Outdoor party planning
Take your pick from these 10 creative themes, from a fairy party in the woods to a football party in the park. They should keep everyone happy, especially the birthday boy or girl!
Children’s parties are always a bit of a challenge, aren’t they? So, while the current situation may still be throwing us a few extra hurdles, in some ways it’s making life simpler.
Guest lists have to be small and, even after the rules change on 17 May, it’s better to be outdoors (so, it doesn’t matter that we forgot to book the church hall). It’s even okay to ask people to bring their own sandwiches!
The following outdoor birthday party ideas are based on themes that will feel special with small groups of people. If it’s cold, choose an active theme like football to keep everyone moving. And scroll down to the end for a couple of indoor party ideas for families. Don’t forget to double-check the latest guidelines before you host your party.
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1. Teddy bear’s picnic
This idea is perfect for younger children. Surprise them with a picnic and a few special guests, including their favourite teddies. If there’s a cold snap, pack hot water bottles and a thermos of hot chocolate and turn it into an adventure.
Location: The park, the woods, or your garden. Ask guests to bring their own picnic blankets to keep everyone a safe distance apart. They could even bring their own food.
Socially-distanced party game: Hide a few cut out teddies in the trees for little ones to find and swap them for chocolate prizes.
Party food idea: Stick to traditional sandwiches but use a teddy bear sandwich cutter to make them more fun. You can find these online for a couple of pounds.
2. Fairies and elves party
Fans of Ben and Holly will love this idea. Throw an enchanted forest party and give your child the perfect excuse to dress up as an elf or fairy (as if they needed one!) You could go all out and dress as Nanny Plum (everyone knows she’s the best character).
Location: The woods (or under a tree in the park or in your garden).
Fun activity: Challenge little ones to find twigs, interesting leaves and petals and then glue them together to create magic wands. (You just need to bring PVA glue – nature provides the rest!)
Party food idea: Make toadstool cakes. Cover fairy cakes in instant red icing and white chocolate buttons.
Make it extra special: Buy battery fairy lights to add some twinkly vibes.
Think of everything: If you’re in the woods, ask people to bring portable potties in case nature calls!
3. Football party
Give your budding Harry Kane or Lucy Bronze the chance to show off their skills with a few close friends.
Location: The park is ideal. String up some bunting close to your chosen space.
Socially-distanced party game: This one’s a no brainer – a non-contact sport with no hands! Although, with guests currently limited to a maximum of six (that includes parents and children), you might be better off playing passing games, dribbling around cones or having penalty shoots outs, rather than trying to play three-a-side!
Make it extra special: Instead of party bags, send everyone home with their very own football.
4. Pirate party
This idea puts the arrr into party (sorry).
Location: You can host a pirate party anywhere – the park or a garden is perfect.
Socially-distanced party game: Send little ones hunting for treasure. Whether the treasure is party bags, sweetie necklaces or even chocolate coins, the fun is in the hunt! You could draw a map, if you’re feeling keen.
Party food: Fruit pirate ships are easy to make and fun to eat. Cut orange or melon into segments then top with a cheese square on a cocktail stick.
Make it extra special: Give everyone a silly pirate name like Captain Squid, Longbeard, Sea Wolf or Two Toes the Great.
5. Outdoor fete
Put on a fair for a chosen few that your school PTA would be proud of. We promise, it’s not much work.
Location: Best in a park or garden.
Socially distanced party games: Create a circuit of a few activities, such as skittles, hoopla and pin the tail on the donkey. The beauty of the circuit is you can have one child playing one game at a time.
Party drink: Crowd-pleasing hot chocolate with fun flavoured syrups – mint, orange or ginger add festive vibes.
Make it extra special: Invite your child’s favourite character to make an appearance. Ask a family friend to dress up as Peppa Pig, Elsa or The Gruffalo.
Scroll down to keep reading….
6. Barbecue party
This hands-on party theme gets kids cooking, whilst keeping everyone a safe distance from each other (and the barbecue, of course!) Great if you have a child who is happiest when they’re involved in doing a task.
Location: This idea is best in the garden.
Fun activity: Create some prep stations by spacing out some TV trays and order kids’ chef hats online (around £1 each). Chop up some red, green and yellow veg (peppers, tomatoes, courgettes etc) and provide wooden skewers, so little ones can prepare traffic light kebabs.
Make it extra special: Let the guests create their own ultimate barbecue dessert: banana boats. Give each person tin foil with a banana inside for them to top with chocolate, marshmallows, strawberries and anything else you think little ones might like. Wrap the tin foil around the banana and put onto the barbecue (or directly in the embers if they’re starting to die down) and warm up for 3-5 minutes.
7. Dinosaur party
This one is ideal if your child knows their Tyranosaurus Rex from their Diplodocus. And the outdoor location really makes this theme come to life!
Location: The woods, the park or your garden.
Party game: Choose a person to be T Rex and select a base, like a bench or tree. The person who is the T Rex counts while everyone hides. They shout DINNER TIME and start to look for people. The others have to sneak back to base without being spotted.
Make it extra special: Give everyone their own dinosaur masks to decorate and wear.
8. Sports Day
Choose this theme if you want lots of high energy fun with activities that lend themselves to keeping children apart.
Location: This is a great one for if you’re hosting in a park, as you’ll have more space for your egg and spoon race, and less chance of party guests coming into close contact with one another.
Fun activity: Sack, skipping and hopping races, the long jump – anything except the three-legged race!
Party food: Freeze watermelon slices on sticks (number 3 on this list) for a refreshing treat.
Make it extra special: For a nice treat at the end of the party, send the kids on their way with a chocolate medal. Attach a large chocolate coin to a ribbon they can wear around their necks.
9. Sibling sleepover
We don’t blame you if you still want to keep any party celebrations to immediate family at the moment. If that’s the case, why not create a special sleepover for your children? You could even join in (although you might want to sneak back to the comfort of your bed at some point!)
Location: Set up beds in the living room. Or, go all out and camp in the garden.
Party game: Play glow stick hoopla in the dark. All you need is glow sticks (the ones you can fasten in a hoop). Try and throw them over a drink bottle (ahem, a wine bottle is the ideal shape and weight) or even a toilet roll holder.
Party food: No sleepover is complete without a midnight feast. Mix hoisin sauce, honey, mustard and sesame seeds together, drizzle over cocktail sausages and then put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 180c. Serve with cocktail sticks for a sticky snack.
Make it special: Hire or buy teepees to make up the beds inside.
10. "Drive in" cinema
You could take the family to one of the drive-in cinemas that have been popping up in cities across the UK. Or, you could recreate the experience at home. Let the birthday boy or girl choose the movie (even if that does mean watching Frozen 2 for the thirty three hundredth time).
Location: The living room.
Activity: Give little people a box and some pens to create their “car”. Add some cushions or a pillow to make it cosy.
Make it extra special: Pop your own corn and serve it in a proper popcorn tub.