13-Year-Old Birthday Party Ideas

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Thirteen-year-olds are on the cusp of young adulthood, but some are also still children at heart. For most, this birthday is a milestone, as it celebrates the year they become teenagers. In fact, some parents might dread this milestone as much as their children anticipate it. If you fall into this category, stifle your apprehension and show your child how much you are looking forward to the teen years. Throw your 13-year-old a party he will always remember.

Significance

It is when children turn 13 that most begin to question their parents, argue about rules and challenge authority, according to “Time” magazine. This is when children begin to assert their independence. For these reasons, it is important to consult your child before you even begin to plan her party. Forget about surprising her–it might turn out to be a bad surprise. Instead, make sure everything is perfect by asking her opinion in all matters, from decorations to games and, of course, the guest list.

Decorations and Theme

Many 13-year-olds have grown out of their desire to have birthday party themes, such as “princess” or “pirates.” Still, that doesn’t mean the party has to be run-of-the-mill. Choose a more grown-up theme by planning a party around an activity or craft. Boys, for example, might love a golfing party, where the decorations might include large golf balls, the party favors are bags of tees, and the activity is putt-putt golf. Girls might enjoy a spa day, with a makeover included, and decorations, such as bouquets of flowers, and soothing incense.

Considerations

Consider the size of the group, as well as the composition. Some 13-year-olds might want a unisex party, while others might want to host their first boy/girl bash. In the case of the latter, you will need to plan activities that both genders enjoy, as well as make sure that all the parents are comfortable with the mixed-gender group. A large group of preteens and teens is also sure to generate quite a bit of noise. If your party will be late and you have neighbors close by, you might want to warn them, or plan activities that will keep the kids on the quiet side–if there are any such activities, that is.

Types

Thirteen-year-olds can vary widely in their party preferences. Some might want a venue-specific party, such as a pool party or skating party. Others might prefer a slumber party at home with a few close friends. Some might want a large family barbecue, while others might long for a formal dance party. Still others might enjoy going to a local arcade, or even to their first concert. Talk with your child to see what he wants, and plan accordingly.

Activities

Preteens and teens usually enjoy competing with their peers. Keep the kids busy by planning some activities that will allow them to interact with each other in a fun but challenging way. A scavenger hunt, for example, is a wonderful game that can keep them busy for hours. Divide them into groups (make sure to warn them to stay together for safety, or assign an adult to each group) and give each group a list of items and a digital camera. Then, send them off to capture photos of the items on the list. You can do this at a mall, or in your own neighborhood. Silly obstacle courses are also fun and are especially appropriate during hot summer parties, when you can incorporate water obstacles.

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