Party Auntie’s A-Z Guide to Children’s Party Themes
Children love a good theme for a party, but it can be hard for parents to get creative and come up with a good theme. So here’s a quick-fire list from A-Z on children’s party themes to help you choose and get some starter ideas into your head. We’ll have two ideas per letter, so it’s 52 quick ideas in total.
Suitable for all ages, this is an easy theme to create and you can get really creative. The simplest way to do this is to ask your guests to come dressed as their favourite animal. But you can also hire a face painter to turn your guests into lions and butterflies.
Arts and Crafts
This is a very hands-on theme that can get very messy. But it’s always great to see the kids getting immersed into a colouring contest or trying to decorate cups. If your guests are very young, we suggest frequently changing the activity.
People always say food tastes better when you’ve made it yourself. Get your guests involved in baking and decorating the cake, or even topping their own pizzas. Just get the ingredients out and on display for everybody, then let the fun begin!
The best part of a magician’s routine is always the balloon modelling! Your guests will be impressed when they’re taught how to make basic balloon shapes such as animals. We also recommend hiring a bouncy castle for the ultimate balloon theme.
This can be either the vehicle or the Disney film, it’s up to you. Just remember to keep the colours bright: Traffic light brownies, drinkable red ‘transmission fluid’, pit pass-style invitations and a Scalextric contest. We recommend hiring didi cars and the inflatable race track from 1st Choice Inflatables.
Possibly the most common theme for a party. Carnivals mean magicians, clowns and vintage fun fair games. For the best choices in carnival-themed props and games, please check out our friends at Rent Event.
Is your child obsessed with Frozen? Let them be Elsa for the day and eat ice cream in their own frozen paradise. If you want to keep it more general, have everybody come dressed as their favourite Disney character and put a playlist of Disney’s classic soundtracks on for them to sing along to.
This theme can be as factual or fictional as you and your kids want it to be. But we feel like every dinosaur party should have a contest for who does the best roar. If you incorporate fancy dress into this party, be sure to watch out for those tails. We’ve heard plenty of stories of tails knocking stuff over.
We always like to link this theme to a treasure hunt, as if your guests are pyramid explorers hunting for goodies. Outside of that, pyramid cakes are a unique sight and decorating pharoah masks is probably something your guests have never done before.
This is especially useful when the weather isn’t pleasant and your initial plans are ruined. If your guests are all playing the latest Fifa game, put together your own World Cup, complete with group stages and the final tournament. To avoid squabbling over who plays as which country, simply choose teams out of a hat. Just make sure you’ve planned ahead a little by having the team selection be of similar in-game abilities.
Trucks and bright lights are always fascinating for young children. As an idea to start off your planning, visit your local fire station and see if they’re hosting any open days. If you intend to stay at home, there are plenty of fireman-related games available, including obstacle courses, hot potato and building your very own fire engine truck out of cardboard boxes.
If your kids have lots of energy and are obsessed with the sport, get a ball and a small goal set at the ready. If the adult goes in goal, there’s no squabbling between the guests as they all try their hand at free kick challenges, headers and volleys, or simply having a kick about. Don’t make it too hard for them to score!
Neon lights and glowsticks make your party truly magical. This plays into a disco theme, so hang up a reflective disco ball, put on some coloured lights and let the music play and dancing commence. We also recommend trying to mix white glue with fluorescent paint to create glow-in-the-dark decorations.
If your child loves this CBeebies show, hang up cutouts of their favourite characters and have them dress up as well. The show is based on travelling the world, fixing environmental issues, meaning this theme links well with both environmentally-friendly and exploration parties.
Which house does each of your guests represent? If you have enough, this could lend itself well to a series of competitions in which each ‘house’ is pitted against each other. On top of that, hire a magician to come dressed as a witch or wizard and show their magic to the kids. Perhaps they could even teach them a few ‘spells’?
