Planning activities for a tween’s birthday party should include putting a new twist on traditional children’s games and introducing more mature games for the tweens to feel slightly more grown-up. Have a variety of games planned in case any of them fail to entertain your child’s guests. If one game fails, you can quickly move on to the next.
Traditional birthday party games can still be fun for tweens. Water balloon tosses or a variety of relay races, including three-legged, potato sacks and racing with an egg on a spoon, can incite laughter and expel some of their energy. For a more grown-up approach, consider setting up a casino of sorts where the tweens can try their hands at a roulette wheel, blackjack 21 or even war.
A silent auction is more of an activity than a game, although it’s a classic favorite and the tweens might enjoy it. Ask everyone to bring an old toy or item in good condition or an inexpensive item (put a $5 limit on it), or purchase enough items for each guest yourself. Each item should be wrapped. The tweens can draw numbers to see who gets to pick first or you can give them a predetermined amount of play money to bid on each item. Any extra money at the end of the party can be used to purchase candy or other small goodies.
Send the tweens outside if the weather permits. Supply them with water guns and water balloons to play an innovative game of tag or have an all-out water war. Flashlight tag is another variation of the game that can easily be played at night. Set strict rules or time limits so that you will not disturb your neighbors. Capture the flag is another active game that should wear out your tween and his guests. Add water balloons or water guns to the game on a hot day.
In a Bag
Fill two or more bags with random items before the party. Separate the kids into teams and give each team a bag and a private place to put together a commercial or skit using all of the items in the bag. Record their skits if you have a video camera so you can play it back while the kids eat for extra laughs.
Dress-up games can work much the same way. Either give each team a bag of random clothes and material to create an interesting outfit or set the clothes on one side of the racing area where each kid has to get fully dressed, then undress and pass the clothes to the next team member.
Put a twist on truth or dare to make it more interesting and keep the questions and dares age-appropriate. Write out the questions and dares on a large beach ball and let the tweens toss the ball to each other. When someone catches it, she must answer the question under her right thumb or other predetermined finger. Another option is to write out the questions or dares on small pieces of paper and roll them up like a scroll. Put the papers inside of balloons, blow them up and tie them. Let the kids pop a balloon to see their dare or question.
Put together a scavenger hunt if you want it to be competitive or a treasure hunt if each tween is on her own. Flashlight hunts for small trinkets or candy are great for nighttime or slumber parties. Picture scavenger hunts can work for teams or individuals. Give the kids a list of things to photograph with disposable cameras and go to the mall, park or drive around town. At the end of a specified amount of time, the tweens have to turn in their cameras for you to develop the pictures and add up their points.
- shy teen girl with freckles image by Galina Barskaya from Fotolia.com