At 11, boys still enjoy birthday parties with creative themes and loosely organised games and activities. As preteens, they will prefer slightly more sophisticated and understated themes than younger children. Time can be somewhat unstructured, but guests will appreciate at least a few unusual activities and entertainments. By tailoring all aspects of the party to the specific interests of the birthday boy and his friends, you can ensure a relevant, enjoyable and memorable event.
Eleven is an excellent age for a themed party; guests are old enough to appreciate subtle, clever details and they don't feel too sophisticated for a few organised games. Pre-teen boys often enjoy themes inspired by spies and detectives, Hollywood and film, rock and roll or pop music, and popular book series and television shows. For a spy theme, send out coded, "top secret" invitations, asking that guests report to secret agent training. Round the party out with a treasure hunt and with games based on maintaining a poker face, detecting lies and solving mysteries. Goody bags can include disguises, mini tape recorders and invisible ink. For pop culture themes, find posters of movies, book series, TV shows or musicians. During the party, use them for decoration and at the end, let guests take them home. Make use of karaoke and interactive music-themed video games, renting equipment if necessary. (See reference 1.)
Match foods and refreshments to the party theme. At a Hollywood-inspired party, serve plenty of popcorn and cinema candies. A sheet cake can easily be transformed into a simple film clapboard or a movie projector. Artistic bakers might frost a cake to resemble the case of a favourite dvd, or in the style of a classic movie poster. If your party channels James Bond, serve soda in plastic martini glasses with green maraschino cherries. For musically-themed parties, a sheet cake easily becomes an iPod or can be cut down into the shape of a microphone. Use liquorice rope to form the microphone's woven texture. (See reference 2.)
Whether or not you pick a theme for the party, incorporate one of the birthday boy's favourite activities and give it an extra dimension. For an outdoorsy crowd, throw a slumber party, with the kids camping in a tent in the back yard. Transform a basic movie night into a memorable party by renting an old-fashioned carnival style popcorn-maker or a dvd projector. For culinary-minded 11-year-olds, supervise a creative cooking project. (See reference 3.) If budget allows, take the party to an unusual location, such as an exotic restaurant. Plan a "field trip" style party by talking with a local business related to an area of interest. A family-run pizzeria may rent you a dining room and teach children to toss pies, or a martial arts school might give a private demonstration.