Don’t just spring for the same old balloons and birthday cake to celebrate your kids this year. Instead, get creative with our guide to the most popular kids’ party ideas. From a birthday bash featuring favorites like Peppa Pig to a hands-on experience with reptiles galore, these hip ideas are sure to make those mini-milestones ones you’ll never forget! Scroll through the album below to see what party themes made the hot list for 2018.
With the release of Sherlock Gnomes this year, gnomes are more popular than ever. This party theme leaves lots of room for creativity: woodland themed snacks and hand-made gnome hats and other crafts and activities like these.
This little piggie is a big hit with the petite party crowd! Little pig noses and ears are fun to wear (and easy to make!) to this themed party, pink balloons with piggie faces make perfect party favors, and chocolate milk looks just like those muddy puddles Peppa loves to jump in!
Who wouldn't want to celebrate their birthday with a full spa treatment? Drop cucumber slices in water, offer soft and cozy robes and slippers and twirl their hair up in a towel for a day of pampering that includes manicures, pedicures, and facial masks.
Everyone loves those crazy minions, so throw a party where they can shine as bright as your bitty birthday star! Yellow foods galore—pineapple, bananas, popcorn—will be fun to snack on as your party guests don silver goggles or even yellow hard hats!
Trampoline Park Party
Don't tell us you haven't spend a Saturday at a trampoline park recently. This is one of the hottest places to host a kid birthday these days. The best part? There are plenty of opportunities for your guests to get their wiggles out all at once!
Set out different superhero costumes, and let your guests choose their powerful persona upon arrival or have them come dressed as their favorite superhero! Get inspired by this awesome superhero bash.
Decorate cupcakes, cookies, you name it! Set out different colored icings and sprinkles and watch what crafty creations they cook up! Let them decorate their own aprons and even wear chef hats! For more sweet-themed fun, watch Willy Wonka or Ratatouille.
Kids will love being hands-on in this science-themed bash! Hand out lab coats and safety goggles, drink from beakers and put together experiments like bottle rockets (outside, of course!) made by dropping Mentos into a liter of cola. For more ideas, be sure to try these Pretend Magic Potions for Kids!
Speaking of movies, Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 zoomed into theaters last year and has bumped the race track back into trending territory. Feed your pit crew in Car-tastic style thanks to these 10 totally doable ideas from Hostess With the Mostess. “Pizza Tires,” “Stoplight Brownies,” and “Tow Mater’s Taters” for the win!
Once upon a time, there were LEGO parties or Ninja parties. Look for this season’s birthdays to be taken over by LEGO NINJAGO parties! Spaceships and Laser Beams is on the case with DIY LEGO NINJAGO Movie Character Masks, which make both a great craft for your battling guests and a creative head start on Halloween costumes.
Forest or Woodland Animal Party
Foxes, owls, and squirrels, oh my! Nature themes continue to be a sure bet, and little is sweeter than inviting the forest’s cutest creatures to the party with a woodland theme. Head over to Catch My Party for great tips on how to bring the outdoors in for this adorable first birthday. For older partiers, modify this theme into a fall fairy bash or celebration for a little lumberjack dressed in buffalo plaid! Half Pint Party Design has sensational ideas for both.
Pry the smartphone out of your kids' hands and throw them a birthday party that'll make them realize they don't need a mobile device to play. From DIY Pikachu balloons and homemade Pokeballs to Pokémon billiards and "Pin the Tail on the Pikachu" games, the Mamas at Spaceships and Laserbeams have tons of ideas on how to throw a Poke-tastic party for your little trainers.
Pete the Cat
Your little book lovers can party with their favorite groovy blue feline with this Pete the Cat party based on the adorably funky series by James Dean and Eric Litwin. Check out this post from Twinkle Twinkle Little Party to learn how to throw a party that incorporates all of Pete's cool style without going overboard on party decor.
For kids on board with the Shopkins craze, there's a party filled with adorable food items in your future! Shopkins figurines are all about food—tiny jars of jam, little smiling fudgesicles, adorable ice cream cones—so it's easy to Shopkin-ize a party. Just ask Mama-of-four blogger Natalie, who put together this deliciously charming party for her two girls. The focal point, of course, was the dessert table, which was covered with cupcakes, Rice Krispy treats, lollipops, cotton candy ice cream cones, and more. Get all the yummy details (plus free printables to help pull it off) from At Home With Natalie.
The Star Wars franchise may be decades old, but the force is still going strong thanks to The Last Jedi and its newest generation of rebel fighters. Young Jedi will love this party plan that includes DIY lightsabers, a droid-decorating station, and a Death Star piñata. Spaceships and Laser Beams has all the details.
Want something girl-centric for your budding Rey? This Millennium Falcon party from Kara's Party Ideas will get your little girls ready for action.
Luau / Moana Party
You can expect to see Disney's Moana making the rounds on the birthday circuit again this year. With its tropical, floral setting, a Moana party is a gorgeous one, especially if you use some of these fun ideas from Catch My Party founder Jillian Tobher Leslie. Her Moana party recommendations include a layered hibiscus flower cake, frosted flower cookies, and adorable crab-shaped croissants. If you're looking for activities, check out these fun (and free!) printables from Virtually Yours.
They're colorful, they've got crazy hair, and they love singing, dancing, hugging, and cupcakes. Yep, everything about Trolls sounds like a party to us! Don't know where to start with the planning? This idea we spotted over at Soiree Event Design includes a Trolls Beauty Bar (the hair!), tie-dye cupcakes, and a fabulous Trolls candy and dessert bar.
If you've got an animal lover that likes his critters on the scaly or slimy side, throw a Reptile and Amphibian party that's fun and educational! Some ideas: Top your cupcakes with swirls of green frosting designed to look like slithering snakes; make party bags made to look like "Live Cargo" shipments; and splurge for an animal handler to give intrepid tots the chance to see and touch live snakes, gators and more. Head to Catch My Party for all the surprisingly simple details.
What girl doesn't love unicorns? Get some ethereal inspiration from San Diego's Starry Eyed Events' gorgeous Elegant Pastel Unicorn Soiree gallery (because, you know, unicorns don't do parties. They do soirees, of course).
Want to keep young unicorn lovers busy? Try this DIY unicorn horn headband that is an absolute must for your little guests.
Ditch the nice clothes and let your kids get messy! Our original messy art party uses things like squirt guns, mega-canvases, shaving cream and paint-filled eggs, to get kids' creative juices flowing. Click here to find out more.
This Rainbow party from Maggie at Sandy Toes Photography is perfect for kids (and parents) who want something bright and cheery for the big day. Magical snacks include chocolate dipped pretzels dipped in rainbow sugar, rainbow lollipops, and rainbow chocolate covered Oreos. And, young guests will love adopting their own pony (there are those Unicorns again!) at the party's end.
Do emojis make your kids go :-)? The pros over at Spaceships and Laserbeams have all the inspiration you need to throw your little guy or gal a party that'll make everyone in attendance want to go completely emoji-crazy. Whether they're playing "Pin the Face on the Emoji" or feasting on emoji-faced pizza, your kids (and you, too) will have a blast with this one. ;-)
What’s your favorite theme for a birthday? Tell us in a comment below!
—Melissa Heckscher, Jennifer Massoni Pardini & Kaitlyn Kirby
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