I’ve officially got a teen in the house now, will this change anything that has already changed before she turned 13? Doubt it. Possibly more nagging from me to have her eat her breakfast, do her chores and to please turn her music down. Ah…the usual stuff really. I have a feeling that’s karma biting me in the butt right now. Miss 13 hit this new milestone last Friday and to celebrate this, we decided to let her have a party with her friends. We don’t usually have big parties for our kids unless it’s some special milestone, or well, when I have the funds for it because let’s face it, birthday parties CAN be expensive. And then there’s the part where you have to figure out WHAT sort of party to have and WHERE to have it. Those are just the few basic things to consider, just like any other party really.
It seemed a lot easier when they were younger – host at a playcentre, a park, a bowling party, or whatever themes there were out there. Then come up with some party games to keep them entertained if you’re holding it at a place where YOU are the host of the party and not someone you’ve paid to entertain the kids. While tweens and teens still do love to play some of the traditional games, sometimes you CAN get stuck on what sort of parties to have for your tween or teen. I’ve decided to share a few ideas that have been tried and tested and some tips that can help save you money too!
Most girls LOVE to get their crafting juices on and trust me, there are quite a few places that thankfully offer these options. Miss 11 went to a friend’s party that had them making soaps, bath salts, lip balms and even slime! While Fizz Kidz is located in Melbourne, they do have D.I.Y packs that you can order to have your own party at home that you can arrange to pick up. This doesn’t mean you need to go to these places to have your party or buy ingredients from as there are lots of D.I.Y ideas you can get online too!
Another place I’ve had my girl’s party at is My Little Caravan, which specialises in craft workshops for children and teens. The best thing about it is the fact that it’s a rather small caravan, so it makes for a very intimate affair. The guests and birthday child gets to make two items that they can actually wear afterwards. Miss 11 and her friends made a button hair tie and tile pendant each. There’s food and drinks provided, complete with the retro theme befitting the caravan named Mabel. Once again, this isn’t something you can’t just do at your own home. You only need to purchase the items needed for a crafting session. Instead of hair buttons, why not have a card making or badge making sessions. There are places that hire out the badge makers for a small fee, complete with the pins and other necessities. All you would need are some fun printed paper.
My Little Caravan
The trampoline was transformed into a day-bed!
Miss 11 and her friends watching a demonstration on how to create their hair tie button.
Who doesn’t love a good movie day out! The tricky thing with this is knowing which movie to pick that wouldn’t get your kid’s friends parents have their knickers in a twist. So make sure to check the ratings and check with their parents if they’re allowed to watch the movie.
Village cinemas have their special $6 Kids Flicks sessions during the weekends, but only when it’s NOT during the school holidays. So this is where being a Costco member or having a friend or family who is one comes in handy. Costco has this package for Village Cinema kids tickets at $54 for 6 tickets. That’s $9 per ticket! We decided to go with that for Miss 13’s birthday and bought some snack packs from Costco as well for the guests to enjoy during the movie.
If you’d prefer to have this at home, then all you need are some snacks like popcorn, pretzels and drinks, hire a movie and feed them some pizza on the day for lunch or dinner (depending on when you’re having the party) and you’re good to go!
This was our original idea for Miss 13’s birthday but, thanks to Melbourne’s super unpredictable weather, we decided against it. But if you were to have one, this would be one of the I believe, easiest party to have. A simple bbq, with salads and fruits, and some beach party games would keep any tween and teen entertained and fully fed. Most of the time, the older kids would prefer to chill out at the beach and have a play in the water.
After the movie session at Village cinemas, we headed out to a park nearby for some lunch, which makes a much more affordable idea than having to eat at the mall. There’s usually areas for barbecuing so, much like the beach party, food is well covered. We did however have mini sausage rolls and party pies that I had heat up and rushed over to the park. Thankfully we were a short distance away.
Miss 13 & Master 9 with her friends at the park for food, play and some cake.
The kids were happy with that and some watermelons. Should have just skipped the chicken sandwiches I made had I known that was all they’d rather eat! The kids mostly lounged about the park, either playing on the play equipment (yes, teens still play on swings and slides!) and then they gathered for a game of “gang up tiggy” and later on “heads up”. You could also have some sporting type games like, cricket, or jump rope…or…ok what DO kids play these days??
Another fun party to have is one at the pool. This isn’t just reserved for families with pools in their backyards because you can actually hold one at an outdoor or indoor pool. And best of all, you don’t even need to go for their party packages at these public pools. Last year Miss 13 had some of her friends to the indoor public pool for a small party. We paid for the general entry and I brought the food – quiches, brownies, cupcakes and muffins and secured an area at the pool where they could place their belongings and have the food and cake later. The girls had a ball coming up with their own pool games and playing in the wave pool.
Now it’s some tips to make your tweens or teens party as stress-free for YOU as possible.
NEVER leave it to your teen to contact their friends on any changes. ALWAYS double check that their parents KNOW of the details. I’m saying this because it did happen at Miss 13’s birthday party. We had to change the meeting time again and I really didn’t want to bother the parents with countless emails so had Miss 13 send a message to her friends. I had asked her repeatedly if all her friends had gotten the change in details and she had said yes. BIG mistake. There is ALWAYS one that doesn’t see the message, and I should’ve trusted my instincts to just send out that last email. We did rectify the matter but boy did that put me in stress mode!
If you’re having your party outdoors, say at a park, make sure there are shelters available in case the weather turns.
You usually don’t have to worry about this if the party is at a special venue but if you’ve decided to have one outdoors, always make sure you have something else on hand in case the weather doesn’t play nice on the day. Check the weather a few days before just to be sure. If it seems a little bit iffy, then do something else or postpone it.
Really, there’s no need for fancy schmancy food. The odd bbq is fine and filling and include salads, fruits and even water – not just soft drinks (or try to avoid that if you can). Then there’s party pies and sausage rolls. Make sure it’s something easy for you to prepare and for them to eat. Of course you can go all out and buy plates, cutlery and serviettes that match but honestly? It doesn’t really matter. They end up in the bin at the end of the party. The kids usually just use them to eat with, they don’t care what it looks like.
Finally, even when things don’t go to plan, just breathe and relax because really, they’re happy to be able to spend some time with their friends, and have some food and cake to eat at the end of the party!
What sort of parties have you had for your tween or teen? Do you often find parties stressful? Do you normally not have a party?