Stumped for birthday party ideas for a preteen or teenager? You’re not alone. Once kids reach the preteen and teen years, birthday party planning can get somewhat challenging for both teens and parents. After all, you don’t want to throw a party that comes off as too childish or, even worse, not cool.
But we’ve got some ideas for planning an awesome birthday bash for your preteen or teen. Whether you’re looking for ideas for an at-home party or one at a venue, our list of popular preteen and teen birthday party ideas in Cincinnati is sure to be a big hit with preteens and teens.
BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS FOR GIRLS
Mini Bowling Party – Not your traditional bowling party, The WEB Extreme Entertainment kicks up the cool factor with its Hang Ten Hawaiian-themed miniature bowling that ups the competition and the fun. Choose an all-inclusive The WEB birthday party package to customize your ideal preteen party.
Dance Party – A dance themed birthday party can be held indoors or outdoors in your home or at a rental hall. Before the party, put together a CD mix, or just have a wide range of tunes available for playing. For activities, hold a dance-off, play dance video games, have a limbo contest, or hire a dance instructor to teach party guests new moves. Set up a table for party food and a birthday cake decorated in a dance theme.
Circus Party – Cincinnati Circus takes its circus birthday party to your backyard or a rental hall of your choosing. Its birthday packages let you customize your party with options like rides, carnival games, animals, jugglers and even a flying trapeze.
Pottery Making Party – A birthday with a keepsake is offered by Mad Potter, where party guests can design and paint their very own mug, picture frame, or other pottery piece and then style it with stencils and stamps.
Garden Party – Ideal for home parties or hold the event outdoors in one of Cincinnati’s garden parks, such as Eden Park. Plan garden themed games and activities, like a nature scavenger hunt, decorating clay pots and planting flower seeds in them, or a sophisticated tea party.
BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS FOR BOYS
Arcade Party – Preteen boys can’t seem to get enough of arcade games, so what’s better than a birthday party in an arcade! At The WEB Extreme Entertainment arcade, party guests can play in one of the largest arcades in Cincinnati, filled with all sorts of popular video games, table games, driving games and more. Afterwards, continue the party in The WEB’s Winner’s Café or Sweet Shop ice cream shoppe.
Olympics Party – Turn your backyard into an Olympic venue with games that preteens love. Think obstacle courses, games of skill, soccer goal scoring, relays races, water balloon distance throwing, or whatever athletic or non-athletic challenges you can think of. Be sure to make or purchase gold, silver and bronze medals for top finishers! Complement the activities with party food, like pizza and sandwich trays, or have a closing ceremony cook-out!
Magic Party – For some thrilling excitement, throw a magic birthday party at home. Abracadabra Entertainment provides a strolling magician or a show format with lots of audience participation. Decorate your home with magic-themed decorations and serve magic-themed party food. For example, use cookie cutters to design rabbit shaped sandwiches or heart, spade, club and diamond shaped hamburgers. For party drinks, make a magic potion out of your favorite punch recipe.
Jungle Party – Let party guests run wild with a jungle party birthday party at home. The theme makes it easy to decorate and plan games and activities for both indoors and out. Have jungle relay races with jungle themes, like a snake crawl where guests have to race to the finish line by crawling on their bellies, a monkey run where guests run with their hands touching the ground, and a tiger balance relay race while guests balance a stuffed tiger on their head. And, of course, a game of monkey in the middle is a must.
Star Wars Party – Awaken the force with a Star Wars tween birthday party, where you can go wild with Star Wars themed decorations, games and activities, and party food. You can even ask guests to arrive dressed as their favorite Star Wars character. Start the activities off with a Star Wars piñata as blindfolded guests try to smash it open. Some Star Wars themed party game ideas are a light saber balloon balance where party guests gather in a circle and try to keep their balloon up in the air using their light saber, and a Jabba the Hut slime relay (what tween doesn’t love slime!) where guests, divided into two teams, run with a full spoon of slime and dump it into a container to fill it first for the win. Serve party foods on wooden skewers like kabobs to resemble light sabers.
TWEEN GIRL BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS
Mini Golf Party – No need to worry about the weather with an indoor mini golf birthday party at The WEB Extreme Entertainment. We’re talking nine holes, blacklit to up the coolness factor, plus a Jurassic theme to kick up the excitement even more. Customize an all-inclusive tween party with one of The WEB’s birthday party packages.
Karaoke Slumber Party – Rent a karaoke machine, like those offered by A-1 Amusement and Party Rental, and decorate a large room in your home for a combination karaoke and all girl slumber party. Have guests vote in different karaoke categories, like best in tune, best dancer, best facial expressions, best emotional performance and best overall performance. Have plenty of snacks on hand for late-night snacking.
Spa Party – What tween girl doesn’t like trying out new lipstick colors, putting on cool nail polish, or playing around with different makeup ideas? Dazzling Dolls Kids Spa offers spa party packages that cater to tween girls and include manicures, pedicures, facials, makeup and party food and drink. Or, head to one of Cincinnati’s many dollar stores and stock up on beauty supplies for an at-home spa party. Set up different beauty stations, like a makeup table, a facial area, complete with cucumber slices and a face mask, and a hair table with an assortment of hair accessories. Serve finger sandwiches and mini pastries and provide spa-themed party favors.
