Presents / 25 April, 2023 / Sharky & George
Want to throw a kids’ birthday party but don’t know where to start? From sports and art to ninja-themed fun, here are some extra-awesome kids’ birthday party ideas.
If you’re planning a kids’ party, then you’ll know they have high expectations. You might have had the requests in already – maybe they love Minecraft or mermaids, ninjas or unicorns – or you might be searching for some ideas to get started. I’m George of Sharky & George – the creative events and party company where we are committed exclusively to the business of serious fun. Over the years, we’ve hosted thousands of themed children’s parties. When thinking about brand new concepts for parties this year, here are a few ideas we came up with, suitable for kids aged 4-14 years.
Divide the kids into two teams – red and blue – with a ‘base’ each (a big white canvas) and provide them with long-sleeved plain white t-shirts. Make a treasure map with five different zones: diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire and opal, and challenge the kids to collect as many pouches of ‘treasure’ from each zone as they can.
They can then trade in their treasure for ammunition at the Weaponry Shop – stocked with water pistols, sponges, buckets, paint and water bombs, all filled with either red or blue paint, depending on their team’s colour. 1 water pistol = 2 diamonds, 1 ruby, bucket of paint = 5 rubies, 2 diamonds etcetera.
Once they’ve gathered all their weapons, the aim is to get as much paint on the opposite team’s canvas and white t-shirts as possible – a before and after photo will declare the winner! If you want to add a brilliant finale, make a gauntlet with two rows of guests facing each other, all holding a cup of powder paint (holi gulal) and the birthday boy or girl runs the gauntlet, being pelted by powder paint.
N.B. Everyone needs safety specs or sunglasses.
Around the world is a brilliant theme that can focus on food, craft, sport or all of the above as the children go on adventures to far-flung lands. Choose as many countries as you like – perhaps those the birthday child has visited or has a special interest in – and create a ‘station’ for each one with a game, activity, craft or food. A chocolate-decorating station for Belgium, mask-making for Italy (Venice), football skills in Brazil, a treasure hunt in the Caribbean, mocktail-making in Manhattan, cheese-rolling in England…
Encourage party-goers to dress up in ‘around the world’ outfits, and you’ll get everything from flamenco dancers to footballers, French artists to polar explorers – great for the photos and super fun for a birthday kid who loves costumes.
Find a park, any park! This is great for Londoners with little outdoor space as you can choose pretty much any park, big or small, near you for this party for an informal gathering. Start the kids off with a nature scavenger hunt – pair them up and send them off, clipboards in hand and in sight of the supervising adults, to find everything on the list.
Once they’re back, settle down for some good old ‘forest school’ style fun – a memory game (tray with a white feather, red leaf, acorn, pine cone etc.), Andy Goldsworthy-inspired natural art (as simple as leaf printing for little ones), magic wand making, nature crowns, bug-hunting and more. Face painting is a great extra touch.
If you have a child who loves Super Mario Bros, this is the party for you. Buy or make four or five wooden push carts to act as your ‘Mario carts’ (and yes, this is the part of this party that requires the most commitment from you, the parent!)
Divide the kids up into small groups and challenge them with decorating them with paint and any other art supplies you have; make a little track and hang gold rings along the way (we find coat rails work well); the klaxon goes and the kids take turns to push the cart and collect the rings. Someone – Older sibling? Godparent? Favourite up-for-fun uncle? – takes on the role of baddie and chucks water bombs at the teams as they race around the course. If you love this idea, but we lost you at the acquisition of carts, get in touch – we have plenty in the Sharky & George store (and also really, really love throwing this party as the kids adore it).
Who doesn’t love a silly sports day? We’ve found it’s best to make the games as outrageous and unlike school sports as possible to make it fun for every party-goer. Think space-hopper challenges, football gauntlet, bean bag or water balloon throwing, parachute games and wheelbarrow races. If you want to go for a themed sporty party, get in touch; when we host one, the birthday child picks their favourite sport in advance; football, netball, dodgeball… you name it, and Sharky & George will come armed with all the appropriate kit for team games, challenges and fun skills training. A sports party is a great idea for a big group of kids; once again, face paint is a fun addition to this party.
Is the birthday child horse mad?! Host your own garden hobby horse derby – use horse space hoppers or buy the inflatable costumes with ‘reins’ and all (available online – and also housed in the Sharky & George party supplies treasure trove are inflatable ‘ride on’ unicorns, dinosaurs, chickens… and more). Polo perhaps? Jumps, flat racing, dressage, eventing… recreate the real-life versions and allow party-goers to place their bets on the winners, award cups to the front-runners and get the parents involved with a kid-mum/dad Piggy Back Cup competition.
If your child likes Lego, chances are they might also be into Ninjago and you can host a Ninja(go) party of their very own. This works best for a smaller group of kids and can be done indoors; you can turn a room in your house into the Dojo temple. Get the kids to dress in brown overalls with hoods and headbands; they are all in training to become fully qualified ninjas. Strength can be tested by tug of war; stealth by sneaking up on a target unnoticed; accuracy by throwing as many balls as possible onto the supervising adult’s Velcro suit. There’s also a treasure hunt element; create an ancient scroll with a route on it. Hold a ceremony at the end for the winners.
If you want a party which involves buying as few props, costumes and accessories as possible, which can also involve as many parents as you like too, this is for you. You’ll use only household items to set lots of challenges, either as individuals or in teams if you’re a bigger group.
Demonstrate the challenge then start the timer on your phone; everyone has one minute to get highest score they can. Stack paper cups as high as you can. Throw as many tea bags as you can into mugs or cups lined up on a table one metre away. Play ‘butt darts’ – wedge a coin, waddle along, drop in a cup and repeat as many times as you can in a minute. You could add a chocolate element into proceedings too to keep energy levels high and satisfy the sweet toothed (my dad was a real-life chocolatier so it’s still a passion of mine); we suggest a Smartie-sucking challenge and After Eight face races.
Banish the screens and get the kids moving at this party: it’s Minecraft IRL! And just in case you need a refresher, the online game involves players exploring a blocky 3D world and its various materials, then mining for different ores to craft buildings, weapons and everything needed to live.
For this party, make a crafting table with a nine-square grid using black electrical tape and print out a crafting recipe for each square to make toy versions of what they’d have in Minecraft – e.g., a torch. This party is effectively a rolling treasure hunt for ores hidden around the garden that can be exchanged for toys when presented in specific configurations.
You’ll need to make a crafting table by creating a nine-square grid using black electrical tape. Then choose a number of Minecraft toys that you’d like to give out to the children and print out a crafting recipe for each type of toy. So, for example, if you wanted a torch, you’d need to find a piece of coal and a stick and put them onto the crafting table.The aim of the party is to gather as many of the hidden ores as possible to then craft into toys to take home.
Article by George Whitefield, Sharky & George