5 Year Old Birthday Party Ideas
Now that your child is in school, he’ll almost certainly want a birthday celebration for friends—and maybe even the whole class. That’s why the best 5-year-old birthday party ideas will suit a whole crowd of energetic youngsters. Check out our top picks for birthday party theme, with advice about logistics, activities, favors, and more.
Logistics for a 5-Year-Old Birthday
Guest List: There’s usually not much gender divide between 5-year-old kids; that phenomenon will come in a year or two. Consider inviting your child’s entire class to avoid hurt feelings. If you want to invite only a few select children, don’t hand out invitations in class, and be prepared for some inquiries from other parents.
Planning Timeline: Follow this timeline to stay on track with your party planning.
One month before party day: Make guest list, plan menu, send invitations.
Two weeks before party day: Shop for party favors, paper goods, and items needed for the game. Ask a friend or relative who has RSVP'd to act as your assistant on party day.
One week before party day: Shop for menu items.
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5-Year-Old Birthday Themes
Looking for a 5-year-old birthday party theme to impress your guests? These ideas are fun, creative, and budget-friendly—what more could you ask for?
Inspire the birthday girl and her guests with a party focused on creativity and expression! You can throw an “art party” inside or outside, but you should take precautions to cover furniture if you have young artists in your home. Include the party’s theme on the invitation so parents will dress party guests accordingly.
Game: Art Stations. Set up three stations that can handle two or three kids at a time. Each station should focus on an art type, such as finger painting, clay, poster drawing, etc. Have the kids visit each station, enjoy the activities, and rotate every 10-15 minutes. Try having an adult monitor each station to prevent accidents!
Party favor: Edible jewelry or magnets to hang new creations on the fridge.
This 5-year-old boy birthday party idea is best for the outdoor months. Have guests bring their favorite wheels—bikes, trikes, scooters, or skates—and head somewhere with space to ride, whether it’s a neighborhood park or your driveway. Encourage all riders to wear helmets and be safe!
Game: Ride-on Obstacle Course. Set up obstacles in your driveway or in another flat open area. Orange cones are fun, but don't feel like that's your only option—chairs, garbage cans, and large stuffed animals can work too. Have a stopwatch handy to time your riders.
Party favor: Bike reflector decals.
Outer Space Party
Reach for the stars and inspire young astronomers with a space-themed birthday party. Youngsters find outer space fascinating, and you can brainstorm plenty of activities to help your party blast off. Your focus can either be educational space exploration or gooey grisly aliens—whichever appeals most to your guest of honor!
Game: Ring Around Saturn Ring Toss. This 5-year-old birthday party idea is basically musical chairs meets the ring toss. Each guest needs a ring (make them by cutting the ring from the outer edge of a paper plate and covering in tin foil). Write each child's name on his or her ring, and have them decorate with stickers. To make Saturn, cover a coffee can with foil and stickers and place a 6-inch ball on top. The ball is Saturn, without its rings.
To play the game: Stream music as the kids walk in a circle around Saturn. When the music stops, players must attempt to toss their rings around Saturn. Each successful ring tosser gets a point. The player with the most points after 10 rounds wins.
Party favor: Freeze-dried ice cream (astronaut food). Check stores that sell camping gear and other outdoorsy supplies. It's also available online, but order early to accommodate shipping time.
Bug Out Party
Prepare for squeals of mock horror at a bug-themed birthday party! You’ll need plenty of fake rubber insects, and don’t hesitate to get buggy with the menu. Celery stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese and topped with raisins can be "Bugs on a Log." Fruit punch should be billed "Bug juice."
Game: Bug Relay Race. For this game, you'll need two tablespoons and four bowls—two empty and two full of rubber bugs. Have your guests divide into two teams and line up. The object of the game is to carry the bugs by spoon, one at a time, from one bowl to the other. The first team to successfully transfer all the bugs wins.
Party favor: Bug tattoos.
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Puppet Show Party
For the theatrical crowd, a puppet show party offers the right combination of crafts and time in the spotlight. It may help to come up with a storyline that most everyone knows ahead of time—such as Frozen or Moana. This 5-year-old birthday party idea is great for boys and girls alike!
Game: Paper bag puppet making. Set out lunch-size paper bags, stickers, markers, yarn, and glue and let the puppet making begin. Have a few extra adults on hand to help out if necessary. When the puppets are finished, invite the guests to put on a puppet show for the adults.
Party favors: Markers and stickers for puppet decorating.
Firefighters are neighborhood heroes, so throw a birthday party that celebrates the career. With school-age children, firefighter parties can include a range of games and even a lesson on fire safety. Check with your local firehouse about distributing fire safety information at the party, and don't forget to have some fun!
Game: Pin the Spot on the Dalmatian, which gives a firefighter twist to a party favorite. Draw a large outline of a dog and have kids place “spots” (circular stickers) on his body. Let kids take multiple turns until Fido looks nice and spotty! You can raise the stakes by using a blindfold too.
Party favors: Fire hats, fire safety coloring books, or other age-appropriate teaching tools.
Sources: The Best Birthday Parties Ever! A Kid's Do-It-Yourself Guide (The Millbrook Press) by Kathy Ross; Great Parties for Kids (Williamson Publishing Co.) by Nancy Fyke; Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and Other Party Games (Morrow Junior Books/New York) by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson; Rainy Days and Saturdays (Workman Publishing Co.) by Linda Hetzer