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Best Day Ever: 30+ Summer Kids’ Birthday Party Themes and Activities

written by BRETT NICOLE HAYDEN and KATHY SISSON
Source: @raven.vasquez
Source: @raven.vasquez

In my totally biased opinion as a June baby, summer birthdays are the best. Even though you don’t get to celebrate with your classmates at school, summer birthdays are synonymous with nice weather. This opens the door to plenty of options when it comes to summer birthday party ideas—from activities to venues to summer-themes. You generally can plan on some outdoor play and can include some of the best summer activities like swimming and staying up late.

“Summer certainly takes the center stage as the ultimate season for kids’ birthday parties, with July and August hot with excitement and September marking peak celebrations,” said Olivia Pollock, Senior Director of Brand Marketing and Party Expert at Evite. If you have a special kiddo who has a birthday coming up, you may already be in the early stages of party-planning mode. Here, we’re sharing plenty of summer birthday party ideas to spark inspiration, including summer birthday party themes and warm weather activities.

Summer Birthday Party Themes

The first step in a successful party is picking out a perfect theme. Pollock shared that parents are getting more creative in their party planning, with searches for party themes increasing. “While it’s common to see themes like mermaid, luau, outdoor movie nights, camping and rodeo themes, and summer fruits gain popularity during the summer months, we’ve noticed a significant increase in searches for [specific] kids’ birthday party themes,” she said.

So what themes are rising in popularity? Pollock shared that searches for Peppa Pig and My Little Pony birthday parties increased by 25% and 15% respectively. “We’re also seeing a rising interest in themes centered around action and adventure with themes like Transformers and Power Rangers,” she said.

Whether you want to be creative or classic, go all out, or keep it low-key, there are plenty of ways to ensure your birthday kid has the best day ever. Read on for 20 of our favorite summer kids birthday party themes they’ll love.

Summer Camp Birthday Party

Have a kiddo who counts down the days until summer camp? Bring camp to them and see how much joy it brings them. Set up tents for decorations and host the party outdoors, either in the backyard or even at the local park! Have plenty of summer camp activities planned. Try something simple like a scavenger hunt, tie dying, or a craft. Or go all out with a ropes course, swimming, or even a talent show all the kids can get in on.

Picnic Birthday Party

We love this summer birthday party theme because it can be as simple or as extravagant as you’d like. We’ve all seen those adorable picnic setups by now—the ones with plush pillow seats and an adorned tablescape. Take that and make it festive with your kiddo’s favorite colors, some balloons, and an umbrella for the sun. Set the table with a place setting for each of their invited guests.

picnic summer kids birthday party
Source: @intothewildpicnics

Pool Party

Birthdays are always cause for a big splash. Celebrate with a good old-fashioned pool party. Have plenty of blow-up floats, beach towels, and all of the pool toys. Make the menu easy with the grilled classics like sliders and hot dogs, all of the fruit, and plenty of popsicles. Of course, you’ll want to check the swimming skills of little party-goers with their parents, and if budget allows, hire a lifeguard to be extra careful.

Barbie Beach Vibes Birthday Party

Give Malibu Barbie a run for her money whether you live by the ocean or not. Similar to a pool party, you’ll want to incorporate plenty of pool floaties, but this time in Barbie’s signature style. Have plenty of pinks, yellows, and bright teals to really immerse yourself in Barbie’s universe. Attendees can splash around in the pool, play with Barbie dolls, or even watch the new Barbie movie together.

“Under the Sea” Birthday Party

Shell-ebrate like the mermaids do! This theme will incorporate all sorts of shimmery accents, as well as mermaid tails and plenty of blues and other pastels throughout. Another theme that lends well to a pool, beach, or even just a slip-and-slide in the backyard. A fun added touch in the food department is making mermaid tails out of ice cream cones.

under the sea birthday theme
Source: @mrscofieldandco

“Sleep Under” the Stars Birthday Party

If you’ve heard the buzz term “sleep under” lately and are intrigued, you’re certainly not the only one. Parents are loving this alternative to sleepovers, as the attendees will do everything they would normally do at a sleepover, except everyone heads home before lights out. Take this idea and make it into the most exciting birthday celebration ever. Have everyone show up in their pajamas to watch movies, eat their favorite snacks, and chat into the wee (early) hours of the night.

