Children's Outdoor Party Ideas
Summer 2021 is all about the catch up – catching up with friends and family we haven’t seen for ages, and catching up on all the celebrating we weren’t able to do in lockdown. For kids especially, the time for a proper party is here, whether it’s for a birthday that’s already been, one that’s coming soon or just because they deserve it! With the sun shining, a party in the garden or park is a no brainer, so read on for our best outdoor party ideas for kids…
Planning is essential for any party, but especially a children’s one with so many elements involved. Get a date in the diary and the invites out at least six weeks before - this summer will be even busier than usual for kids’ parties, so don’t delay in getting your one booked in. At this point, chat to your child about the kind of party they want and then get the decorations and tableware ordered in good time - 14 days or so before will mean you avoid any last minute stresses waiting for orders to arrive. The less you have to do on the day, the better, so do as much of the food prep in the days leading up to the party as you can, as well as any DIY elements for games and activities. If it’s going to be a dry night, then you could always put up some decorations the night before the party, and you can inflate the balloons at this point, too.
Top tip: When it comes to numbers, be realistic about the size of your outdoor space. A smaller number of kids having space to have fun is better than an overcrowded, chaotic party - limited numbers also makes creative activities much easier to pull off.
If they can’t go over it, they’ll have to go under or through it… Build an obstacle course that is as big and challenging as your outdoor space allows. Obstacle course ideas include a paddling pool to splash through (go here for our fab selection), a garden table to crawl under, and a trampoline to bounce on Put a dressing up box halfway round, so the children can put on a silly outfit as they go, and why not add an ‘egg and spoon’ element, with the kids having to negotiate an obstacle without dropping their egg? However you build your course, make sure it is completely safe and age appropriate, and that an adult is on hand to supervise at all times.
Make a den the focal point of the party, with the kids all mucking in to build a fabulous one. Use garden furniture for the main structure, with blankets for roofs, attached with bulldog clips, clothes pegs and plastic bands. If you’d prefer a no-hassle den that you can set one up before the hordes descend, get a tee-pee or two. They’ll be a real hit at the party, and your kids will love playing in them throughout the summer.
Top: tip: Whether you go tee-pee/den kit or homemade, decorate the den with balloons, lights and garlands, and get the kids to make signs or bunting to hang on them.
With so many birthday parties cancelled or postponed during lockdown, children’s entertainers will be relishing the chance to get back to doing what they do best - and booking one will give you a bit of respite to tidy, organise or chat to adult guests while the party’s in full flow. Check in with friends for recommendations and look at online reviews for children’s entertainers near to you, and find an entertainer or a party company that can host fun outdoor games and activities. There are usually plenty of options for football parties, or push the boat out for a pricey, but excellent Sharky and George party. They have a wide range of themes to pick from, including gingerbread decorating and mask making for the very young, and discos, movie-making and quest adventures for older children.
Outdoor children’s party games
Picking your party games is, of course, dependent on the age of your partygoers. Take your pick from the old classics - Newspaper Islands is one for little ones we particularly love. Lay out newspaper pages on the ground and then tell the children to ‘swim’ around the garden as music plays. When the music stops it means there’s a shark attack. Players have to stand on one of the newspaper islands to be safe, but as you take away a couple of the islands at the end of each round, some players won’t make it on to one and will be knocked out of the competition. Older children will love taking part in a mini-Olympics, which you can organise with one of our sports day kits, or let them run riot with our water fight kits, water pistols and water balloon bunches.
Top tip: A piñata packed with sweets and small gifts will be a show-stopping final game for everyone to have a go at.
Outdoor party table and decorations
Just because your party is outside, it doesn’t mean you can’t pick a kids’ party theme and go all out with the decorations. If you’re holding your party at home, it will be a great way of turning a familiar space into a sparkly new party venue. We’ve got brilliant new ranges of children’s party decorations, including circus, fairy, mermaids and magic, packed with helium balloons, garlands and bunting. Make sure the party table at the centre of it all looks fantastic - use a plain white tablecloth as a base and then add tableware that fits with your party theme, plus table confetti, streamers and other decorations. Alternatively, plan a party picnic with a ground sheet or rug covered in cushions and bean bags for the children to sink into.
Top tip: If it’s windy, paper cups and plates might be in danger of going flying, so weigh down plates with cartons of juice and cups with tubes of bubbles - the kids can blow the bubbles to add some fun to feeding time!
Seeing as you're outside for your party with the sun shining (fingers crossed!), forget about serving up boring old cheese and ham sandwiches and limp carrot sticks. Instead, fire up the barbecue and give the kids the kind of party food they’ll love. Buy in burgers, sausages and a load of buns to keep things simple, and for a healthy element serve corn on the cob and cherry tomatoes on the side. As an alternative, turn the party food into an activity by getting the kids to make their own pizzas - make a simple pizza dough, then help them roll out the bases and add tomato sauce. Lay out cups full of toppings (cheese, sweetcorn, ham, pineapple etc.) and let them get creative, before whacking the finished pizzas in the oven.
Top tip: For the drinks, mix lemonade and orange juice for a classic Saint Clement’s, or make a batch of strawberry milkshake - here’s a fab recipe. If grown-ups will be in attendance have some cold beer (including some non-alcoholic ones), chilled white wine and tea and coffee available to offer them.
Cake and sweet treats
You simply can’t have an outdoor summer party without ice cream. Set up an ice cream bar and ask a helper to be ice cream man or woman for the afternoon, with the kids getting to choose from a menu of flavours and toppings, and lay out platters of summer fruits (pineapple, watermelon, oranges etc.) for the children to pick at. Last, but very much not least, the birthday cake needs sorting. To save yourself the hassle of trying to emulate your favourite Bake Off contestant, buy one of our personalised birthday cakes. They come in either chocolate or vanilla flavour, and you can add your own photos and message to the top.
Party bag fillers
Sending your children’s buddies home with a fun-filled party bag will round off an epic afternoon. If you’ve got a theme for the party, find party bags and party bag fillers to fit (we’ve got dinosaur, pirate, mermaid fillers, and more), and also pick gifts with further outdoor fun in mind, such as these nature trail binoculars and bubble wands.
Once you’ve organised and hosted your child’s outdoor party, you’ll deserve an alfresco celebration yourself – shop our summer ranges for the decorations, tableware and accessories that will make it a party to remember.