The never-ending book series which has appeared on TV countless times can make for a great theme if your guests want to be grossed out. Take them to medieval times when all parts of animals were eaten by dressing up a baked cauliflower to look like brains, then fast-forward to roman times with some sword fights.
A great superhero movie that revolves around a family. If your child is wanting to spend his birthday with family more so than friends, this is a great theme to get everybody involved. If your child is especially young, it’s easy for them to act as Mr Incredible as they can easily lift the child and appear superhumanly strong.
Especially useful if your party is quite short. If you have an ice cream machine, this is an opportunity to get the kids involved in making their own delicious ice cream. Perhaps they could even create a new flavour? Once their delicious dessert has been created, present them with an array of decorations to let them add their own finishing touches.
We doubt there are many kids out there who wouldn’t love to be a secret agent for a day. Put together a scavenger hunt where they need to find clues in order to solve a puzzle that will lead them to the baddie. We recommend the baddie is an adult who can keep an eye on the kids without being spotted easily.
An animal adventure filled with tigers, monkeys and snakes. From pin the tail on the monkey to face painting and hiding soft animal toys around the house for a safari-themed hunt, there’s so much you can do with this theme.
The classic DreamWorks film brings several different approaches you could take for the party. From Chinese food and culture to martial arts and kung-fu lessons. Wearing a kimono as a costume is simple and watching kids try to eat with chopsticks can bring a lot of laughter.
Sword-fighting and creating your own armour comes to mind when thinking of this theme. Have one of the grown-ups dress up as a dragon for these young knights to slay before tucking into a cake shaped like a castle. Don’t forget to make your invitations look like royal scrolls!
Lego is such a versatile item that it can be incorporated into almost any theme, if you want it to be about more than just these plastic bricks. But what we always like doing is getting the kids to use the power of their imagination and create the biggest structure possible. It often ends up being their dream house, which they then have to explain to the host, room-by-room. The enthusiasm is infectious!
Since the launch of Fortnite, it seems like Llamas are becoming the same to boys as unicorns are to girls. You might be able to get a local supplier to bring a real llama to your party, but the simplest option is to hire a photo booth and stock up on llama-themed props. Llamas and cactus always go well together when you’re shopping for props.
The adorable yellow minions make for easy costumes. You can even make them yourself with little trouble. Have an adult dressed as Gru for the day as you separate the minions into two groups who will work on their own evil plans for world domination. Gru judges which idea he wants to go ahead with and the winning minions get a fun prize.
The biggest part of the Moana film is the ocean and boats. We’ve written before about making parents feel included in a birthday party, so why not have them working with the kids to build a boat for Moana to sail on her next adventure. If one of the parents dresses up as Moana and acts as the leader, that’ll bring plenty of motivation to the kids. Parents can do the more dangerous things like sawing wood or cutting cardboard, depending on how authentic you want to go, whilst the children work on the design and gluing for the boat.
Perfect if your child is turning two or three! The colours for this classic children’s TV show are red, yellow, green and blue, meaning a great variety of fruits to eat: Raspberries, bananas, kiwi and blueberries. The idea of Noddy is that he lives in Toyland, which gives you a wide range of ideas for what you could create and let the guests paint together. A large cardboard train, perhaps?
One of the greatest things we’ve ever seen in this theme was a plant pot cake, where the cake itself looked like mud and was presented in an actual (clean) plant pot. Icing, fondant and marzipan were used to create some insects living on the top, as well as a few small flowers growing out of the ‘mud’.
With the 2020 olympics postponed until the following year, why not host your own version? This is especially fun if your guests are highly active with plenty of energy to burn. Your events don’t have to be as serious as the actual olympics. Why not replace the 100m sprint with a backwards crab walk race?
Taking your guests on a trip to the local aquarium can really go down well, and it’s easier to get bookings at these places compared to a bowling alley. Furthermore, a lot of aquariums have their own cafes, which gives you one less thing to worry about when it’s time to eat.
