Tween & Young Teen Birthday Ideas

My party decor loving heart is breaking, because alas my older two kids are getting to the age where it’s not “cool” to throw a big celebration for their birthday.

*Cries in Spanish*
Don’t you understand who raised you??

Bright side? They didn’t say we couldn’t celebrate at all, they simply asked that I tone it down. FINE. I didn’t just carry them for nine months, go through countless hours of labor, and put on excessive amounts of weight to give them LIFE. They want me to tone down the anniversary of my strong body’s accomplishments? Wish granted. I’ll tone down their gifts too *snaps.*

In all seriousness though, eventually our children will reach this stage and we just gotta go with it.  I’ve given a lot of thought as to what I want my kids to remember about, and learn from, these celebrations and it’s that their birth, continued health, and ongoing accomplishments are worth some kind of annual fuss. Even if it’s just a dinner together as a family or an outing with a few friends, their life is a BIG deal to others, and we celebrate to show them that they are loved.

So I’ve tossed aside invitations, themes, and extravagant DIY projects to come up with a few age appropriate non-party ideas. While some of these activities aren’t grand affairs, they still create great memories for your kid. It’s a mix of ideas for my son and daughter so hopefully your child will enjoy something from this list;

Foodie Adventures

If you have a mini foodie on your hands, use Yelp as your guide and put together a list of fun local eats that they can visit. They’ll have fun getting sugared up, taking pictures, and posting about it all over social media.

Old School Gamer Life

My son is all about video games, but nowadays online gaming is how he interacts with his friends. Find a local arcade, give your guests a bunch of quarters, and have them experience gaming while they’re physically standing next to each other (what a novel idea to these kids.. eyeball). Locate your nearest Dave & Busters here, or if you’re local to Sacramento try out Coin-Op Game Room downtown.

Shop til you Drop

Give your child some birthday cash/gift cards and let them get a taste of retail therapy. Spending several hours at the local mall is a right of tween passage anyways right?

Screen Time

I’m not going to lie, I enjoy animated movies just as much as my kids. News flash? They might want to watch a movie that’s not your preferred genre, so why not let them go with their friends? They’ll still need your big purse to bring in the snacks though..


You either fight the photo phenomenon or you join it. In this situation, Google search  picture perfect spots in your area and let your kid flex for the ‘gram with their crew.

Play Ball

Not literally, just watch others do it. Take your child and however many others depending on the price of the ticket. Minor to major league events, they’re all fun to attend.

Fast & Furious

Driving isn’t too far away for your tween. Why not give them a taste of life in the fast lane with some GoKart racing? K1 Speed is as realistic as it can get at their age, click here to find a location near you.


You can do this one of two ways; buy tickets to a gamer convention when they come to your city OR create the same atmosphere in your home. Connect multiple screens and consoles so that multi player gaming is possible. Add soda and junk food for hours of fun.

Lunchtime Hero

Once your kid gets to middle school, classroom celebrations are not only out of the question, they’re kind of impossible since your kid takes multiple subjects! Dropping off pizzas at lunch time is just the right amount of cool.. cupcakes might be pushing it but you be the judge of the that.

The Suite Life

“This isn’t a party,” is what I kept saying when I booked a room at Embassy Suites for my daughters birthday. LET ME EXPLAIN. Spending $100-150 for young adults to sprawl out in a space that isn’t your home, thus doesn’t require clean up duty afterwards.. sounds like a STEAL to me. They also have an indoor pool and free breakfast buffet at every location. Mic drop.

There you go! I think that covers every birthday until we get to car buying age right? By then we can renegotiate our birthday priorities; car payments, insurance, gas money to name a few. Hopefully this helps you see that just because your child is getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop making a big deal about the day they were born. They’re still our babies, just with a few more years on em.