Birthday Skating Party – Cincinnati is home to year-round roller skating and ice skating rinks, so tweens have their pick of either roller skating at Beechmont Rollarena or ice skating at Northland Ice Center . Both rinks offer birthday party packages that include skating and refreshments.
Masquerade Party – Hold an at home masquerade party or rent an event hall, like Cincinnati parks facilities, the Anderson Pavilion or Riverfront Veranda. Ask guests to make or buy their own mask and wear it when arriving to the party. Then, hold a contest for guests to guess who’s under the masks, and another contest for the best, prettiest, most original, and most elaborate masquerade mask. A masquerade ball or a mystery dinner or luncheon also can be part of the party’s activities.
TWEEN BOY BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS
Laser Tag Party – The ultimate in fun, a laser tag tween birthday party at The WEB Extreme Entertainment is an awesomely cool way to celebrate a birthday. There’s exciting, fully interactive 3D game play and way cool lights and sounds. Add to the fun with one of The WEB’s all-inclusive birthday party packages.
Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party – For this awesome party idea, you’ll need 11 or 12 items (to match the tween’s age), a large bag for collecting the items and a cool prize for the winning team. Hide items around your neighborhood and divide guests in teams to hunt for them. Some ideas for items to hide are pennies, empty soda cans, tennis balls, books, etc. The first team back with all the items on the list wins the prize. Oh, and you might want to let the neighbors know that tweens will be running about looking for things.
Movie Night Party – If you have a big screen TV at home, rent a bunch of tween-friendly movies and throw an in-home movie night party, complete with popcorn, pizza, pretzels and soda. Depending on the weather, consider setting up an outside screen or viewing area. Or, reserve seating at the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater by buying tickets in advance for party guests. Tweens will love the five-story domed movie screen and surround sound that puts them right in the middle of the adventure films.
America’s Got Talent Party – Based on the popular TV show, party guests get in front of the group and show off their talent, whatever it may be. It can be traditional, like singing, or bizarre, like burping the alphabet. Buy trophies so party guests can vote on the funniest, best, weirdest, and original performances.
Mad Science Party – Tweens love cool science experiments, so you can’t go wrong with an at-home mad science birthday party. Mad Science of Cincinnati has two party options ideal for tweens: Reactions in Action where guests learn about the principles of combustion and Fizzy-Physics that explores the power of air and gas pressure that makes things fizz. The mad science shows are interactive and include hands-on activities.
TEEN GIRL BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS
Hunger Games Balloon War Party – Turn this favorite book series among teens into a birthday party game. All players are tributes and receive one balloon, which represents their life. If a teen’s balloon pops or is out of his or her possession for more than a minute, that guest is out of the game. Players can use “safe” weapons, like crayons, to try to pop an opponent’s balloon. The last person holding a balloon wins, with the prize being a gift card to a movie or bookstore.
Field Games – Reserve a field at one of Cincinnati’s parks, like the Otto Armleder Park and hold friendly matches of soccer, baseball, or field games like water relay races, three-legged race, dodge ball, water balloon toss and other favorite field games of your teen. Several field parks have picnic areas where you can bring party food, a birthday cake or cupcakes, and refreshments.
Luau Birthday Party – A luau in honor of a teen’s birthday can be held either at home, at a rental hall, or at Cincinnati’s gem, Lake Isabella . Ask guests to wear Hawaiian-themed outfits and put a lei around their neck as they arrive to the birthday event. For party games, hold a limbo contest or hula hoop contest. The party menu can include fruit smoothies, pulled pork sandwiches, and fruit kabobs.
DJ Party – Hire a DJ and let the teens have a blast dancing. A DJ party can be held at your home or a rental hall. In addition to a customized play list for your party, some DJs provide strobe lighting and sound-activated lasers to enhance the dance room. Others hold contests, games, or bring karaoke machines. All you need to do is provide guests with party foods and refreshments, which you can have catered or order party trays from your favorite market.
Paint Party – With paint parties gaining in popularity among teens, Gallery to Go offers party packages for teen birthday paint parties in your home, backyard, or at a venue of your choosing. Each party guest receives a blank canvas, paint supplies and an apron to create a masterpiece. An art instructor provides tips and technique ideas. Carry the art theme to your party menu with decorative foods, desserts and refreshments. Pinterest has some great art birthday party food ideas.
TEEN BOY PARTY IDEAS
Puzzle Room – Teen boys love zombies, so the Trapped in a Room with a Zombie puzzle room at The WEB Extreme Entertainment is the perfect venue for a teen’s birthday party. Party guests have 60 minutes to find clues and solve puzzles to unlock the door and escape before the zombie is unleashed! After the adventure, party guests can refuel at The WEB’s Winner’s Café.
Gaming Party – For teens who can’t get enough of playing video games, a gaming party at home is a cool way for teenagers to celebrate their special day with friends. You can keep the party casual or organize a gaming tournament with teams or head-to-head competition. Serve your teen’s favorite snacks and keep the pizza and wings coming.