Pancakes and Pyjamas
This can be two separate themes, but we honestly believe that pancakes are best enjoyed when wearing pyjamas. If the kids are old enough to cook, teaching them how to flip pancakes is fun. Then let them get creative by decorating their own pancakes before eating them in a cosy fort you’ve all worked together to build.
A great idea for any age, as a toddler pirate is undeniably cute. You can do a lot with this theme, as artistic children can work together to create their own pirate flags. Older kids can even tackle building their own pirate ship, with some supervision from adults. But you don’t have to stay traditional on this. Space pirates, anybody?
Queens and Kings
Would your child enjoy wearing a tiara or crown all day, basking in royalty? What if they invited their fellow queens and kings for a party where their royal servants (aka parents) pampered them and took orders all day? We’ve met our fair share of children who would love this party theme, but very few parents. We wonder why?
When we say ‘quest’, we’re sure the words ‘scavenger hunt’ enter your head straight away. This is always a fun activity for children, but you can spice things up by having some of the kids playing the role of protection when it comes to the hidden items. Our heroes on their noble quest will have to get creative and find a way to get past the guards and retrieve the treasure.
A reptile party is an interesting theme, as you’d be surprised to know that we don’t think it’s just for older kids. Sure, the obvious thing to do is to hire a reptile zoo for the day, for which we recommend RepTylers, but for those with younger children, a reptiles theme can mean lots of sensory play. Their skin texture is very unique and you could bring a whole range of different skins from various reptiles for the little ones to engage in a sensory activity.
Arguably the most colourful theme on this list. There are plenty of foods that can fit this theme, from rainbow cake and M&Ms to all kinds of fruit and vegetables. When it comes to games, try blowing up several balloons of each colour of a rainbow and scatter them around a room. Place a hula hoop on the floor and give a child a broom. They have one minute to get all the colours of the rainbow into the hula hoop and in the correct order of colour on a rainbow.
There are countless superhero characters out there, from Wonder Woman and Spiderman to Batman and The Incredible Hulk. Before the day of the party, have your guests decide who’s dressing as a superhero and supervillain. Then the good vs. evil games can begin: Capture the Flag, Steal the Bacon or even a simple football match.
Making your own slime is very easy to do and makes for a fun task that the kids will love. There are plenty of recipes out there for slime that isn’t messy, including one from Modern Family. Please note that at the bottom they mention you can use bicarbonate of soda instead of borax, which is safer for the children to use. Once the slime has been made, you’ve got hours of fun as they try to see who’s stretches the furthest without breaking and who coloured theirs the best.
If you’re looking for something relaxed, then a tea party will do the trick. It’s simple enough and can be combined with a pamper party to make it even more relaxing.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
For those who aren’t fully confident in their decorating skills when it comes to props or baking, teenage mutant ninja turtles keep things very simple. For the most part, you just need a green background. This applies to a green piece of card for the invites or a green icing to cover the top of a biscuit. Then add a strip of colour (red, blue, purple or orange) towards the top, to represent the bandana, and finally add two eyes within the bandana strip. Easy!
As you can probably imagine, we’ve had quite a few requests for this party theme before. And several times, we’ve been asked to supply an actual unicorn. Never ones to disappoint, we’ve brought Shetland Ponies along to parties before in order to fill the unicorn role, which has always brightened the child’s day.
Under The Sea
Turning your venue into an underwater paradise is actually easier than you think. Start things off with blue projection lights where possible. If they can project fishes and water ripples as well, that’s even better. With your windows, get some blue crepe streamers to hang down. Attach a few fish cutouts to the strips and the effect is magical. Don’t forget to add some brown sandy designs for your walls and green twisted strips coming out from the ‘sand’ to act as underwater plant life. Creating an underwater world can be fun, with breathtaking results.
