Kids look forward to their Birthday Party almost as much as they look forward to Christmas it seems! They always seem to have a need to have the biggest and best party in their class. It can be hard to come up with theme ideas, and even harder to find activities to occupy multiple kids! Backyartisan is here to help! Below we have listed several themes with activities and sometimes even food options to help you plan that special day!

Pirates Theme

Treasure Hunt for Actual Buried Treasure

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Get a piece of paper and map out your backyard, local park, or wherever you want to have the party. Include major landmarks that are constant. Go to your local dollar store, party store, or online store and get some chocolate gold coins. You can even find a little treasure box to put the coins in! Bury (if you are on your own property) or hide under leaves, pine straw, etc. the buried treasure. Let each child have a map and see who the first one to follow the map correctly is!

Walk The Plank Game

Photo from Iliana Cornejo

You can’t have a pirate party without someone ( or everyone!) walking the plank! Get two identical large stones or even cinderblocks. You need a thick, sturdy piece of wood that won’t break under either weight or repeated stress. A 2×6 is sufficient for smaller children, but you may want to go up to a 2×8 for older kids.

Pin The Wing/Eyepatch/Beak On The Parrot

This is an easy and cheap party game. All you need is a sharpie and some butcher paper (or posterboard) ! Freehand a pirate parrot, or even print one out. On smaller paper, you can get what you are putting on the bird. You can pin the beak, pin the hat, pin the eyepatch, or pin the feather on the parrot. The kids can even decorate their own paper they are going to pin before they take a spin! To play the game, blindfold one child at a time. Spin them around and aim them at the large paper. They have to try to get it in the right area without peeking!

Pinata with Swords

Photo from Oriental Trading

For a classic twist on the classic birthday pinata, find a pinata that is shaped like a treasure chest, a pirate, a parrot, or some other pirate theme. Find a wooden sword, and hand that to the kids to take a swing at the pinata!

Super Mario Theme

Paint a Ball Like a Turtle and Go Bowling For Block Towers

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Find a green ball and get some paint. Make a turtle peeking out, so you have your turtle ammo! There are a lot of block templates online (like the one above) or you can be creative and make your own blocks! Set up the blocks however you want, and use the turtle to bowl them over!

Obstacle Course

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Using construction paper, cans, styrofoam, or whatever you can dream up, make an obstacle course with the iconic green pipes and flowers. You could even have a crazy sun they have to dodge that is swinging from a tree (remember the sand world?).

Mushroom Cupcakes

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You can make some super cute mushroom cupcakes with several colors of icing, cupcake wrappers and a pen/marker! Make the mushroom tops different colors, and you can either use white icing to make circles or even fondant circles for the mushroom spots. Draw your eyes on the wrapper (with a non-toxic pen or marker!) and you are good to go!

Castle Rescue

Photo from Twin City Inflatables

If you have the funds, renting a bouncy house can make your Mario-themed party spectacular! Every world in Mario ends with a castle, and the goal is to save the Princess! This concept can get turned into a game. Find a decent picture of the Princess and print out a bunch of copies. If you have kids in different age groups, you’ll want to do several rounds of this to avoid little kids being trampled by bigger ones. Using tape, place the princess around the inside of the castle. The child who rescues the most wins!

Minecraft Theme Party

Quick Build Contest

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Before the party, make a bunch of Minecraft blocks. At the party, divide the kids into two or three teams, depending on how many party guests you have. Each team will get the same number of blocks, and the team that builds something first wins!

Scavenger Hunt

Photo from Minecraft Mods

Ah, the beloved Minecraft critters. Here is what you do. Print out a BUNCH of photos of pigs, cows, sheep, and chickens. Minecraft versions would be the best, but really anything would work. Hide the animals around your yard. The kids will need to find sticks, make a pen, and go find animals. They must return their animals to their pen to get credit!

Alice In Wonderland Theme

Tea Party

Mini pastries on elegant plastic plates work wonders for whimsical tea parties! Tea parties can be conducted inside or outside, depending on the weather! Cream puffs, chocolate croissants, fruit salad, sugar cubes, and of course a fruity tea should all be enjoyed!

Alice In Wonderland Flower Craft

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With some hot glue, construction paper, dyed coffee filters or tissue paper, a sharpie, and pipe cleaners you can have a really fun Alice in Wonderland flower craft! You can have some premade as a centerpiece, and let the guests make one ( or more!) as a take-home souvenir!

Mad Hatter’s Lost Hat

This is a game we came up with. Find a few crazy hats and hide them on random bushes and plants outside. An adult will dress up as the Mad Hatter (thank you to my fiance Drew Wellborn for playing along!) and retrieve the party guests. The Mad Hatter will explain that he has lost some of his hats, and the guests are asked for their assistance in finding them. Ideally, you should hide one hat per guest so that when a guest finds the hat, they put it on so they can attend the tea party!

Beach Party

Mason Jar Aquarium Craft

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For a cute take-home craft, get a mason jar for each guest. Add some aquarium rocks (you can find this at any pet store or even Walmart), plastic plants for seaweed, and get some little sea creatures from the dollar stores. Fill with water that is tinted blue with food coloring. 

Alternate option: skip the fake sea creature and food-colored water, and go to your local pet store and find the smallest fish you can find! Let each child bring home a real fish!


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What better activity for a Beach Party than to play beach volleyball! If you are feeling very adventurous, you can even put a tarp down in your backyard and get a load of sand brought in for the full effect!

Quick and Easy Dessert as a Cake Alternative

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If you don’t want to do a cake, or want a quick and easy beach-themed snack, Jello has a Beach Desert Kit that is easy to make, all you need is some clear disposable cups! You can even let the guests help and decorate their own!

Animal Theme Party

Backyard Safari

Photo from

Have a backyard safari! Get some stuffed animals or plastic animals and place them around your yard. Have the party guests see if they can find all the hidden animals! 

Pro tip: make yourself a master list to avoid forgetting any!

Older Kids: Give the guests a piece of paper and a writing instrument. When they find an animal, they need to write it down. 

Younger kids: Pre-make a checklist with photos of the animals. When they find the animal they can cross it off! 

Have everyone compare notes afterwards!

A Kitten’s Ball of Yarn

Photo from Wikipedia

Assign each guest a color of yarn. Before the party, you will string the yarn up all over the outside. Each guest must start at one end of the yarn and roll the yarn up into a ball. Awards can be given for things like fastest time, roundest ball, etc.! 

Of course, there are so many other great birthday theme ideas and activities that would go along with it. You can search the net for inspiration, or come up with your own ideas! Another good tip is to get the birthday child involved in the planning. What do they want to do? What sounds fun? This is a great way to get to know your child better as well! Check out some of our related ideas below for more inspiration.

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