While it can be bittersweet to watch your child grow up and get further from the too-cute-to-handle baby years, there are plenty of perks to them getting older. Watching them develop into their own people with unique interests and talents is the privilege of parenthood, which is why it’s fun to throw a party that celebrates who they are.
Whether you’re going big or keeping it small, you’ll want to choose a location, theme, and menu. Bear in mind that spending hours on adorable Pinterest decorations and snacks is likely not worth the stress (unless that’s your thing) and that all the birthday boy or girl will care about is the company and the cake. And okay, maybe the presents!
Party ideas for 8-year olds
Here are our 16 favorite party ideas to make your 8-year old’s birthday a blast.
1. Mermaid pool party
Make your little girl’s dreams come true with a mermaid pool party. Decorate with purple and teal, mermaid scales and tails, and mermaid-inspired snacks and desserts. For some extra fun in the sun, you can buy mermaid pool floats, mermaid tails, and play Marco Polo. Check out this gorgeous mermaid pool party for decor and food ideas.
Letting your 8-year-old choose a friend or cousin to bring along to make their very own stuffed animal from scratch is an exciting and memorable way to celebrate. Build-A-Bear Workshop has all kinds of stuffed animals, including characters from shows and movies, as well as every accessory in the world. You can also check to see if your local Build-A-Bear is currently open for parties, or order an at-home party box that comes with all the supplies you need.
3. Salon party
Similar to a nails or makeover party, invite a group of girls over for a day at the salon. Set up a hair station in front of a mirror with everything you’ll need. Ideas include hair chalk, colored hair extensions, clips, headbands, ribbons, and feathers. Have your friend or sister come over to help style, or let the girls do each other’s hair. You can also purchase kits for DIY scrunchies or headbands for a fun activity. Decorate with flowers, colorful balloons, and have cupcakes and snacks.
4. Scrapbooking party
If you’ve got a crafter on your hands, consider throwing them a scrapbook party with their closest friends. Beforehand, print out pictures from past events and playdates with the party guests. Purchase a basic scrapbook for each child, and provide stickers and scrapbooking supplies for them to create their own memory book. If you have a Polaroid camera or photo printer, you can add pictures from the scrapbook party.
5. Girls day out
This is a fun way to make your daughter feel extra special and mature on her birthday. Take her out for a mother/daughter day or invite along a couple of her favorite people, whether that’s a friend, cousin, grandmother, or aunt. Depending on your budget, options include getting lunch, mani/pedis, or a shopping trip. If you’re lucky, Grandma might fund this one!
6. Slumber party
While most parents dread these two words, nothing gets a group of girls squealing like the promise of a slumber party. Put a twist on it by having a dance party with costumes so they can dance the night away. Keep the menu simple and kid-friendly, and end the night with a movie and popcorn. You’ll be the best mom ever!
7. LEGO party
Kids (and adults) of all ages love building with LEGO sets, and it’s the perfect party theme to keep things bright, colorful, and fun. Because LEGO is so popular, finding party supplies and printable invitations is easy and inexpensive. You can make colorful cupcakes with edible LEGO candies, and of course, set up LEGO building stations for your party guests. Here’s some party inspiration to get you started.
8. Nerf Gun battle
Throwing a Nerf gun birthday party at a local park or in your backyard is ideal for a group of energetic kids or a big family party. You can split the group into two, hand out different-colored shirts and Nerf guns, lay out the rules, and have them battle it out. Set up obstacles to make it more difficult or have a target practice station.
9. Amusement park
If you don’t want to throw a party this year, an amusement park is a perfect way to celebrate the big day. You can go as a family or invite your child’s best friend for a fun day riding roller coasters, playing games, and checking out the water park (depending on the time of year). Finish off the day with cake and presents when you get back home.
10. Tie-dye party
Speaking from experience, this one is really fun, inexpensive, and can get a little messy if you’re not on top of things. I recommend keeping younger siblings out of the way and wearing old clothes and gloves. Look up some tie-dyeing techniques online before you get started, and keep it manageable by having 2-3 kids tie-dye at once. You can send the tie-dyed treasures home wrapped in a plastic bag, or wash them first thing in the morning if it’s a sleepover. Tip: tie-dye cakes are both easy and very impressive.
If you have a crafty kid but cringe at the sight of glitter and glue, Michaels craft store has you covered. It’s as simple as booking the party and choosing the craft your child and their friends would like best. A staff member helps the kids create the craft, and you can bring food and drinks.
12. Star Wars
If you’ve got a Star Wars fan on your hands, there are so many ideas out there to make this theme come to life. Of course, you’ll need costumes and lightsabers to start. Star Wars party supplies are easy to find, and black and white balloons, Princess Leia cupcakes, and a Jedi training course will make it a party to remember.
13. Arcade party
Booking a party at an arcade means free unlimited play on all the arcade games for the duration of the party (well, not free to you). Basically an 8-year-old boy’s dream come true. Some arcade centers will have other activities like mini-golf or laser tag, so consider what is included in the party package and what you’re willing to pay for. There are also mobile arcade parties if you want the games to come to you.
14. Movie party
The movie is the theme so let it inspire your decorations and menu, and anybody that wants to can wear a costume. Movie ideas include Trolls, Zombies, Willy Wonka, Star Wars, The Sandlot, and The Parent Trap. Screen the movie first and run it by the other parents. Play movie-inspired games afterward for some extra fun, or make it an outdoor movie night with a food truck for an extra special twist.
15. Ninja party
If you want to plan an action-packed birthday party with plenty of games and activities to keep the kids busy, a ninja theme might be your best bet. We love these super creative ninja games that are also inexpensive and easy to execute. You can hand out ninja headbands and different colored belts depending on which level the guests have mastered, and go all out with the ninja party decorations.
16. Pirate party
Your 8-year-old will probably outgrow their pirate obsession soon, so now is the time to throw that pirate party. You can have guests walk the plank to enter the party, and decorate with pirate flags and a treasure chest filled with gold coins. Provide your guests with bandanas, eyepatches, pirate hats, hooks, and swords to wear as they set out on a treasure hunt. You and the birthday boy or girl can have a lot of fun creating a treasure map beforehand.