Summer birthdays outside are the best—kids love having so much space for games and activities, plus outdoor photos with the group can make for wonderful family memories. (And there’s the bonus of keeping your house intact, too!) To pull off an amazing backyard bash, all you need is sunshine, green space, fun party supplies, simple snacks—and a strong birthday party theme to pull it all together. Need some ideas to really make your outdoor birthday party shine? No problem. Here are 10 kids’ outdoor birthday party ideas that can work for pre-schoolers, pre-teens and everybody in between.

1Play a game of giant Jenga.

Take their favourite tabletop tumbling game and turn it into a big outdoor event. You can set up a giant Jenga tournament using wooden blocks where the winner gets to take home a mini version of the game in their loot bag. Add to the fun at lunchtime with a platter of stacked veggie sticks (think carrots, celery and cucumbers) and dip alongside a tower of finger sandwiches. (For snacks, candy bars and pretzels make pretty great Jenga blocks, too!) Keep the fun going with more outdoor party games: Throw out some lawn dice, a set of jumbo dominoes or craft your own larger-than-life game of tic-tac-toe using sheets of construction paper.

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2Dig for dinosaurs in the backyard.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas dinosaur dig

Your little T-Rex will be stomping with joy at this birthday party. Set the scene by outlining life-size dino prints in chalk on the driveway and/or sidewalk leading into your yard. (FYI, a triceratops’ footprint would have been roughly 90 cm in length, to be accurate![1]) Create your own archeological dig by burying plastic dinosaur toys in the sandbox (or a big bucket filled with sand) and supplying party guests with small shovels and brushes to excavate. Add some easy homemade “fossil” cookies, a dino party hat craft, followed by an epic run through the sprinkler and a dino-mite time is sure to be had by all!

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3Host a backyard mini golf championship.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas mini golf

With the help of some pool noodles, cardstock flags attached to bamboo stakes and a little imagination, you can set up a mini golf course in no time. Re-use household items like empty cereal and tissue boxes for obstacles and holes. If you have any plywood or PVC pipe laying around from other DIY projects, you can add ramps and tunnels, too. The on-theme party food possibilities are endless: Consider cute options like iced “tee,” “birdie” chicken wings, apple “slices” and cupcakes decorated as golf balls. It’s the perfect party for a golf-loving fore-year-old—but it works for all ages.

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4Create an unforgettable backyard campout experience.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas backyard campout

Create a campsite vibe using a big chalkboard sign to “Welcome Campers!” Small wooden directional signs can point party guests to activities like “fishing” (using a large water-filled bucket, trinket toy prizes and small nets) and a “feed the bear” bean bag toss. You can also keep little campers busy by singing campfire songs, creating campy crafts like paper folded campfires and Mason jar bug catchers. Keep the food simple by serving hot dogs and burgers, then have some fun with the snacks—everyone will love a s’mores station! For older kids, this is the perfect set-up for a sleepover party (just add tents!). And if you want more great backyard camping inspiration, check out our 10 creative ideas for parents and kids!

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5Have a movie night under the stars.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas backyard movie night under the stars

Now playing on a porch near you: The best backyard birthday party ever! Give your movie-going party guests the star treatment with an all-you-can-eat concession stand complete with movie theater popcorn, fancy drinks and a candy bar. Create cozy seating with floor poufs, pillows and lots of blankets. Add a marquee with a mini LED lightbox that says “Happy Birthday,” a balloon garland around the movie screen and loads of twinkle lights. Your party will be transported to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood at home.

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6Line up easels in your backyard and have a paint off.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas painting

Your little one can unleash their creative genius with easels (or small canvases for painting at an outdoor table), washable paints and a little artistic imagination. You can assist with inspiration by pointing out flowers or trees around the yard and encouraging them to paint pictures of each other. When your mini Monets have tired of painting, you can unveil some other art-themed activities. Think sidewalk chalk drawings, sculptures with modeling clay or beading bracelets to take home in their loot bags. For the décor, go for rainbow balloons and streamers, a paint-splattered tablecloth (which you can have fun DIYing ahead of time!) and paintbrush-shaped cookies.

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7Throw an under-the-sea bash with mermaids and bubbles.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas under the sea

You don’t even need a pool for this aquatic-themed backyard party! All that’s required is a sprinkler, bubbles (with fun wands!) and some under-the-sea inspiration. For the décor, think teal, blue and purple balloons, and a few well-placed seashell-themed decorations. Kids will love crafting “mermaid slime” (the same sensory activity with clear glue that you’ve probably tried before, but this time with the addition of blue and green glitter!) and “seashell crowns” using basic headbands, ribbons and stick-on jewels. Give yourself a break on the themed dessert by buying a cute set of toppers to add to your go-to cupcake recipe (or to fancy-up a store-bought birthday cake).

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8Have a water balloon baseball play-off.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas water balloon baseball

Your little leaguer will love a baseball-themed backyard bash. The addition of water balloons is a fun twist on their favourite sport, making it playable in an average-sized backyard—and refreshing on a warm summer day, too. (Just remind your party guests to bring a bathing suit or extra set of dry clothes!) All you’ll need to do is make some bases (you can use recycled cardboard), fill a bucket with water balloons and have a few plastic bats and mitts ready to go! Take the theme to the next level by printing “Team Birthday” jerseys, baking baseball cupcakes (think basic vanilla with the addition of red icing for stitching) and creating a chalkboard scoreboard. A traditional baseball party will be a home run, too, if you’ve got the lawn space or access to a nearby park with a baseball diamond that you can use for the afternoon!

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9Create your own backyard version of The Amazing Race.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas The Amazing Race

Take your mini and their pals around the globe on an action-packed scavenger hunt. Set the stage for the exciting escapades by sending out map-themed party invitations—with an X to mark the spot, of course. Chart a course around the backyard and encourage the kids to follow the clues to find their treasure, which could include on-theme party favours like mini flashlights, magnifying glasses and carabiner keychains (to help them carry their gear!). Keep the pint-sized explorers fueled up with “adventure juice” (a.k.a. fruit punch), a healthy trail mix (buy a premade package or make your own nut-free version with dried fruits, cereal and pretzels) and wrapped-up sandwiches they can grab-and-go. Adventure awaits!

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10Go classic with hula hoop contests and potato sack races.

Kids outdoor birthday party ideas hula hoops and potato sack races

This party is all about classic outdoor play done right—and it’s the perfect solution for a party on a tight budget. You can usually get this theme going with things you’ve already got around the house or in the garage. A hula hoop contest (see who can spin the longest) and potato sack race (which can be done individually, in teams and even backwards) will get the party started. Put a birthday twist on frisbee toss by cutting a large rectangular hole in two sides of a large, repurposed box (big enough to easily fit the frisbee), then wrapping it up into big gift, complete with an oversized bow on top. Freeze dance, charades, hot potato and “Simon says” are four more classics that kids love—and they don’t cost a cent!

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Article sources

  1. The Geological Society, UK. Dinosaur Footprints Activity Sheet.

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