Drive-In Movie Birthday Party

Have a little one that loves movies? Make their day extra special by planning a drive-in movie birthday party. You could take them and a couple of friends to a local drive-in to see the latest film playing at a nearby drive-in (or a classic re-run!). If you have a truck, fill the bed with cozy pillows and blankets so everyone can get comfortable. Or you can recreate the drive-in vibe in your backyard or your living room with crafted “cars” for seats and plenty of “concessions” (AKA snacks!)

Source: @justaddconfetti

“In My Summer Era” Taylor Swift Birthday Party

There are certainly so many ways you can make a Taylor Swift birthday party special. The best way is to hone in on your kiddo’s favorite “era” and take elements of that album and make it into a party. Have everyone dress up in theme, have a karaoke sing-a-long to their favorite songs, make friendship bracelets, and have plenty of photo-ops.

Taylor swift summer kids birthday party
Source: @janellemccleary

“Let the Good Times Roll” Roller Skating Birthday Party

This summer kids birthday party theme is extra fun because there are so many ways to personalize it. You’re going to want to have some roller skates on hand—or request that guests bring some of their own. From there, make it what you want. One option is to lean into the roller skating craze of the 1970s and incorporate lots of flowers and smiley faces for added fun. No matter what, you’re little one is sure to have the time of their life.

roller skate birthday party
Source: Meri Meri

“In Summer” Frozen Birthday Party

Everyone’s favorite snowman gave us an iconic summer moment. We’re, of course, referring to Olaf’s ballad In Summer in the original Frozen. For a little one who loves the cold weather film but has a summer birthday, they can still celebrate with their favorite characters with this theme. Grab plenty of character cutouts, some balloons, and a snow cone machine to beat the heat.

Moana Birthday Party

Another movie-themed birthday party that was made for summertime is Moana. There are plenty of little ones out there who would be over the moon to have Moana, Maui, Hei Hei, and the whole gang join in their birthday celebration. Incorporate lots of vibrant balloons, Hawaiian flowers, and palm leaves throughout to really fit the theme. You can play the soundtrack during the party to get everyone in the Moana spirit. We anticipate this kids birthday party theme will get even more popular with the release of Moana 2 later this year.

Tropical Birthday Party

If you and your kiddo are loving the tropical vibes but aren’t in on the Moana craze, a tropical birthday party can be just as special. Plenty of palm trees, beach elements, and maybe even some tropical characters like flamingos or toucans will give a nice touch to the theme. Serve fruit skewers and maybe even have a special tropical smoothie in a pineapple-shaped cup whipped up for little guests.

Having a Ball/Par-TEE Sports-Themed Birthday Party

The return of some favorite summer sports is reason alone to celebrate. Kids who love to play tee-ball, baseball, or golf will love a sports-themed birthday party. Go general with a “Having a Ball” theme and incorporate elements of all of their favorite sports. Or, you can be more specific such as a “Par-tee” for little golf lovers. The activities practically take care of themselves for this one. Have everyone get in on your kiddo’s favorite sport, whether that’s a round of baseball or backyard mini-golf.

golf summer kids birthday parties
Source: Etsy | Mamas Piñatas

Ice Cream Social Birthday Party

One of the best parts about summertime is all the ice cream. Because ice cream flavors range in so many colors, it would be fun to incorporate all of them into the decor. Think colorful balloons, streamers, and themed placemats for each guest. Be sure to have plenty of ice cream, popsicles, and an ice cream cake on hand for celebration.

ice cream birthday party
Source: @pop_of_gold

Backyard BBQ Birthday Party

Another great option that can be as casual or over the top as we please, a backyard BBQ is always a good idea. Get the whole family together for a classic grill out. Play all sorts of yard games, or even set up a backyard competition for kids and adult attendees alike. Lean into the barbecue theme by whipping up something special on the grill, like ribs or a brisket.

Firetruck Birthday Party

So many kiddos are enamored by the bright red trucks that cruise by to save the day. Some of them may even have a firefighter or first responder in their own family. Honor this excitement with a firetruck birthday party. Of course, red will rule the decor. Other colors to incorporate are black and white, like the classic firefighting canines, Dalmatians.

