If you ask me, 9-year-olds are in the perfect sweet spot. They’re old enough to be more mature and responsible, but still young enough to maintain their child-like innocence. Kids this age may be gaining a bit of independence, but they still love to have fun and are delighted by the simple stuff. Bonus: they’re not embarrassed by you yet! (Right?!)
This means that throwing a birthday party for your 9-year-old really doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as you’re taking their interests into account.
Discuss the guest list with them, and throw out some ideas for food, theme, and activities to see what gets them excited. A joint plan of party action plus a few awesome gifts is sure to be a successful way to celebrate your kiddo’s special day.
Party ideas for 9-year olds
1. Back to nature
Get the kids outside by hosting a backyard campout for your 9-year-old’s birthday. You can center the decorations and food around nature, including trail mix, a s’mores station, and yellow and red fire cupcakes. Set up a couple of tents and a fire pit in the backyard, and let the campfire stories commence. If you’d rather not host an all-night campout, go with a fishing theme, teepees and florals, or an outdoor adventure hunt.
2. Painting party
If you want to plan a painting birthday party, there are a lot of creative ideas and options. You can set up easels and canvases, have them paint mugs or ceramics, or book a pottery or painting party venue. Here are some ideas for hosting the perfect painting party at home. Set up a covered table inside or outside, hand out aprons, and decorate with bright primary colors. Dessert ideas include a drip cake, a rainbow layer cake, or cake pops with paintbrushes as the stick.
3. Ice cream social
Who doesn’t love ice cream? This could be a large backyard party with an ice cream station or if big parties aren’t your thing, a smaller sleepover with ice cream sundaes and a movie. You’ll want a couple of adults to be designated scoopers, and every topping imaginable, including syrups, gummy worms, crushed cookies, whipped cream, and candy. An ice cream social has plenty of decorating potential, from fun invitations to colorful balloon arches. Make sure to keep any food allergies in mind!
4. Nail art
Most 9-year-old girls enjoy having their nails painted, especially if you break out the glitter. Set up a nail painting station where each girl can have their turn. You’ll want a tablecloth or sheet that you’re not attached to, various shades of nail polish, a nail art kit, and a nail dryer. You can purchase nail kits that have glitter, rhinestones, gold foil, stickers, and fake nails. This can be a party that ends with snacks and cake or an all-girl sleepover.
5. Unicorn spa party
Throw a unicorn-themed spa night with comfy robes, facials, manicures, and hair-dos. Unicorn decorations are cute and easy to find, and 9-year-olds are typically still enthralled with the mythical creature. Get inspired by this adorable at-home unicorn spa party. If you want to bypass the hosting and cleaning, you can even rent a hotel room for your daughter and a few friends.
6. LOL Surprise party
If you have a 9-year-old who is obsessed with LOL Surprise dolls, you’re certainly not alone. While the dolls might be on the expensive side, the party certainly doesn’t have to be. Check out these ideas for throwing a LOL Surprise party on a budget. Decorate with bold and bright colors like hot pink and teal, and use your child’s dolls as part of the decor. LOL Surprise-inspired cake pops or a tiered cake will complete the look.
7. Water party
For a summer birthday, there’s nothing better than playing in the water. However, not everyone has a pool or wants to rent one. With younger kids, you can easily create water fun without a pool as long as you’re willing to get a little creative. Fill up water balloons and guns for the ultimate water fight, set up a slip-and-slide (go for plastic sheets and dish soap if you’re brave), or rent an inflatable water slide or water obstacle course.
8. Taco and nachos bar
If you’re struggling to find a theme that your 9-year-old is excited about, try centering the party around food. Setting up a taco and nachos bar with all the fixings is simple, inexpensive, and will help inspire decorations and activities. Get the crockpots going for ground beef or chicken, and provide plenty of tortillas, chips, and toppings like lettuce, guacamole, olives, cheese, and salsa. Keep in mind that young kids will likely prefer less-spicy options.
9. Spy party
If you’re hosting a spy party for your 9-year-old, you can decorate with black, grey, and silver, and use yellow caution tape instead of streamers. Guests can wear trench coats, fake mustaches, and sunglasses, and party favors can be spy kits. Create spy missions for your party guests, like the ones at this awesome 9th birthday party. Party favors can be fedoras, magnifying glasses, binoculars, or disposable cameras to document evidence.
10. Sports party
If you’ve got a sports fan on your hands, a sports-themed party is an easy way to make their day. If it’s winter, consider booking an indoor soccer center or local YMCA basketball court. If the weather will likely be nice, you can rent out a pavilion at a park or host it in your backyard. Make sure you have whatever sports equipment they’ll be using or have them bring their own along, whether it’s lacrosse sticks, baseball gloves, soccer balls, or basketballs.
11. Glow-in-the-dark laser tag
Hand a group of high-energy kids laser tag guns, and they’re sure to be running, competing, and having fun in record time. You can host this party at home and provide the laser tag guns, go to a laser tag center, or hire a mobile laser tag company to bring the supplies to you. Decorate with black tablecloths, neon flagging tape, glow sticks, and glow-in-the-dark frisbees.
12. Roller skating party
A roller skating party takes the pressure off of you and is an active, fun way to spend a birthday any time of the year, in any weather. Book a private party or bring a small group of kids for open skating. Not only is this an inexpensive party venue, but you can also add pizzas and drinks to your party package to keep things simple. Just don’t expect to be tearing up the roller rink like you used to.
13. Harry Potter party
If your 9-year-old is delving into the world of fantasy fiction or movies, chances are, they’re Harry Potter fans. Create their own fantasy world with Harry Potter decorations, costumes, and wizard games. Get started with invitations that look like tickets to Hogwarts Express, and sort your party guests into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The creative possibilities are endless, and super fun if you’re a fan yourself.
14. Jurassic World
While a dinosaur theme may be best suited for younger kids, a Jurassic World theme will surely hit the mark if you have a dinosaur-lover on your hands. Jurassic Park party decorations and wall decals are easy to find and inexpensive, and you can even decorate your backyard to mimic the park if you’re feeling ambitious. Hire a local reptile man to really impress (and maybe scare) your party guests.
15. Science center
If you want to do something a little different than a traditional birthday party this year, consider checking out a local science center. At this age, kids can fully appreciate the information, programs, and activities involved in a day trip like this. Science centers typically have planetariums, exhibits, IMAX theaters, and hands-on workshops. Some also have free in-state admission for students.