My children are both perilously close to teenagehood. Well, my daughter officially hit 13 the week they started back at school in September. She’s in middle school, meaning that she moved up to ‘big school’ at the start of Year 5, along with 210 other local children. She developed a small group of close friends, and parties these last few years have involved these same children. This year she wanted us to arrange an Escape Room followed by Pizza Express – was an easy birthday, and she loved it.
My son, however, turned 11 last week and is in Year 6. He hasn’t got a small group of best friends – he has a HUGE number of friends, all of which he wanted to invite to his party. We honestly thought that big parties were behind us now! In the end we agreed to book a Game Wagon van to park on our driveway, and he invited 20 friends (18 came). The van is kitted out with gaming screens and a good 10-15 children can play at any one time … there’s also handheld consoles too – so they all headed out to the van for an hour, while we cooked lots of supermarket bought pizza.
After a rather disruptive party at our house a few years ago, we swore we’d never do it again. However, this time around, with the children being slightly older, it went seamlessly. They were little angels if I’m honest … polite, happy and didn’t get carried away (though my son’s extensive NERF gun collection was strictly out of bounds!) My son loved his party, and we had fully cleaned away within 30 mins of the last child going home.
These parties aren’t cheap though, and I was curious as to what other parents do for their teenage children’s parties.
Megan from Truly Madly Kids held a silent disco at home for 32 x under-13s! It was great fun and a tip she gives is to buy mixer-sized cans of drink as the children have a habit of discarding them.
Mum of Three World’s Sarah allowed her 17 year old son to camp in the garden with his friends. There was alcohol involved and she didn’t enjoy it as it was very noisy. Luckily nothing bad happened and no one got too drunk!
Rachel from Raspberry Flavoured Windows has arranged a quad safari party and a paintballing party. The paintballing was sons versus fathers and was very popular, but did end up quite competitive!
Alexandra’s daughter’s 12th birthday was celebrated with a hot tub party in their garden. Six friends went along and there was a tropical theme for mocktails and food. For her 13th she had a trip to a theme park, and her 14th next year will be a sleepover in a bell tent tipi in their garden 😊
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• H O T T U B L I F E • I had such an amazing birthday party on Saturday. I was so happy to have my girls with me, we had a chocolate fountain, cheese fondue and lots of fun in the hot tub. I’m so lucky to have such fun friends. I think we may have irritated the neighbours with our crazy antics but hey, it’s only your birthday once a year right? Well, unless you’re the queen, I think I may give myself an official birthday too 😂
Becky, of Thrifty Home, did a canoeing party for around 20, followed by an assault course for her son’s 13th birthday. It was a lot of fun, but also a one-off splurge.
Claire from Big Family, Big Fun did a big joint party for her son’s 18th and daughter’s Sweet Sixteen as their birthdays were 2 weeks apart. They hired a hall and DJ, had a cake made, and had a sweetie bar, photo booth and enough food and drink to sink a ship.
For her daughter, especially, it was the highlight of her life (so far!) She got to spend the evening dancing with her friends and family. While not an ‘over the top’ extravagance, they did a lot of the work themselves (decorations, food, etc, with most things coming from Costco and the internet). It was a one-off party – the next one like it will be when they get married!
Susan is arranging to take her son and four of his friends go-karting to celebrate him turning 13.
Big Family Little Adventures’ Mandy booked out an entire cinema screen for three of her children, as their birthdays are all within a two-week period. Each child got a drink and box of popcorn … and they didn’t need to clear up the mess afterwards! And it seated 150 … and most seats were filled!
Helen, from Actually Mummy, has recently organised a paintballing party. She says that it could be considered an extravagance, but if you are organised you can get discounts from places like Groupon. It’s for both boys and girls too, as well as suiting large groups.
Cass, from The Diary of Frugal Family, transformed their garden into a beach with palm tree inflatables and a paddling pool. They made a tropical photo booth and all the girls wore swim suits 😊
I think my favourite party suggestion though goes to the neighbour of CycleSprog’s Karen. Each friend was at their own home and they all played a computer game together through their respective headsets. She ordered pizza to be delivered to each house at the same time.
Zero Stress! I love it!