Throwing a birthday party for a teenager is NOT easy! Teens have very specific ideas of what they want, but what they want may not always be possible due to time, budget, or location constraints. Coming up with entertainment ideas for teens that they'll actually enjoy is one of the greatest challenges parents face when planning teen birthday parties.
So what are you going to do? It may take a bit more time and effort to plan a great birthday party for teens, but it can be done! Below, we've compiled a list of some of the best entertainment ideas for teens to include in their birthday party. You may just find that there's an idea or two that appeals to your teenager.
Teenaged boys are often active, playing sports, skateboarding, and doing things that get them outdoors and moving. If you want to make your teenager's party fun, it may be a good idea to do something that involves activity and movement.
Paintball is one of the best entertainment ideas for teens. What could be more fun than shooting at each other and letting them practice their real life "battle skills"? You'll find that a few hours of paintball is more than enough to give your teenaged son the best birthday of his life!
Or, if you're opposed to violence, try laser tag, mini golf, extreme Frisbee, or any other outdoor activity. The more they move during the activity, the easier it will be to keep them happy with food and drink once the activity is over.
Cost: Cost of laser tag, paintball, mini-golf, etc. varies, but expect to spend no less than $50 per guest.
Planning: This will take some time and effort to find local venues for these activities. Dedicate at least an hour to research.
What could be more awesome than sending your teenager on a scavenger hunt that lasts for hours? It can be a challenge, but it's often one your teenagers will be up for tackling!
The purpose of the Scavenger Hunt is for them to find all the items on their list in as little time as possible. Make a list with 15 to 20 items. Some of them should be easy to find (blue shirt, ripped pants, broken tool, etc.), but some of them should be difficult (beach chair, empty can of asparagus, etc.). You can give them a bit of money to work with, but the goal is to find the items WITHOUT buying them.
Give them a few hours to complete the Scavenger Hunt and someone to chauffeur each team around. Set a deadline, and if they can't complete the Hunt in time, award the prize to whichever team got the most items on the list.
Alternate Option: If you don't want to spend money, have them photograph the items they find. For this to work, you have to make the items a bit more challenging (i.e., red beard, pink sandals, hipster hat, etc.).
It's one heck of a fun way to keep them occupied for a while, giving you time to set up the food, drinks, cake, and presents.
Cost: Give each team $30 to $50, plus whatever you will spend on gas.
Planning: Dedicate at least 30 minutes to writing up a list. Do some research on items that are a bit harder to find in order to make the hunt difficult.
If you're throwing a birthday party for an older teenager, why not let them pamper themselves at a nearby spa or wellness center? It's a great way for them to relax with their friends--a "must", given all the stress of school and homework!
Visit your local spa and see what packaged deals they can provide. You'll be bringing at least 4 or 5 people, so they will usually be able to offer a good deal on facials, massages, mud treatments, relaxing baths, etc.
Cost: Prepare to spend at least $50 to $75 per person – more, if you want to go all out!
Planning: You'll need to visit local spas and talk to the manager about the possibility of packaged deals. Set aside a few weekend days to make the trip.
If your teenager is interested in cooking, this can be one of the best entertainment ideas for teens on their birthday! You can give them a chance to learn to cook from a professional chef, and it can encourage them along their culinary journey.
You should have no problem finding cooking classes in your city. Visit the class and talk to the chef about a private lesson for just your birthday teenager and his/her friends. They may be willing to charge less for the private lesson.
On the day of the party, bring your teens to the cooking class. Stay and learn with them, or take advantage of the time they are occupied to set up the rest of the party.
Cost: $75 to 100 per person.
Planning: Find popular cooking classes in your area, and spend a day calling/visiting and talking with the chef.
What could be more fun than a chance to hit the open road with no destination in mind? Road trips are a classic teenager activity, and it can be a great way to give your teenager the freedom they want.
Send your birthday boy/girl with two of their friends on a road trip, and have an older sibling or relative (one you can trust) be their driver. Let them choose the direction they want to go on the map, and give them enough money to last the weekend. Don't forget to pack sleeping bags and tents just in case!
Cost: $150 per person, minimum.
Planning: Talk to the driver and make sure they know they are responsible for keeping your teenager/s out of trouble.
