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12 Great 13th Birthday Party Ideas

Thirteen is a super-fun age to celebrate! Those early teenage years take you on a dizzying ride that shifts at the drop of a hat: experiencing childlike glee and enthusiasm one minute, brooding about the unfairness that is middle school the next. Personalities take shape, and you get a glimpse of the adults they’re going to be. The party for this important age should be monumental, so consider booking a Peerspace! Bowling alleys and sprawling lawns, warehouses and creative arts spaces are at your fingertips to host your unique event. Following are a dozen 13th birthday party ideas for the newly minted teen in your life.

1. Cooking class

At this age, they have strong opinions about food that are often limited to whether they are going to eat what you’ve prepared or not. Give them a chance to learn some life skills and expand their horizons! Cooking classrooms are popping up all over the country; kids receive instruction and ingredients, and get to bring their creations home. If the venue doesn’t provide aprons, make sure you do bring one. Either order them in bulk from a restaurant supply store or create simple DIY options.

2. Old-school bowling

Bowling is a sport that even the least athletic, uncoordinated person can do, so it’s perfect for teens that are just growing into their bodies. This is one of those 13th birthday party ideas that is loud, competitive, and a good source of laughs — not unlike 13-year-olds! Grab a Polaroid camera to capture moments on actual film — it will blow their minds. Add pizza, root beer floats, and cupcakes for a truly memorable party.

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3. Olympics

There are always those middle school kids who simply never stop moving. Arrange for an age-appropriate Olympic-style 13th birthday party! Have kids create their own flags when they arrive, then offer a range of activities for different skill levels: hoop shoot, dress-up relay, hula hoop, tug-o-war, and shot put with water balloons! Of course, since it’s a party, everybody wins: give out medals and cones of cotton candy, reminiscent of the Olympic torch. Play hype-up music and serve cake decorated with — you guessed it — Olympic rings.

4. High tea

Every kid defines “fun” differently. For calmer 13-year-olds, invite party guests to arrive in high style! Upon entry, greet them with a variety of hats — straw, felt, even top hats — and piles of decorations with which to adorn them: ribbons and feathers, beads and sequins. Start a game of croquet and offer dance lessons as activities. Serve tea in mismatched china (from a thrift store is fine), kid-friendly tea sandwiches, and tiny cupcakes on tiered trays. Send guests home with tiny wrapped boxes of truffles and petits fours, as well as their very own teacup and saucer as a perfectly lovely party favor.

5. Backyard campout

Pop a tent and ask kiddos to bring their own sleeping mats and bedding. As an icebreaker activity, hand out white pillowcases and puffy pens or fabric markers for each kid to create a custom design. For dinner, build a bonfire to cook mountain pie pizzas and s’mores, then when the flames die down, huddle and tell ghost stories. Be ready at the crack of dawn to cook a lumberjack-worthy breakfast!

6. Slip and slide

Backyard water games may as well have been designed with 13-year-olds in mind. Can you think of better summertime 13th birthday party ideas? Turn on the hose and cut them loose! Water games make hungry kids, so have lots of ready-to-grab snacks, drinks, and sweets while burgers and dogs are on the grill. No need for guests to bring a towel: that’s your party favor.

7. Karaoke dance party

There’s no better way to see the diversity of your kids’ musical interests than to throw a karaoke-themed 13th birthday party. Make it easy on yourself and enlist the help of a DJ — for a nominal fee, they’ll provide everything you need — mics and a screen for lyrics and rock star lighting. Some kiddos will lean towards show tunes, others towards pop hits you’ve never heard of. They’ll make up for lack of skill with enthusiasm and choreography. This is one of the top 13th birthday party ideas for kids who love music and/or singing.

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8. Rainbow party

There’s no wrong way to decorate for a rainbow-themed party! Greet guests with a contemporary rainbow balloon arch, adorn chairs with ribbon streamers in a rainbow of color, and string rainbow garland and sunshine cutouts overhead. Provide tie-dye materials — including the T-shirts, wrapped to ensure a successful design — and send the kids outside to make a beautiful mess.

9. Silent disco

There’s little about young teens that is silent, but give one of the most creative 13th birthday party ideas a shot. You have the option to hire in a silent disco DJ, but it’s just as simple to give each kid inexpensive earbuds to hook up to their own phones. Clear a large space, add club-worthy lighting, and let them cut loose.

10. Magic workshop

A step up from elementary school magic shows! Invite a magician to perform a range of sleight-of-hand tricks, then teach them a couple of the secrets of the trade. Provide goodie bags filled with finger traps, trick decks of cards, and brain-teasing puzzles; have a station of materials to craft their custom magic wands.

11. Backyard Carnival

Transform your yard — or a Peerspace! — into a raucous, colorful carnival. Entertain your guests with a combination of DIY and rented carnival-themed games and activities — dunk tank and pie throwing, ring toss and goldfish game (although don’t put real goldfish in the bowls: Kool-aid with plastic fish is just fine). Invite a juggling club and a group of gymnasts to provide entertainment, then serve corn dogs, bags of roasted peanuts, popcorn, and cotton candy.

12. Constructive destruction

Adolescence brings with it a lot of emotions. Be the cool guardian and give them an outlet! Professionally-designed rage rooms and axe-throwing venues have cropped up over the last couple of years, and the minimum age is the magic number 13. It sounds terrifying, but it’s a controlled and safe environment for kids and adults to blow off some steam.

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