Perfect for kids who just can’t get enough of halloween, and great for those who enjoy a good pun: “Fang you very much” for when you receive food, and “my blood relatives have arrived” for when family show up. Replace your light bulbs with red ones, decorate your venue with gothic props and use red food colouring to turn simple drinks into ‘blood’ for your little vampires. If your guests enjoy arts and crafts, get some pumpkins and magic markers in. They can decorate their pumpkins without all the danger of knives and mess of pumpkin internals.
Just to finish this one off, we’d like to suggest that wax and plastic fangs are not suitable for children under the age of three years old.
Helmets with horns, beards and talk of ships can only mean a viking-themed party! You can make beautiful helmets, swords and shields from cardboard and tape, which your guests can then use to practice their fighting craft with. If the adults want to get involved, the little vikings can plot their own ‘invasion’ that the grown-ups can’t win. The best colour schemes to use for this party theme are white, brown, black and gold.
Witches and Wizards
The costumes are easy to find or make and the haunted games are fun. Here’s our favourite: Get out a large cauldron (errr… casserole pot) for your guests to create some glorious potions and spells. Take a savoury recipe (your favourite soup, for example), but change all of the ingredient names to gross potion ingredients. You’ll then need to label the ingredients themselves as these gross items, so your jar of cloves are now frogs eyes. Once their potion is complete and the spell has been cast, the young witches and wizards have some delicious food to eat afterwards.
Considering the hot weather right now, we’re sure most kids would jump at the chance of getting the super soakers out for a battle before diving down a slip’n’slide for some adrenaline-filled action. If your guests are on the younger side, try to get some interesting-shaped watering cans (we’re thinking dinosaurs and bunnies) and colourful plants for them to water and explore. At the end of the party, the kids can take home their plants as a wonderful present.
A Marvel classic with great possibilities for creativity. For anybody who’s not familiar with the ever-popular comic books, TV cartoons and live-action films, the X-Men are a group of humans who’ve evolved to have unique superpowers. These powers include x-ray vision, the ability to control the weather and mind control. Your guests are welcome to come dressed as their favourite character, or invent their own superpower and costume to become an entirely new member of the X-Men group. Just be sure to put together some rules for those who are creating their own characters, to stop anybody being too powerful.
Xylophones and Music
Ok, we admit it: we were scraping the bottom of the barrel here! But getting everybody together to form a xylophone band can actually be very fun if your group is small and is interested in a tapping type of schema. This particular type of party can easily be combined with another theme, such as Under The Sea, where you can play xylophones and sing songs about life under the sea.
A gender-neutral colour that represents happiness and excitement. It’s very easy to incorporate this colour with another theme. One theme we didn’t mention earlier is flowers: if your child is interested in botanics, you could collect various yellow flowers to be explored, or even create a scavenger hunt where the kids have to find various yellow flowers or items around a local park or forest.
This may seem a little too mature for children, but yoga has recently become something of an early years sensation during the Covid-19 pandemic with the popularity of Cosmic Kids Yoga. It’s a great way to establish a relaxed environment and is greatly appreciated by kids who don’t want too much stimulation or energetic activities. Just be sure to choose a yoga instructor with experience in working with young children, as the postures and routines should be tailored specifically for them. For more information, see this article from Nursery World.
We’ve mentioned animals and reptiles before, but it’s really hard to think of anything else beginning with Z! The obvious thing to do is go to the zoo, but if you don’t have one nearby why not create a zoo at home? Cardboard cutouts of animals and perhaps even a makeshift cage housing one of the adults for the children to view and ‘feed’.
It may be last on the list, but it’s definitely a classic. With a small amount of makeup, the adults and kids can become zombies for the day. Or perhaps the kids are survivors of the zombie apocalypse and need to find a way to beat the adults? It could even be the other way round, with the zombie kids trying to infect the adults and turn them into zombies as well? It brings a whole new element to a simple game of tag. Let’s not forget here that zombies sometimes like to eat their prey, so be sure to serve plenty of ribs and cauliflower ‘brains’.