanoes at the same time. Boom!


With a Twist: Give your home laboratory a makeover with fun and easy décor and snack ideas to make party guests feel like they’re really in the middle of the action.


• Deck out your front door with caution tape and place a pretend “hand scan” plaque above the doorbell for entry. As kids enter, give out pre-printed security badges on lanyards so they feel official.


• Round up some plastic beakers to serve beverages in and whip up a green punch to make libations look like potions.


• Get kids crafting! Have them decorate their own scientist aprons that they can wear for doing science experiments conducted during the party.

For more party ideas, go to the next page!


Theme: Athletics


Perfect for the child whose energy knows no bounds and parents who want to tire him out before bedtime. 


Boundless Energy – Trampoline parks and indoor play places were made for adults who just want their children to be active and maybe – just maybe – take naps from exhaustion every now and then! Facilities like Mini Athletes (781-352-2494; and Dedham Health and Athletic Club (781-326-2900; take sporty fun up a notch with a seriously fun party package. Young athletes get one hour of time on Mini Athletes’ sports field. The host can choose between turf hockey, basketball, flag football, kickball, recess games, wiffle ball and dodge ball, to name a few. Dedham Health and Athletic Club offers party-goers three different options: sports parties with soccer, basketball and dodgeball; swim parties and rock climbing parties. 


With a Twist – Get creative with the athletics theme, whether you’re partying at a play place or holding the big game at your own abode.


• Create a fun keepsake for your child by having guests sign a football, soccer ball, basketball (or whatever your choice of sport) with a sign next to it that reads: “Autographs for the Birthday Boy (or Girl).”


• Instead of a goody bag, give each child a baseball bat and baseball, football or other sports-related item. Dollar stores usually have these items on hand.


• Set aside a concession stand table with popcorn boxes, Cracker Jack and other stadium-type food, such as hot dogs and burgers or pizza to make the moment feel festive.



Theme: Magic


Perfect for the tiny performer or child who never stops imagining.


Stellar Performance – Hiring a magician may seem like a no-brainer when planning a magic-themed party, but finding a performer who will appeal to kids can be a daunting task. Magicians Todd Migliacci (508-769-7662; and Peter O’Malley (617-822-2292; have performed for countless parties and major events. 


With a Twist – Your guests will definitely not vanish when they get a glimpse of these party ideas.


• Plastic magician hats, magic wands, bunny ears, decks of cards – have ’em all on hand so that everyone is ready to try a magic trick of their own.


• Sugar cookies decorated as cards will have everyone shuffling to the snack table for more, and chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks make great wands.


• Ask the kids to come up with their own magician name at the start of the party, and have each guest perform their own magic act with easy-to-do tricks you can find in the games section at the dollar store.


Theme: Ice Cream Social


Perfect for everyone! Food is the universal language all kids speak. Add sweet treats to the mix and you’ve really found their common ground.


Sweet Treats – The beauty of an ice cream social is that the party can be during that witching hour from 2-4 p.m., after lunch and before dinner, when all you really need to serve are treats. Find an ice cream shop that can accommodate your group or set up a make-your-own sundae bar at home outfitted with a few different flavors (old standbys: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and a slew of toppings and sauces.


Give your home a retro soda fountain vibe with pink and white or yellow and white striped table cloths and napkins. 


With a Twist – Your party guests will also think these ideas are pretty cool!


• If you’ve been there/done that on the sundae front, try ice cream sandwiches. Bake some different types of soft cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodles) and offer kids the option to choose their cookies, ice cream flavor and topping they can roll the edges in.


• For a craft, have the kids decorate their own picture frames, then include a party photo of the child.

For Party Tips & Tricks, go to the next page! 


Party 101: Tips & Tricks


Plan Ahead – Does it feel like your mailbox is filled with more kids’ party invitations than junk mail these days? Dozens of them, and they all seem to fall on the same day? If your child has his heart set on a certain party venue, book well in advance to secure a spot.


Guest Count – You’re doing the math and it all makes sense – little Susie has 20 children in her class which means at most you’ll be hosting 20 kids, right? Wrong. If the birthday girl or boy is at an age where it’s not a drop-off situation, you may want to factor in some siblings, as well.


Food Frenzy – There’s something about pizza that brings out the hunger in children, as well as adults. Even when it’s bad it’s good. Include parents in your guest count when calculating how much food to prepare or order.


Schedule Right – If your kiddo is still in the napping stages (lucky you!), consider scheduling the festivities before or after naptime. While this isn’t always realistic, it is something to keep in mind to prevent a mega meltdown. The cake smash for a first birthday is supposed to be cute, not horror movie worthy.


Check Out Our Pinterest Board – You’ll find each of these themes and more on our Pinterest page and Web site. Visit and for even more ideas on décor, food, games and invitations.


Kelly Bryant is a freelance write with Boston Parents Paper. 

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27 Jun 2014

By Kelly Bryant