While most teenagers will act like they don’t care about their birthday, when it comes down to it, they do like it to be acknowledged and even celebrated.
They probably won’t give you a straight answer at first but chances are, if you start throwing out some ideas, their interest will be piqued. Especially if it involves their friends, and you spending money.
Every kid is different, and your 14-year-old might prefer their favorite home-cooked meal and cake instead of a night out with friends. You may have to ask a few times or wait until the right mood strikes, but collaborate with your teenager to make sure their birthday celebration is what they had in mind.
Here are our favorite ideas in and out of the house that might just earn you a smile and a hug.
1. Indoor skydiving
Adrenaline junkie on your hands? iFLY Indoor Skydiving has a ton of locations and hosts birthday parties and events. You can also choose to go as a family or just invite a friend or two. First-time fliers are required to take a training class before skydiving in the tunnel, and the training class is included in the birthday party package. Keep in mind that this is not exactly a cheap option, but the rush will surely be memorable!
2. Camp out with friends
Give them the illusion of independence with a backyard camp out with their closest friends. You can put up a big tent, make s’mores by the campfire, and grill burgers and hot dogs for an easy dinner. Set up some outdoor games like badminton, volleyball, cornhole, or water gun fights. You’ll get them outside for a fun and inexpensive night with their friends, which makes it a win-win.
3. A weekend trip
A little more common for teenage girls, this is a nice way to make them feel mature enough to move away from a themed birthday party. You can rent a hotel room or condo by the beach or in the city and let them invite a best friend or two. Do your research ahead of time so you can plan out the cost of any outings or restaurants, especially if they’re bringing friends along. Make it a road trip for some extra fun.
4. TikTok party
Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, you may as well join ‘em. At least you can supervise! You can go all out with bold and glittery TikTok decorations, or simply give them all night to dance their hearts out. It’s what they’ll end up doing anyway, right? Also, if you’re not comfortable with an in-person party, this is a perfect theme for a virtual birthday party.
5. Glow-in-the-dark party
Perfect for a party in the basement or outside, buy a bunch of glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark party supplies, and even a black light. Use neon icing, play some music, and let the fun begin! Sometimes teenagers just want an excuse to act like kids again, and this is the perfect way to let them think they’re wearing their glow sticks ironically while they’re really having the time of their lives. Here are some fun ideas for party decorations and entertainment.
6. 80s or 90s theme party
The 90s are back, right? Hit up Goodwill for the perfect outfits and blare some Spice Girls or Madonna. It’s easy to get inspired with clothes, food, and decorations for decades parties, and it will bring out the fun side of your teen and their friends. Girls tend to have a little more fun with this type of party, but feel free to make it co-ed, too.
7. Paintball party
A step up from laser tag, paintball will get your teenager running, competing, and battling with their friends. Bonus: it gets everybody out of your house! Check with your local paintball park for prices and packages. Most will have private parties that are more expensive and public parties that cost less, where your teen and their friends can just join in with whoever else is paintballing. If you have paintball guns and enough space, you can host a backyard paintball party.
8. Escape room
I can’t say that I see the appeal here, but apparently, you can pay to get locked in a room. Your team has one hour to escape a themed room by finding clues, solving puzzles, and cracking hidden codes. Escape rooms host parties or you can reserve the room for a group, and it’s sure to inspire creativity, teamwork, and everybody’s competitive side. There are also virtual escape room experiences, where a group of people on Zoom can direct a guide who is streaming live from a real escape room.
9. Fear factor
Channel your inner Joe Rogan and create some scary and disgusting challenges for you teenager and their friends. This idea works best for an all-boy or co-ed party and definitely requires some parental involvement and willing teenagers. They will get messy and so will your house, so you may want to play some of the games outside if you can. Here are some Fear Factor games that will have your party guests puking, laughing, and crying.
10. Murder mystery party
Throwing a murder mystery party will require some effort on your part, so if you were a Pinterest mom before there was Pinterest, now is your time to shine. There are plenty of murder mystery downloads available online (both free and to purchase) that include scripts, name tags, character profiles, and prop ideas to bring to life. You may need to censor a bit to keep it age-appropriate, but this can be easily adapted for a memorable night for your teen and their friends. You can make it as extra as you want, from costumes to decor to menu.
11. Pool party
It’s pretty hard to beat the allure of a pool in the summer, and this is a great option for a boy, girl, co-ed, or family party. Keep it simple by ordering pizza and a cake, and set out water balloons and water guns if you want to get everybody involved in some childish fun. If you don’t have a pool, check with your local community pool to see if they rent it out for parties. You can even book an indoor pool in the winter.
12. Spa day
A great way to strengthen your mother-daughter bond and let your girl feel grown-up, take her and her best friend out for a spa day or mani/pedis. You’ll want to call ahead for any current restrictions and to price out the day, but this is a relaxing way to celebrate your teenager that you get to enjoy, too. You’re the one raising her, after all.
13. Take a group lesson
Your teenager has their own unique talents and interests, and you can encourage them by signing them up for a lesson or class. I would absolutely run this by them first, but ideas include a pottery class, cooking class, horseback riding lessons, or a group painting lesson or floral design class.
14. Color war
There are a few ways to make an all-out color war happen. You can get color powder, throwable paintballs (called Goblies), fill old dish soap bottles, water guns, or water balloons with paint, or even cover tarps in paint for a slip and slide. Have your guests wear old clothes, pick teams, and go to town. This will be a giant, fun mess and is best on private property.