To really give your teenager a birthday present they'll love, consider sending them out of town on a holiday with one or two friends. Perhaps you have a relative who lives near a beach town, or you know someone who can put them up in another city. It's a great way to give the teens a bit of freedom, something they will appreciate immensely.
This will be a slightly pricey birthday present, but one they're guaranteed to love!
Cost: $300 to $500 per person for plane tickets, plus spending money.
Planning: Write to your relatives/close friends to see if any of them can put up the teenagers over the birthday vacation weekend.
For teenagers who are more low-key, this is the perfect option for the birthday party!
Instead of throwing a huge birthday fiesta, you may want to consider this one of the best entertainment ideas for teens who want to just hang with friends. Invite the birthday boy/girl and his/her friends out to the dinner of their choice. You and your spouse can sit at another table, letting your teenager spend time celebrating their birthday among friends.
Cost: Expect to spend at least $40 to $60 per guest.
Planning: Once your birthday boy/girl decides on the restaurant of their choice, make a reservation for the night of their birthday.
Your teenager may not love the games they once did when they were a child, so no Hopscotch, Red Light Green Light, or Blind Man's Bluff. A day spent playing video games can be just what your gamer teenager wants.
Let him/her invite a few of their friends over, and keep the gaming party stocked with plenty of cold drinks, snacks, appetizers, finger foods, and, of course, pizza. It will be a very low-key event, and it may not even involve a big cake and singing "Happy Birthday". But if that's what your teenager wants to do to celebrate their birthday with friends, it's a good option to consider.
Cost: This is one of the cheaper birthday party ideas on this list--up to $100 or so in food and snacks. Consider spending a bit more to buy them an awesome new game they've been wanting.
Planning: Turn your living room into a gaming paradise, complete with comfy couches and chairs, a table filled with food and drinks, and all the video games they want to play.
No doubt your teenager has a few shows they love to binge watch, or they're fans of the Marvel movies, Lord of the Rings films, Harry Potter, or another movie series. What could be better than a movie marathon?
You may not need to be there for the movie marathon, but let them bring their friends over to join them. You can even prepare snacks and food based on the movie--think Butterbeer from Harry Potter, a hobbit-sized feast from Lord of the Rings, or some other thematically accurate food/drink. It can be a fun way to let your teen relax on their big day, surrounded by friends and doing something they love.
Cost: Spend $100 or so on food, drinks, and snacks.
Planning: Make sure you have all the movies/TV shows on DVD, or make sure Netflix has them available to stream. The last thing you want is to find out one of the movies or TV show seasons are unavailable!
If you can find an all-ages comedy club in your city, it can be a great place to spend your teen's birthday night. You'll have a chance to laugh, grab a nice dinner together, and relax in the company of your fast-growing child.
The beauty of comedy clubs is that they're filled with comedians that make you laugh! Laughter is one of the best ways to kick back and relax, but it also helps to encourage a closer bond between two people. If you want to improve your relationship with your teenager, laughing together is one of the best ways to do so.
Cost: Entry into comedy clubs will run you $20 to $50, with another $40 to $50 per person for a nice dinner.
Planning: Not all cities have all-ages comedy clubs, so make sure to invest time and research into finding one. Make sure to reserve seats well before the date of the event.
Be prepared to embarrass yourself and have a whole lot of fun!
Karaoke is a great way to kick back with your teenager and his/her friends. Book a few hours at your local karaoke club, and spend the night of your child's birthday belting out your favorite tunes. Keep the snacks, food, and drinks coming, and it can be one heck of a fun night.
Make sure to talk to your teen before planning the party. They may prefer to only have the karaoke night with their friends – no "old people" allowed. If this is the case, talk to the manager and servers to ensure that they understand that your teenagers are all under-aged, so they can't sneak drinks (a very teenager-like thing to do).
Cost: Prepare to spend $50 or so per hour, plus roughly $30 per guest for snacks and drinks.
Planning: Do research to find a karaoke club in your city that allows minors.
All of these entertainment ideas for teens are worth considering, regardless of your teen's age, gender, or activity preference. You may find that they will enjoy a lot of these options, and it will be a great way for you to celebrate their birthday in style. I know I would LOVE a day spent playing paintball or learning how to cook!
Which of these ideas do you think your teens would enjoy? Got any more to add to our list? We'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment below and share your brilliant entertainment ideas for teens…