Get ready for 2021’s line up of birthday parties for kids with our guide to the most popular kids’ party ideas. From a birthday bash featuring favorites like llamas to birthday party ideas for teens to even an exciting experience party like an Escape Room, these hip ideas for party themes are sure to make those mini-milestones ones you’ll never forget!
**Editor’s Note: Due to COVID-19, some of these birthday ideas may not be possible at this time.
Drive-By Birthday Parade
Drive-by party ideas are still going to be popular in 2021. There are all sorts of creative ways to make this type of socially distancing birthday party special for your kiddo. Make posters, shoot silly string out the window, tie balloons and banners to the side of the car, blast kid-friendly tunes, and if you feel comfortable, your party guests can drop off a gift as well.
Virtual Party Ideas
Just because you can't have a ton of friends over just yet doesn't mean your kid can't have a memorable birthday celebration. We've rounded up everything from the best dessert ideas to a huge list of creative virtual parties. Click here to get the details.
Outdoor Movie Night
A classic party theme that everyone loves! It's probably for the best if you can set up outside, and then all that's left is to pick a classic kid movie from our top picks, set out popcorn, blankets or forts, and, if you have time, print out tickets! Check out our best ideas for outdoor movie nights here.
Camp Out-Themed Birthday
You don't even have to have guests stay the night to enjoy a camp-out-themed birthday! Grill up some hot dogs, serve s' mores for dessert and have a few nature scavenger hunts. This is a great outdoor party theme, especially for the warmer months of the year. Need ideas for your tiniest naturalist?
Have a Food or Treat Truck Swing By
You can order a Kona Ice Truck or a food truck, depending on your budget. Guests can spread out, the truck owner is well versed in COVID food regulations and you won't have to prepare a thing—it's a win-win situation.
Teaching our kids to give back is essential to parenting, and it can start with something as easy as a party! Instead of the focus being on the birthday boy or girl, you'll be seeing more party themes centered around volunteering. Since there aren't a lot of public volunteering events happening right now, consider our list of ways kids can give back without leaving the house.
Harry Potter Birthday
The wizarding world is still a very popular theme for a kid birthday, especially when Halloween is on the horizon! Have wands at the ready, make golden snitches from Ferrero Roche chocolates, make potions, and of course, serve some delicious butter beer.
Minecraft is still a popular theme for older kids who enjoy playing the game. You can DIY it with cool ideas like the ones we spotted over at Spaceships & Laser Beams, or buy supplies from Walmart or Amazon.
Mermaids still reign birthday parties! The magical gals make for the perfect theme with ethereal decor and food. Need some inspo? Head to Pink Cake Plate for some adorable under-the-sea ideas, including Mermaid Muddy Buddies.
The newest Spongebob Squarepants film is coming out this year! Head to Bikini Bottom for some Krabby Patties and time with your fave characters when you host a Spongebob party, like this soiree from Hostess With the Mostess. Perfect for a summer or pool party, tropical decor, bright colors and creative labeling can make your party look like something straight out of the Krusty Krab.
Whether your little is big into Star Wars or is a budding astronaut, 2020 is the year for out of this world parties. Gear up with galactic decor, space-themed activities and cosmic cookies and cake to celebrate the big day.
When it comes to big-kid parties, you'll be seeing Escape Room invites everywhere in 2020. Not only is your entertainment handled from the get-go, but the smaller number of maximum guests will keep things simple too.
Trolls World Tour was a huge hit in 2020; Poppy and Branch's popularity is still going strong. That means it's time to cue the bright colors and hugs! Put your hair up in the air with cute headband party favors, colorful photo backdrops and of course, lots of dancing and singing.
Gender-Neutral Party Themes
Sonic, LEGO and Superheros––2020 will see tons of gender-neutral party themes. Ideas surrounding food, non-pink and blue colors and gender-inclusive activities all make for fun parties on the horizon.
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.
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.
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.
Instead of a sleepover, why not a lateover? Perfect for younger kids or kids that aren't ready to make the jump to a whole night, invite friends over around dinner time, and plan fun "night time" activities like karaoke, a dance party, glow-in-the-dark games, outdoor games you can play in the dark or even crafts.
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).
Make a Craft Birthday Party
Crafty birthday parties are still very much a thing. From Alice's Table, which provides custom floral arranging parties for kids' birthday parties (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, and they come to you if you're hosting a private event) to services like Camp Crafty Parties, which brings everything kids will need to make a fun craft, you'll be seeing a lot of these themes in the new year.
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.
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.
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's 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!
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.
The Star Wars franchise may be decades old, but the force is still going strong thanks to The Rise of Skywalker, new star Rey, and a new 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.
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.
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.
Unicorns might not be getting the love that llamas are at the moment, but they still have immortality when it comes to popular birthday trends. 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.
The newest installment of Scooby Doo hits theaters this May with SCOOB and that makes it a hot theme for a party in 2020. Chica and Jo nailed the design with their fun party that involved creative printables, homemade "inspector kits" and a mystery that must be solved.
—Melissa Heckscher, Jennifer Massoni Pardini, Kaitlyn Kirby & Karly Wood
Feature photo: iStock