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 llamas to a hands-on experience with reptiles galore, these hip ideas are sure to make those mini-milestones ones you’ll never forget!

Pineapple Party

Pineapple is having a moment. We found party ideas all over the Internet: pineapple invitations, party hats, piñatas, even a cute pineapple cake. What better way to celebrate the (pine)apple of your eye!

 

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photo: Mimi O'Connor

Trolls

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? Take a cue from Trolls the Experience in Midtown Manhattan, where revelers get the party started at a beauty bar with Glitter Gurus, who apply fabulous, glittery face paint. Add tie-dye cupcakes, a colorful Trolls candy and dessert bar, and cue "Can't Stop the Feeling" for the Best. Day. Ever. 

The Classic Outdoor Birthday

There's nothing quite like a classic backyard bash, especially during the summer. Keep it simple, and let the kids run to their heart's content. If you want a theme, we've got top summer-themed birthdays here, and our favorite outdoor themes here

Camp Out Birthday

Whether you decide to let a few guest sleepover in a tent or if you just grill up some hot dogs, serve s' mores for dessert and have a few nature scavenger hunts, a camping-themed birthday is always a hit, especially during the warmer months! Need ideas for your tiniest naturalist? Check out this adorable camp-themed first birthday party to be inspired

Bubbles and Brunch

We aren't referring to the bubbles you remember pre-kids, but a morning party with brunch items and kid-favorite bubbles is a winning combo. Offer up egg muffins, scones, fruit and other nibbly goodies, and let the kids go wild with a wand or two. See this two-year-old's sweet day for more ideas. Or, if you've got older kids, why not set up a bubble lab with experiments, instead. 

Dumbo

In March you can head to the big top to see Tim Burton's reimagined Dumbo, but in the meantime, you can make your carnival dreams come true with a Dumbo-themed party! Nutter Butter treats, lots of colors and let's not forget images of our favorite, big-eared elephant! You can deck your party out in style with printables from Where the Green Grass Grows.

Detective Pikachu

Pokeman is still a thing and that's because of the new Detective Pikachu film. Deck your kiddos party after the beloved character and don't forget all the fun Pokeballs and treat bags, like these adorable catchalls from The Homes I Have Made.

photo: Gabby Cullen

Wonder Woman

Superheroes are forever popular but this warrior woman has reached new heights. From favors to costumes to cakes, we love the easy-to-recreate ideas at Artsy Momma including cupcake toppers and cute crafts. 

photo: Amazon

Llamas!!

If 2016 was the year of the woodland creature and 2017 the year of the flamingo, then 2018 is the year of the llama (and also, maybe the sloth). From sweet baby shower themes to full-on party games (pin the tail on the llama, anyone?) not since Anna Dewdney first began the beloved Llama, Llama series has this creature been so popular among the youngest members of our households. (We think Anna would smile about this trend.) We love this simple llama cake topper kit (ears, eyes and mouth) that transforms your theme instantly (some piping skills required). 

Floral Arranging Birthday Parties

Move over painting parties, here comes the next exciting thing in children's birthday activities! Alice's Table provides custom floral arranging parties including children's birthday parties (pssst...they make a great baby shower theme too!). Each attendee learns how to create a professional floral arrangement and bring it home in a stylish vase or a beautiful flower crown fit for a queen. Plus, they come to you if you're hosting a private event. 

Check out their events calendar and search by state to find happenings near you.

Online: alicestable.com 

Next-Level Princess Parties

There are three secret ingredients to pulling this party off: tulle, gold glitter and a princess kit cake from Cakest. Skip on over to Mint Event Design to see more inspiring pictures. And check out our review of Cakest and other DIY baking kits here

Peppa Pig

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!

Spa Party

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.

Minions

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!

Superhero Party

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

Baking Party

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

Mad Scientist

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!

LEGO Party

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.

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.

Star Wars

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.

Reptile Party

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.

Unicorns

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.

Art Party

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. 

Rainbow Party

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.

—Melissa Heckscher, Jennifer Massoni Pardini & Kaitlyn Kirby

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Feature photo iStock