Finding a birthday party idea for 11-year-olds may seem to be a daunting task, but with a little planning, you make the party fun. Theme parties are the way to hold the interest of this traditionally critical age group. From outdoor luaus to mall scavenger hunts and karaoke parties, you can choose a theme that the guests will enjoy.
A luau party is always fun, especially if the party can be held outdoors. Stick to the theme starting with the invitation, which should feature palm trees, the beach or possibly hula dancers. Request a Hawaiian dress code (flower shirts, popular with both sexes). Once the guests arrive, hand out flower leis (traditional Hawaiian necklaces). For a luau, decorations are the key. Palm trees, either hand drawn or the inflatable or silk kind give a tropical appearance, along with colourful tablecloths and plates, flower centrepieces and parrots. Tiki poles, tribal masks and raffia table skirts complete the theme. Make sure you have some hula music on hand, and someone to instruct guests in the hula (or an instructional DVD). For an activity, try a limbo contest. The meal can be served on skewers for either the main course or fruit for dessert.
This classic party idea can be updated to include a trip to the tween's favourite place -- the mall. Be sure to set the ground rules about behaviour (no running, yelling, or pushing), supply groups with a list, and off they go. You can assign points for each item (more points for more difficult items), and set a time limit and place to meet. If someone in each group is willing to bring a camera, you can include items like a picture of a mannequin wearing a purple belt, someone wheeling twins in a stroller, or a person drinking lemonade. Guests might have to retrieve items such a straw and napkin from the food court, or a mall directory. They may have to complete tasks such as trying on a hat or finding a sales associate named Jim. Take the interests of the guests into consideration. If someone is a guitar player, have the group go to a guitar store and retrieve information, such as the price of the latest guitar.
So You Think You Can Sing or Dance
Everyone loves karaoke, and if you can find a karaoke machine, some songsheets and CDs, you are all set. If your tweens are a little shy, have them come up in groups. For fun, you may supply matching jackets for them to wear when they perform, and microphones, real or pretend. Sometimes, the worse you are at karaoke, the more fun it is. Videotaping the festivities and playing them back can get a laugh. Make sure you do your homework, and provide music from their favourite performers. You may want to include some video instruction on the latest dance craze and have the guests participate.