I’ve written plenty of posts in the past about various birthday party ideas, from party bags to party themes, but now it’s time to think about outdoor birthday party ideas.
Some outdoor parties can be held at home for a more budget cost – they can be run by older siblings or family members. Others involve either booking a party activity elsewhere or getting someone in to run activities in a garden at home. Yes, these can be more expensive – especially when there’s a minimum number required. N is happy for some parties to just be a couple of friends being taken out to do an activity – these can be as expensive as a party for 10 once you’ve included food as well.
But hopefully there’s some suggestions for all ages and budgets. And don’t forget, you can always team up with a friend and hold a joint party if their birthdays are similar time of year. Joint parties work really well when they have lots of mutual friends as well.
Winter outdoor party ideas
Parents worry about holding parties in winter and most would avoid a winter birthday party because it’s not fun in the rain for parents or adults (we’ve often just held the party in the spring or summer months instead). And if it snows (in the UK), everything grinds to a halt and not everyone will be able to get to the party venue. But as long as you’ve got children dressed for the weather, an undercover area which is good for getting children warmed up, and hot chocolate and hot food ready for them, then it could be worth giving it a go with an on the move activity.
Which ones of these would be a winter outdoor birthday party that your children would enjoy?
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Outdoor birthday party ideas
Outdoor party ideas for younger children
Picnic and play at home in the garden – we did this a couple of times. Either put out a picnic table with platters of food, or do lunchboxes and just get the children to choose which sandwich type they want including. Outdoor toys work well. It’s like a large playdate, and doesn’t need much for children to entertain themselves. Add a colouring area for those who need some time out.
Football party – get some mini goals, and set up some challenges and ball games. Hand out medals at the end.
Mini Olympics – set up mini Olympics areas, throwing the pool noodle, jumping, egg and spoon race and others.
Scavenger hunt – give all the children sheets with pictures of items to find and a little bag, and return their items to get their prizes. Alternatively provide them with treasure maps, and they need to solve the clues to find the treasure.
Bouncy castle – simple and not as expensive as you may think.
Traditional party games – take normal traditional party games but take them outside.
Forest ‘school’ – see if you can hire out a local forest school, or get them to run a party for you to find bugs and other things.
Archaeology party – sandpit area would work, burying fake bones or other items for children to find. Or try hacking away at ice with buried treasure in it.
Pool party – couple of paddling pools or a water based inflatable slide and some sprinklers. Great fun (assuming there’s no drought going on). Or even visit or book somewhere with paddling/splash park area.
Older children party ideas
Football party – you can get sports companies or football coaches to come in and organise these for you, or you could just take a group of friends to a local park or football MUGA (it obviously works better . N’s even been to a football zorbing party which was great fun.
Water fight party (when not in a drought!)
Photo challenge (scavenger hunt) – upscale the basic scavenger hunt with a photo challenge. If you’re in an area and have older children where they’re fine and safe to go out and about alone, send them out with their phones to take photos of a list of items.
Film party – for creative types. Leave a box of dressing up gear and props, a couple of ideas for stories, and get them to make their own films. Then have a showing after they’ve eaten (we did this one summer as teens when a load of us all piled over to a friend’s house for the day – I dread to think what happened to those videos, thankfully no social media or mobile phones in those days).
Chill out party – get a table tennis table, set up bowling or giant jenga or similar casual games, music, and serve bbq or homemade pizzas, and non alcoholic punch
Circuits or Olympics party – set up some circuits, or get them to create their own and work around them in teams. Alternatively take a few friends to do a child friendly version of a tough mudder run. Several of my son’s friends have done these and they look great fun.
Pool party – if you’ve a large paddling pool, it could be an option to have a pool party, complete with water fight. Even up to Y6 or Y7 might enjoy these.
Beach party – head to the beach with sports equipment, body boards and picnic.
Camp out – if you’ve an enclosed garden either set up your own tent, or hire a yurt in, do BBQ food and smores for after. Setting up an outdoor screen for an film showing works well too.
Swimming party at an outdoor pool – let someone else organise it for you, although you might find you can’t book the whole pool. Generally swimmers over 8 are allowed in pools without parents so check before what the rules are before you realise you’ll have to join in with them! Less cool.
Water park – inflatable water parks are great for older children. Just make sure all can swim well enough, and sometimes an adult has to go round with them too.
Laser / nerf party – these always go down well, in particular if you’ve got plenty of garden space with obstacles and things to hide behind. Otherwise you can go elsewhere to enjoy them.
Stand up paddle boarding lesson – one for maybe a smaller group of children, but certainly on trend. Usually wetsuits etc are provided for the lesson.
Tennis party – hire some courts and set up games or challenges if you’re happy to do it yourself and have competent players. Otherwise book a coach to come in and organise.
High wires / Go Ape – Go Ape and similar high wire courses are great fun, and there’s usually a level for everyone. Some smaller country parks may have courses, so look out for those if you don’t have Go Ape near you.
Crazy golf – there’s plenty of crazy golf courses around. Try and find somewhere you can book to go round twice, or where they have 2 course options, otherwise you might find it’s all over too fast. Take a picnic to have afterwards (and a ball to have a kick around afterwards if the golf’s near a recreation ground).
Afternoon tea and pamper party – for an elegant party, set out the vintage tiered cake stands and nice sandwiches, and add pampering with face masks, sparkles and nail polish.
Mystery party – set up a crime and get them to solve it. Think escape room style with puzzles or make up a real crime to solve.
Bush crafting – head into the outdoors with a guide (or parent who knows what they’re doing), and set them up trying different outdoor bush crafts. There’s plenty of places you can book to do activities like this.
Outdoor birthday party decorations
Of course, any party needs decorations and you can always go to town with outdoor birthday party decorations if its in your garden or a venue you’ve hired. Try coloured lights or bunting, create hanging tassles, bright coloured outdoor cushions and bean bags, picnic tables with bright tablecloths (don’t forget the weights to prevent the wind lifting it off).
Paper plates are handy, but why not build up a melanine or outdoor picnic plates and bowls set over the years – outdoors dining can be much more informal so clashing can work really well if you go for plain bold colours rather than a theme. Try these bright sets of glasses or mason jar glasses with lids and straws.
Which of these outdoor birthday party ideas would your children enjoy?
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This year my eldest was going to invite a couple of friends to camp out in the garden after a BBQ for her birthday in the summer but we were recovering for Covid so we didn’t want to do much.
What great ideas. A lot of them are a lot cheaper than having it inside. x
Camping would be a great party. I reckon N would love that. The only issue here is that our garden’s open and they’d get woken early from those starting work on the farm