Bonfire and Music Party – Teens love just hanging out, which makes a bonfire and music party ideal for this age group. If you don’t have a fire pit in your backyard, you can purchase one for under $75 at the Home Depot or Lowe’s in Cincinnati. For music, your own entertainment system or a portable one will work out well. Provide chairs or blankets, long roasting forks for each guest to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, party snacks and refreshments, and be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby. Then, let the teens do what they like, whether it’s talking, dancing, or playing Frisbee. Just be sure an adult checks in periodically and keeps track of the whereabouts of guests.
Party Bus – With this popular teen birthday party idea, the teen of honor and party guests spend a night on the town. With Party Bus Cincinnati, you choose the spots and the personal chauffeur will drive the group from one spot to the other. For instance, you can start off at The WEB Extreme Entertainment for a game of laser tag and a bite to eat in the Winner’s Café and then get back on the party bus and head to downtown Cincinnati to hang out in Smale Riverfront Park and make a final stop at a coffee shop before heading back home.
Volleyball Party – Plan an indoor volleyball party at Game On! Birthday packages are available with food and drink add-ons. The multi-sports facility also offers other birthday game options, like soccer, basketball, lacrosse and rugby.
SWEET 16 GIRL PARTY IDEAS
Birthday Concert – Every 16-year-old girl wants to see their favorite pop star or group in person and a Sweet 16 birthday concert is the way to make that dream come true. Check out the concerts planned at the various venues around Cincinnati, including the Cincinnati Music Hall, US Bank Arena and Riverbend Music Center. Enhance the special day with a limousine ride to the concert. The Knot is a good source for researching limo options.
Experience Party – A Sweet 16 party is the ideal occasion for teens to take on an adventure they’ve always wanted to do with friends. Some experience party ideas in the Greater Cincinnati area include rock climbing at Climb Time of Blue Ash, ziplining at Zip Line and Canopy Adventure Tours, or whitewater rafting. Some venues offer complete birthday party packages.
Waterpark Sweet 16 Party – Talk about making a splash with a Sweet 16 birthday party! CoCo Key Water Resort offers a 50,000 square foot indoor waterpark, so you don’t have to worry about the weather. And since it’s located in the CoCo Key Hotel & Resort, you can sweeten the deal with overnight accommodations for partygoers as part of the resort’s Splash and Stay package.
Yacht Cruise – A yacht cruise with panoramic views of the Ohio and Kentucky shorelines makes a memorable Sweet 16 birthday party. Satisfaction Cruises at Panama Landing offers themed cruises aboard either of its two stunning yachts. Each yacht accommodates dining and dancing, with customized packages available.
Back to Childhood Party – Take a nostalgic trip back 16 years with a back to childhood party in your home or rental space. Plan activities around games your teen enjoyed growing up, like pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, hide and seek, jump rope, hopscotch, freeze tag, etc. Keep the nostalgia theme going with party foods like gummy bears, dry cereal in a bowl, cupcakes and other snacks your teen loved growing up. Be sure to display photos of your teen through the years, from newborn to now.
SWEET 16 BOY PARTY IDEAS
Go-Kart Driving Party – Make it a dual celebration of turning 16 and getting your driver’s license with a go-kart party at The WEB Extreme Entertainment. No need to worry about the weather, because the electric go-kart track is indoors. Plus, the track is fast with lots of bends for some fun competition. Choose The WEB birthday party package to add party food options.
Capture the Flag Party – For this classic game popular among teens, you’ll need a large space, preferably a wooded area. If your backyard isn’t big enough, consider one of Cincinnati’s local parks or state parks. Divide party guests into two teams and provide each team with a flag. Divide the playing area into two sides, one for each team. Each team hides their flag in their playing space, leaving about an inch of the flag visible. Team members try to sneak to the other team’s side and steal their flag without getting caught. Captured players must stay in a designated area until a team member successfully crosses over to the opponent’s side, tags the player and both return successfully to their side. The winning team is the one that captures the other team’s flag and successfully returns to their side with it.
Weekend Away Party – Arrange for your teen and friends to go on a weekend getaway. Think camping trip, beach house, or a chic hotel in downtown Cincy. Adult chaperones can get accommodations nearby. Plan a special birthday dinner and other exciting activities.
Sports Themed Sweet 16 Party – Reserve a section for party guests at one of Cincinnati’s own sports team. Depending on the time of year, you have the Cincinnati Reds, which can be combined with a visit to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cincinnati Cyclones, or FC Cincinnati. Call ahead about getting your Sweet 16 teen’s name on the scoreboard!
Amusement Park Sweet 16 Party – Coney Island Park and Kings Island, both located in the Greater Cincinnati area, offer amusement rides, waterslides, and other attractions. At both parks, you can add to the group outing with a picnic in the park.
Despite what tweens and teens may say, no one is too old for a birthday party! And as you can see, there are a lot of things tweens and teens can do to have a cool birthday celebration. In fact, this list gives you plenty of popular birthday party ideas in Cincinnati to get you through the preteen and teen years, but more importantly, ensure you’re throwing a really cool birthday party!