1. Obstacle course
If you've got a rambunctious group of tots heading over for this year's birthday celebration, consider making a fun obstacle course, like this one featured on Under the Sycamore.
Much like the "Wipeout" course, this cool DIY activity offers up a variety of dirty, messy challenges, including a romp through tires, oversized cardboard boxes to crawl through, a string maze, and a finale of digging through a pool of mud for plastic insects to take home as party favors. Mom Ashley says that both of her boys agreed that this was by far the best party ever. Check out the rest of Ashley's full post to see their creative course ideas.
2. Human ring toss
Melissa from Kid-Friendly Things to Do came up with this genius idea to entertain her kids in the summer. For this easy game, all you need are some inflatable pool rings and some willing kids! Divide the kids up into teams, and let the ring tossing begin. Melissa suggests you put a marker with some tape on the ground to stop the cheaters. This game is sure to get all the kids playing together.
3. Twister on the grass
Jenna from Momma Told Me offers an old-school idea that's perfect for kids today. Twister is a classic, and it's even better when you play it on the grass instead of on that slippery mat. The beauty of doing it outside it that you can customize the game for big crowds, so nobody will feel left out.
Jenna offers some great tips for how to make the board and what chalk to use. You could continue that 80s nostalgic theme with some mini Rubik's Cubes in the goody bags.
4. Summer science exploration
If you're hoping to include an "edutaining" activity for your child's birthday celebration, be sure to consider this fun idea from Mama Scout for making a "fizz and color" exploration lab.
Perfect for a summer science-themed party, this open-ended activity is easy to set up for your littles, and it is sure to provide plenty of opportunity for different variables and scientific exploration. Mom Amy begins by adding baking soda to muffin tins for each child, and then sets out vinegar, along with a variety of items for experimenting, including droppers, syringes, straws, food coloring, glitter, colorful sand, plants, plastic animals and more. For the young scientists out there who haven't yet experienced the fizzing fun that comes from combining baking soda and vinegar, this art/science table activity is sure to pack plenty of surprise!
5. Water play piñata
In need of a serious cooldown this summer? Ziggity Zoom offers up this fun idea for making a quick and easy DIY water balloon piñata for kids — and we have a feeling that this is one activity that's sure to be an absolute splash at this year's party!
To get started on your own water play piñata, simply gather up a package of balloons, string, a small plastic funnel, a garden hose for filling up the balloons, and a plastic bat or cardboard mailing tube for whacking. Be sure to check out Ziggity Zoom for the rest of the details on creating your own — this easy and fun idea may just end up being an annual favorite!
6. Giant bubbles
Tip Junkie offers up this fabulous idea for making a "human bubble" for kids — a perfect party addition for the kiddos out there who love all things bubbles!
To make your own "human bubble" game, simply create a homemade bubble solution (recipe included in the full post), and you'll want to have a hula hoop and kiddie pool on hand. Crafty Mama Brittany recommends making the bubble solution the night before for maximum gigantic bubble strength. For a full-on bubble bash, give the kids goody bags with bubble containers, bubble bath and bubble gum. Now that's a serious bubble bonanza sure to bring a smile to every guest's face!
7. Popping party favors
Clever Mama Brooke of Inchmark shows off yet another fun idea for creating a birthday balloon piñata activity for kids — but with this one, there's treats hiding in the balloons rather than water!
To get started on your own, you'll want to have a wet/dry shop vac and some PVC pipes on hand so that you can expand the balloon enough to add your candy (Brooke says that simply shoving in the candy only led to accidental holes in the balloons). Brooke includes a full walkthrough on creating your own balloon piñata board, and with a wee bit of handy help, you're sure to be all set for plenty of popping fun in no time!
8. DIY matching game
This simple idea from Studio DIY is a fun way to keep the kids busy. This giant matching game is easy for everyone to play, and so much fun when you play outside.
Kelly offers us a detailed tutorial on how to make the cards with cork tiles, spray paint, stencils, knife and tape. This game is well made and will last long past the party and right through the summer. We also think it would also make a great gift to bring to a BBQ or park party.
9. DIY slip-and-slide
Another great addition for your "summer water fun" file, this homemade slip-and-slide featured on Inner Child Fun is a great idea for throwing a neat summer birthday bash on a budget — with plenty of water fun for all!
To create their DIY water slide, Mom Valerie says that they used a long, heavy-duty contractor drop cloth, a couple of buckets of water and some U-shaped garden stakes to keep it all in place. It's no surprise that this quick and easy water slide was a huge splash with Valerie's daughter — and we're sure your gaggle of party guests would be delighted as well!
10. Fun photo ideas
Nothing beats taking silly photos on your birthday and that's exactly why we can't get enough of this neat idea for making little monster party photo props featured on Kara's Party Ideas!
Whether you're making a stylish birthday backdrop, a themed character face cut-out, silly masks for the kids to wear, or a DIY photo booth, this easy shutterbug activity is sure to create lifelong memories and plenty of laughs for party pals of all ages! And, if it's a little monster party that you're after, don't miss out on the rest of Kara's great ideas — from sweet treats to decorations, there's plenty of google-eyed good times to be had!
This story published in May 2012 and was updated in June 2019.