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15 outdoor birthday party ideas for kids

If there's going to be a mess, let them make a mess outside.
These outdoor birthday party ideas will get the fun started.
These outdoor birthday party ideas will get the fun started.Getty Images

Instead of hosting your kid’s birthday party inside your house or taking a crew of kids to the same place that serves up pizza and questionable ball pits, why not take the party outside?

Outdoor parties give kids a place to stretch out and run, and let you get creative with the theme, food, and games. 

While you can’t predict the weather, you can plan ahead. Make arrangements to move the party indoors at the last minute if needed, and on hot days, get creative to stay cool.

Nicole Heinbaugh, the owner and event planner at Simply Sweet Party Boutique, said there are plenty of ways to cool down kids on hot days. “To keep cool, use little fans as favors. They even make the ones that spray water. It’s definitely a great option to keep guests as cool as possible in the summer heat,” she said. “I also love setting up refreshing stations. Serve a cool frozen drink or frozen dessert as an option. Freeze pops are such a hit too and inexpensive.”

Let’s get this party started. Here are 15 outdoor birthday party ideas to help inspire your kid’s next bash. 

Tie Dye Party

From shirts and beach towels to socks and scrunchies, there’s no limit to what kids can tie dye at this groovy party. Grab a few tie dye kits and let them get creative. Have a clothesline and plenty of clothespins ready to hang all of their tie dye creations to dry, and before kids leave, send them home with directions on how to care for their newly tie-dyed items. 

Summer Camp

Break out the s’mores, get ready to sing songs around the campfire, and take a hike — even if it’s just around the backyard. A summer camp-themed party is a great way to make food that kids and adults will enjoy and to play some of your favorite childhood games and activities. 

Reel Fun

Kids will be hooked on this fishing party. Start by letting guests make and decorate their own fishing rod out of wooden dowels, eye hooks, string, and metal clips. Then host a casting contest and fill a baby pool with different sized paper fish so kids can try their luck to catch a big one. While kids are eating, they can break out a deck of cards and play a few rounds of Go Fish.

Outdoor Movie

Set up a movie under the stars by using a projector and a bed sheet as a screen. Have plenty of movie snacks like popcorn and candy on hand, and since this party starts after dark, pass out glow sticks as favors.

Olympics Party

Bring home the gold with this party theme by setting up obstacle courses and relay races. Before the athletes head home, wrap a cookie in gold paper and attach it to a ribbon so everyone gets a sweet gold medal. 

Lawn Games

Turn family game night into a party. There are plenty of family-friendly lawn games you can buy — like oversized checkers and cornhole. However, you can also make your kid’s favorite games like creating a Twister board on the grass with spray paint or make a DIY version of skeeball with buckets and a few small balls. 

Bubble Blast

Bubbles are pretty magical and you can adapt this party for kids of all ages. Set up machines to get the bubbles flowing while kids work on a DIY wand to make bubbles of all shapes and sizes. Fill a baby pool with bubble mixture, have kids stand in the pool, and use a hula hoop to make jumbo bubbles around the kids.

Archaeological Dig

Dinosaurs fans will dig this theme. Set up an archeological dig in a sandbox or in a baby pool so partygoers can search for artifacts. Give kids shovels, buckets and paint brushes to uncover the dinosaur figures, fossils and gold coins. At the end of the dig, the artifacts become party favors that kids can take with them.  

Outdoor Arts Party

Let kids tap into their inner Bob Ross at an artsy bash. Now is the time for all of those messy arts and crafts your kids want to try. Fill up squirt guns with paint and use large canvases as the target, whip up a few batches of slime, or giving kids a paint tray palette and let them get crafty.

Water Party

Splish splash, it’s time for a water bash! For this outdoor party you don’t need a pool, just plenty of ways to play in the water. Break out a sprinkler, Slip N’ Slide, and fill tubs of water with plenty of water toys. The perfect party favor? A cozy beach towel that guests can dry off with and take home.

Garden Party

Let kids try out their green thumbs at a garden party where they decorate their own pots and then get to work planting seeds, flowers or succulents. Create sensory bins filled with soil and kid-friendly gardening tools and fill mini terracotta pots with a cupcake and top it with a flower decoration for a sweet treat. When the party wraps, send kids home with mini watering cans filled with seeds to start their own gardens.

Mini Golf

It’s time to par-tee. Using items like cardboard boxes, balloons and pool noodles, construct a mini golf course for your pros. Turn sandboxes into sand traps, and transform a large open space into a driving range. For younger players, skip the regular golf balls and use beach balls instead.  

Beach Bash

Sand buckets, beach balls and plenty of sunscreen are essential for a beach bash. Even if there isn’t an ocean nearby, baby pools full of water will do the trick.

Glow-in-the-Dark Party

This one is great for older kids because the action starts when the sun goes down. Load up on glow-in-the-dark necklaces, fill baby pools with glow sticks, and place colorful plastic cups over tea lights to illuminate the party.