Throw an amazing kids' birthday party right in your own backyard or local park with these outdoor party ideas.
Take all the fun (and the mess) of party games for kids outside and add a little summertime twist for inspired themes, such as camping, sprinklers, outdoor movies, and lawn games. We put together a list of seven sizzling kids' birthday party themes for outdoor parties below, including activity suggestions, decoration ideas, and some memorable munchies that will make your kid's party the event of the summer season.
Sprinklers, water games, or water crafts like these pool noodle boats make for a fun party.
1. Splash Bash
Nothing says “summer” quite like running through a cold sprinkler on a hot day. All it takes is a little bit of water to create buckets of fun at this kids' birthday party Splash Bash!
Activities: Set up kiddie pools and sprinklers for everyone to splash around in. Younger kids will have fun filling and spilling containers, while older kids will enjoy water guns and balloons. Everyone can have some fun making these simple pool noodle boats and setting sail for adventure!
Decor: Keep your decor beachy: think beach balls and brightly colored buckets. Follow this through to the party favors, giving away small beach buckets with shovels or blow-up beach balls.
RELATED: 25 Outdoor Water Games to Keep Kids Cool on Hot Summer Days
Squirt gun painting is a perfect outdoor activity for an art party.
2. Messy Arty Party
Clean up is a breeze for a kids' art party when you already have everyone outside. You don’t have to worry about getting paint all over your floors! Tell your guests to dress for a mess and let the creativity flow.
Activities: When mess is not a hindrance, the possibilities for fun are endless. Cover the ground with a painters' drop cloth and let your guests splatter paint all over it, or fill balloons with paint and let them pop. Water gun painting is another option, and it's the perfect mixture of two favorite summer pastimes: squirt guns and painting. Make cleaning up your guests part of the fun by running through the sprinklers at the end of the party.
Decor: Keep the artistic juices flowing in your decorations. Use the color spectrum as inspiration and decorate with bright primary colors or serve your food on artist palettes. Any art supplies, such as crayons, markers, or a watercolor set would make a great party favor.
Don't worry about spilling popcorn at this outdoor movie party. Image courtesy of Mommy Poppins
3. Outdoor Movie Party
This party comes together so easily for kids of any age. Ask your guests to bring their own blankets, quilts, or lawn chairs to make sure you have enough seating, and set up an outdoor movie party so kids get a chance to watch a movie under the stars.
Activity: Obviously, the movie is the star of the show at this kids' party. You can purchase an outdoor screen, or make your own using a white sheet. Make sure to test out the projector and sound system well in advance of the party to fix any technical problems.
Decor: String up a few twinkle lights and a decadent snack bar with all the usual movie snacks to pull this theme together.
RELATED: Beyond the Goody Bag: 10 Great Birthday Party Favors for Kids
Gather around the campfire for some fun at your outdoor camping birthday party.
4. Camping Party
Set up camp in the great outdoors and invite all your friends to gather 'round the backyard fire pit. Dress up this cozy party with staples from the outdoor section of the sports store: use lanterns, flashlights, and other camping gear to create the perfect camping spot right in your backyard.
Activity: You don’t actually have to sleep in a tent to have fun camping. Invite your guests to arrive about an hour before sunset to get the party started. Make a classic camp craft like tie-dye or friendship bracelets, and then light a campfire for s’mores. Once the sun has set, it's time to tell some campfire stories and play a round (or two) of flashlight tag.
Decor: Besides the flashlights and campfire, you might add sleeping bags and a tent or two for the kids to play in. A s'mores' station will up your party food, too. Load it up with flavored marshmallows, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and anything else you can smush into a s’more. Other eats might include trail mix, grilled hot dogs, and other classic camp food.
Classic games like corn hole make this kids birthday party a whole lot of fun. Image courtesy of Mommy Poppins
5. Lawn Game Party
Let the games begin! When the sun is shining, who wants to sit around inside playing board games? Transform the backyard or nearby park into a playing field with larger-than-life games and activities for a field day or lawn game birthday party for kids.
Activities: DIY or buy giant sized lawn games for everyone to enjoy. You can create an oversize Twister board by spray painting the grass red, yellow, blue, and red. Create stations with classics like corn hole and giant Jenga. Kids can hop from game to game. For tweens and teens, host the party at nightfall for a glow-in-the-dark lawn party. Hand out glow sticks and add a little "glow" to all your games, including ring toss and glow stick tic-tac-toe. You can even add a little extra kick to whiffle ball by inserting a glow-stick into the porous ball.
Decor: Use the Twister game (or another favorite game) as inspiration for the decorations. This Twister cake is a pretty simple semi-homemade option using premade colored fondant. A twister game board makes a pretty awesome tablecloth as well. Party favors can include mini versions of any of the games.
Ninjas in training will love an outdoor obstacle course party. Image courtesy of Jac of All Things
6. Obstacle Course Party
On your mark, get set...go! If you have a budding American Ninja Warrior in your house, then this party is for you.
Activities: Pool noodles, some rope, a couple of buckets, a plank of wood, a few rolls of caution tape, streamers, and a lot of planning is what it takes to build a backyard obstacle course. Of course, there are a lot of ways to personalize this party with activities your kid prefers, including particular games. After a few trips through the course and a cake break, hold an award ceremony for the "most creative," "best team spirit," or "overall champ" of the games. Or, just hand everyone a prize as they complete the course.
Decor: Kids will definitely work up a sweat at this outdoor party, so a reusable water bottle (maybe filled with a couple of treats) would make a great party favor. Keep the decor simple, making the obstacle course the star, or play up a particular activity included in the course (pirates for walk-the-plank or soccer or another sport) or even the season, such as summer or fall fun.
A little magic and wings make for a magical fairy garden party.
7. Fairy Garden Par-Tea
Grab your wings and head to the backyard for this magical tea party. Fueled by the power of imagination, the Fairy Garden Par-Tea is the perfect reason to bring out your glitter and get lost in the woods for a few hours.
Activities: Use real flowers, mason jars, and your imagination to create these mini fairy gardens terrariums during this kids' party. A wand-making station is a must at this fairy fathering. Use sticks, flowers, grasses, and ribbon to create nature wands and conjure up some fun.
Decor: Set the stage for this fairy party by encouraging guests to come dressed as fairies. Have fun naming the food and snacks; banana chips can become “chipmunk chips," water or lemonade is more magical when it's called “morning dew," or even pretzel sticks can become “twigs." Make the terrarium and nature wand the take-home party craft and favor in one.
All images by the author except where noted