How to celebrate a kid's birthday in the garden

Birthday parties are an absolute highlight for children of all ages. They’re full of fun, games, dress ups, friends, exciting food, and best of all gifts! For parents, birthday parties can be full of all of those things certainly, but a party also comes with a certain amount of stress!

Many parents choose to outsource their party planning to a large extent by booking a trip to an indoor playground or other entertainment provider. But a garden party full of outdoor games and the simple things in life is often more than enough to satisfy your little ones’ expectations.

This article is jam-packed with birthday party ideas for children of different ages. After all, a three year old’s birthday party looks completely different to an 8th birthday party! You’ll also find a number of tips for keeping kids out of the sun, or if rain arrives to spoil the party, ideas for moving the party out of the rain and into a garden marquee or under the shade of a pop up gazebo.

Celebrating a 3 year old's birthday party in the garden

A three year old girl holds a large balloon

A birthday party for a 3 year old can be a lot of fun, not just for the children, but for parents too! Simple yet fun games and decorations can go a long way to satisfying a toddler on their big day. Their imagination and enthusiasm will do the rest!

At three years of age, most parents will want to stay to help supervise their kids at the party. On the one hand, you have plenty of helpers, but on the other you will need to offer the adults a drink and snack as well.

Toddlers can enjoy the most basic outdoor party games. Even an egg and spoon race can be a challenge at this age, so consider making it even easier. Simply a relay race around the garden holding a teddy bear can suffice! The kids won’t even care who crossed the finish line first! Playing Keepie-upsies with a balloon is an activity that can also keep the children occupied for a while.

A theme is another party idea that toddlers will love. Whether dinosaurs, a princess party, horses and unicorns, a theme that suits your boy or girl’s interests can provide ideas for how to decorate the cake, for games, as well as gift ideas for other parents. Of course a princess, pirate or T Rex themed party with cute costumes is also wonderful for photographing to remember the day forever.

You’ll find lots of decoration ideas online to suit your theme. We love this video because it suggests a range of ideas that look great but aren’t too complicated:

DIY birthday party ideas for 5 year olds

Parties for 5 year olds require a little more thought and planning before the day. The kids however are still easy to please. A simple race may need to be upgraded to an obstacle course with hula hoops, a blanket, and plenty of garden toys for jumping over, running around or driving to the next obstacle.

A party theme can also play a big role here, with a background story for the obstacle course that brings a bit of magic to the birthday party.

Similarly, a treasure hunt around the garden (with lots of hints!) will keep excitement high without the party descending into chaos.

Arts and crafts activities require some preparation but are wonderful for bringing the level of excitement down after a high-energy activity. Another advantage is that the craft project can take the place of take-home goody bags. For five year olds, cutting out and painting butterfly wings or a knight’s armour are a fun age-appropriate option.

Of course having indoor activities planned is also indispensable in case of rain. Rather than letting the party guests loose inside, a sturdy and waterproof marquee is great for wet-weather parties.

The haunted house or cave adventure to match the party theme is a piece of birthday magic

A marquee is decorated, ready for the birthday kids.

An idea for the party that will leave a lasting impression on all the children is an adventure with a dragons cave or royal castle. This could be a fitting finale to a scavenger hunt and can be combined with an endless number of other ideas. Children in this age group have plenty of imagination, so a balloon-archway, some crêpe streamers, and paper cut-outs will be more than enough to set the scene.

A dragons cave could be made from any mix of tables, cardboard boxes, and crawl tunnels that open up eventually into a storage tent or portable garage. You can decorate the crawl-way by covering it in blankets to add to the excitement. You will probably have plenty of fun yourself while designing the cave!

Check out this excellent video guide for making a balloon arch for your marquee palace.

An automatic pump for inflating the balloons is recommended!

See the marquees in our shop

Discover our wide range of marquees in sizes from 3m x 2m up to 8m x 36m in our shop.

How eight to ten year olds like to party on their birthday

For eight to ten year olds, the party ideas can be a little more elaborate. For instance, a scavenger hunt might extend around the neighbourhood. Depending on the birthday child, theme parties may also be less interesting.

If noise isn’t a problem, a waterfight with squirting bottles, water balloons and buckets will go down well with kids this age. If you’d like to take things further, a large enough inflatable swimming pool can provide hours of fun at a kids’ birthday party. Of course, safety will be a big concern, especially for toddlers.

Swimming pools also pose a sun burn risk. You might find it difficult to ensure all children are sufficiently well covered with sun cream, and it could wash away as soon as the kids jump in the water. A shade over the pool will allow you to leave the children to it in the pool for an extra 20-30 minutes on hot sunny days.

 

A pop up gazebo providing shade over an inflatable pool

The slumber party and film night in a garden marquee

If you’re celebrating in summer you also have the option of hosting an outdoor slumber party. A marquee can be used in the afternoon for games, for a birthday dinner, and then host a memorable sleepover in the garden. The marquee is useful not just for sleeping, but can function as a DIY cinema once it gets dark. Simply project the movie onto the blank white gable wall and the kids will enjoy their coolest home cinema experience yet!

Some more party ideas for birthday kids of all ages

Party idea 1: The most important thing: the cake!

You won’t be able to pull off a kids parties without a cake. The good news is that you don’t need to produce a masterpiece. The key ingredients for any children’s birthday cake are:

1. Plenty of colour

2. Sweets, such as jelly babies, smarties, and wine gums

3. Some extra decorations to match the theme, such as figurines, dinosaur toys, mini umbrellas, or even paper cut-outs.

Other than those three things, you can relax! A store bought cake, augmented with the three elements above is absolutely fine. You can even replace the cake with cupcakes if that suits.

Children shouldn’t spend too much time out in the sun, but nor should they be let loose inside with sticky cake covered fingers and bounds of energy. A marquee or pop up gazebo for the garden is the ideal option for afternoon tea as it combines weather protection and the protection of your indoor furniture, carpets and walls.

Party idea 2: Gift unwrapping in two sessions

Unwrapping gifts is sure to be a highlight of the day. As well as the birthday boy or girl, their friends will love this part of the celebration. Be aware that the children will grow impatient (especially the younger ones) if they are sitting for too long. If there are more than 7-8 gifts to unwrap, think about having two gift unwrapping sessions, with a high energy game or activity in between.

Party idea 3: Age-old party games for the whole family

Old-fashioned birthday party games are still absolute winners! Pass-the-parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, and musical chairs are still great games.

For young children, a popular game in Germany is ‘hit the pot’ where a small surprise is hidden under a pot, and children take turns wearing a blindfold while tapping the ground in front of them with a wooden spoon. The other children shout directions to help their friend find the pot.

If you’re thinking about hosting an outdoor birthday party for your child and want to include some of the fantastic ideas mentioned in this article, and more importantly, want to ensure that you have a marquee as plan B in case of rain on the special day, check out our shop or get in touch with our sales team.

You can reach them either by email at service@houseoftents.co.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)118 31 50 873

Written by:

Brett

Hi I’m Brett, one of the writers here at House of Tents. I’m the expert on kids birthdays amongst our writers, having organised plenty in my own garden.

I enjoy bringing the creative ideas from my own experience into my work, such as age-appropriate party games, and craft activities.

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