Teenagers just may be the toughest group to please when throwing a birthday party. They're too old for princess and superhero theme parties and too young for a cocktail party. So how does one throw a memorable event that's neither babyish nor breaking any laws?
Recently, a fellow About.com Guide, Jacci Howard Bear, Guide to Desktop Publishing, shared with me her party plan for a fabulous birthday party that she hosted for her 20-year-old daughter. This party was full of high-spirited fun and, even without drinking and dancing and with parents in charge, it didn't feel like a little kid party.
Thank you Jacci for sharing this great teenage party plan with our readers!
Let the Games Begin!
According to Jacci, she and her daughter spent weeks coming up with games for the party. It was like a variety of different game shows mixed together. Some of the games were related to how well the guests know the "birthday girl".
Jacci and her daughter were the hosts and judges. They selected team captains ahead of time to keep everyone involved and engaged without putting anyone 'in the limelight' whom they knew wouldn't be comfortable in a leadership role. Then the captains drew names to build the three teams. Name tags were distributed to be sure they all knew one another's name.
Throughout the games, there were opportunities for all to shine. The games included an indoor scavenger hunt, problem solving, and physical activities. There were group challenges as well as individual things to accomplish. Some of the partygoers loved the competitive games, others enjoyed the teamwork, and others liked the sillier activities.
When the games were completed, everyone received a prize in the form of gift boxes full of fun dollar store items and lots and lots of candy. There was a special silly gift for the person voted as MVP on each team.
There were six stages to the games at this party. All of the teams began with a Pop Quiz and when they achieved a certain number of points, they would move on to the next stage including:
- Acting Up!
- Birthday Mathematics
- Crack the Cryptic Clues
- Name Game Jumble
- Puzzling Pictures
- Trivia Questions
Jacci also shared some of the puzzling questions used at this party as examples of the type of challenges you can create based on the talents of your group of teens.
Sample Questions and Puzzles
What 4 letter word placed in front of these 5 words can make 5 new words.
- - - - LASH
- - - - DROP
- - - - GROUND
- - - - FIRE
- - - - HAND
FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, the three words in the FBI motto also begin with FBI. Write down all three words correctly.
F ______________________ B ______________________ I _______________________
Write down as many of the meanings for the four Hs in 4-H club as you can.
Q. What is the Latin criminology phrase often abbreviated as M.O.? A. modus operandi
Q. In U.S. billiards, what number is missing from the blue-striped ball? A. 10 (ten)
Q. Of kilobyte, trilobite, gigabyte, and megabyte, which is largest? A. gigabyte
Q. Elsie the Cow had a husband named Elmer. What is he famous for? A. Spokesbull for Elmer’s Glue
Q. Newspeak is a misleading language from what novel? A. George Orwell’s 1984
Q. Spell gratuitous. (synonyms: unnecessary, unjustified) A. g - r- a - t - u - i - t - o - u - s
Q. Ice, rocks, and sweeping are featured in what sport? A. curling
Q. What was the name of King Arthur’s sword? A. Excalibur
Q. If November 1 is a Sunday, on what date will Thanksgiving fall? A. Thursday, November 26
Q. What’s the name of the dog who wants to “take a bite out of crime”? A. McGruff
Sample Acting Out Challenges
Instructions: Choose three people from your team to act out the puzzles -“The Actors”.
IMPORTANT: In order to complete this part of the game you must do your charades in the presence of one of the party hosts. Go to their location and tell them you are about to start a round of charades. She will give the sealed clue envelope to the actors for your team. The charades must begin within 2-3 minutes of opening the envelope. Upon successfully guessing the correct answers, the party host will give your team the next envelope. Watching other teams will not help you. Each team has a different set of charades. Partial or “close enough” guesses will be accepted at the discretion of the party host.
Acting Out Theme: Party Games
Tell your team the theme. Silently act out each of these party games, in the order shown. One actor is the primary for each clue. However, the actor can get assistance from the other two actors
- PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY
- BREAK THE PINATA
- BOBBING FOR APPLES
Acting Out Theme: Animals
Tell your team the theme. Silently act out each of these animal phrases, in the order shown. One actor is the primary for each clue. However, the actor can get assistance from the other two actors.
- MILKING A COW
- GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS
- DOG PADDLE
Acting Out Theme: Holidays
Tell your team the theme. Silently act out each of these holiday related activities, in the order shown. One actor is the primary for each clue. However, the actor can get assistance from the other two actors.
- TRICK OR TREAT
- TRIMMING THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Do you have a favorite tip for hosting teen parties? If so, you're invited to share it with other readers of this site.
This party was specifically designed with teens in mind. But when you're hosting an all ages party, how do you keep the teenagers involved with the rest of the group? You're invited to share your strategies for including teens at all ages parties.