Give all of the guests firefighter hats to wear, and make meal planning easy with takeout sandwiches from Firehouse Subs. In some towns, you can even book a firetruck to drive by or stop by your venue during the party. Check into something like this to really make your little one’s day special.

firetruck birthday party
Source: @littledetails.ar

Construction Zone Birthday Party

One of the least enjoyable aspects of summertime for us adults may be construction season. That doesn’t mean our little ones don’t get excited each time they see the big equipment and workers in bright yellow vests. If this is the case for your little one, celebrate their appreciation with a construction zone birthday party. Hard hats, yellow vests, construction cones, and plenty of cutouts of equipment will make this party one to remember.

A Wild Time Zoo Birthday Party

Animal lovers will beam with joy when the zoo is brought to them. Cutouts, stuffed animals, and lots of fun prints will dominate the decor. You can even grab some safari hats and toy binoculars to really get everyone in the spirit. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, hosting the party at your local zoo is a way to make the day extra special.

zoo birthday party
Source: @_sparklingpartiesandevents_

Down on the Farm Birthday Party

Speaking of animals, maybe your little one is more interested in farm animals than the exotic types. In this case, consider them throwing a “Down on the Farm” birthday party and incorporating their favorite barnyard animals. Don’t forget about the tractors, hay bales, and the original budget-friendly birthday game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey!

farm summer kids birthday party
Source: Meri Meri

Western Birthday Party

Speaking of hay bales, they work pretty perfectly for a Western-themed kids birthday party as well. Whether your family has been on the Western train since the days of Dolly or Jolene is a Beyoncé song in your household, going Western is a fun summer birthday party theme. Hay bales, cowboy boots, and fringe will make this an extra Wild West experience. Pony rides optional!

Summer Birthday Party Activities

Go “Fishing” in a Kiddie Pool with Bath Toys and Nets

For a summer birthday party activity perfect for toddlers, fill up a kiddie pool with water and bath toys like rubber duckies or fish (also available in bulk from Amazon). Little ones can go “fishing” with nets for a party favor to take home. 

Bubbles Galore

​​For little party guests, have a bubble machine going, buy bubble wands of all sizes (available on Amazon or Etsy), and let the kids go wild creating their own bubbles outside.

summer birthday party activities bubbles
Source: Shutterstock

Play ‘Keepy Uppy’ from Bluey

Channel everyone’s favorite pup Bluey, and blow up a few red balloons for kids to keep off the grass in a game of Keepy Uppy. (If your little one loves Bluey, check out even more Bluey kids’ birthday party game ideas here!)

Bounce Houses

Bounce houses became life savers for parents entertaining kids indoors during the pandemic, and their popularity hasn’t slowed down yet. Rent or invest in an outdoor bounce house for a memorable summer birthday party activity. Plus, if you are renting, many companies offer bounce houses that could match your party theme like pirates, princesses, and more. 

Sidewalk Chalk

For the creative kids, set out some chalk or chalk paint and let them use their imaginations to create a sidewalk or driveway masterpiece.

Parachute Games

Many of us have a gym class or recess parachute play as a core elementary school memory. Bring the fun out for the summer birthday party with classic parachute games like “popcorn” or “mushroom.”

summer birthday party activities
Source: Shutterstock

Face Paint Station

Face painting is always a hit with the kiddos. Hire a professional—or a talented teenager—for a memorable summer birthday party activity.

Water Balloon Toss

For a throwback game, fill up water balloons for a water balloon toss—or start a water balloon fight if you think your little guests are old enough to enjoy it. 

Freeze Tag

Most playground games can become a simple outdoor birthday activity. Set up a game of freeze tag, hide-and-seek, or capture the flag.

Piñatas

Kids love a piñata moment at a birthday party, and having it outdoors at a summer birthday party makes it even better. Hang it from a nearby tree, basketball hoop, or other sturdy spot. Pro tip: Have some candy set aside for the shier kids who might not want to run into the mob once the piñata breaks.

Outdoor Spa

Little party guests can soak their feet for a spa pedicure, try cool cucumbers on their eyes, enjoy a kid-friendly face mask, or get a hair makeover with hair chalk or clip-on extensions.

DIY Waterpark

Have party guests pack a swimsuit and towel, then set up the sprinklers, Slip ‘N’ Slides, and other outdoor water toys for kids to enjoy. 

24 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Your Kid’s Next Birthday Party
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