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Birthday Party Ideas for Girls - Ages 8 to 12

Published March 09, 2015        by Matt

birthday party planning ideas for girls ages 8 to 12

Girls Birthday Party Ideas

Throwing a unique and memorable birthday party for girls aged 8-12 can be challenging. They are old enough to have outgrown the playground, but not quite ready for teenage activities yet. Here are some party ideas to make sure your daughter's birthday will be a happy and successful event.

One of the keys is working together with your pre-teen to choose a kids birthday party theme that she is excited about. Once you choose the theme, planning the activities and food will be much easier. And remember that while supervision is obviously required on party day, give the girls some space so they can feel a little more grown up.

Your local roller or ice skating rink will likely have numerous birthday party packages to choose from. Typically, they have a party room that you can reserve with a host/hostess to run the party. The group of kids will normally get skate admission and rental, food, beverages, birthday cake delivery and ice cream, game tokens and more.

There can be limitations on the number of children that can attend the party and rates vary widely from one skating rink to the next. Take into account all the items that are including when selecting to throw a roller skating party for your girl. Just check with your local rink for details.

Pottery Painting Party

pottery painting
Image by wrightbrosfan
on Flickr

Pottery painting parties at a local pottery place are all the rage. Many pottery places allow you to rent a private room for the birthday party where the kids get to make and take their own personalized bowl or plate. They normally ask that you bring your own food and decorations, but again it depends on the local place so call them directly for details. When they are done, each child can have their creation fired in the kiln for a permanent souvenir from the party.

Since the pottery painting establishments can be a bit expensive, you could consider getting some of the Activ-Clay which is a type of clay that doesn't need to be fired in a kiln. Kids can make their own clay creations and let them dry overnight. Then paint them the next morning to take home as their souvenir. Be sure to buy enough clay and painting supplies for everyone attending the party.

Formal Tea Party

Formal Tea Party

This is a great idea especially for the younger aged girls. The idea is that the girls dress up in their "Sunday best" (dresses, hats, boas, white gloves, etc.) and enjoy a real tea service. You can either transform your own home into a cafe or see if there is a local tea place that offers tea parties for girls.

If you decide to do it in your own home, just set up some kids size tables with white fabrics and doilies, some fresh flowers and of course formal tea party ware. Serve the "tea" (juice) in a teapot along with finger sandwiches such as heart-shaped bologna and/or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For a great finish to the party, make a teapot-shaped cake.

Before or after tea time, you could have a little fashion show so that each girl can show off her beautiful outfit. Be sure to take lots of pictures. You could even give awards or prizes for various things like prettiest dress or hat, most beautiful satin bow, etc.

Tropical Beach or Pool Party

Tropical Beach or Pool Party

Add a splash of fun to your daughter's birthday by throwing a summer beach or pool party. Even if you don't happen to have a backyard pool, there are still possibilities. For example, some local pools or neighborhood associations will allow groups to reserve the entire swimming pool area for a short period of time. They provide a lifeguard and staff who keep an eye on the kids and run games such as water ring tosses. In addition, they may have a party room that is adjacent to the changing areas/restrooms where you can set-up decorations, snacks and cake.

Whether you throw the party in your backyard or in another pool location, find some fun summer-themed invitations shaped like flip-flops, beach balls, or tropical flowers (or make your own from card stock). Add a clever saying about how you'll be diving right in for a fun party.

Decorate the event area with inflatable palm trees, beach balls, hibiscus flowers and give each child a lei when they arrive at the birthday celebration. Have lots of pool games to keep the kids entertained. Try floating object or rubber duck races, pool diving for non-floating objects, relay races, water ring tosses, etc.

For birthday party favors, how about beach ball shaped decorated sugar cookies, beach towels, cheap flip flops or a goodie basket or bag filled with sunscreen, SPF lip balm and candies.

Craft or Beading Party

Craft or Beading Party

Local craft studios or stores often offer art-themed parties for kids birthdays. A staff of people with guide the children in various craft projects such as making picture frames, beading crafts, friendship bracelets, rhinestone "purses", etc. They often have a group project to make a birthday banner for the birthday girl along with group games and food.

If you prefer, you can throw a craft party in your own home. Just visit Oriental Trading Company or your local Ben Franklin to pick up some small craft projects for the girls.

Be sure to have enough scissors, tape, glue, wire cutters or whatever craft accessories you need on hand. You can decorate with brightly colored balloons and crepe paper. Make your own food and cake in the child's favorite color scheme for a fun birthday get-together.

Glamour or Spa Sleepover Party

Glamour or Spa Sleepover Party

What child and her friends wouldn't like being glamour girls for the day? You can either host this type of party in your own home or consider one of the many local salons or cosmetology schools that host kids birthday parties.

The girls can get their hair done in updo's, have make-up applied and get their nails painted. If you have this party at home, consider hiring a couple high school girls to help with the make-overs. Be sure to have lots of fun and sparkly hair accessories, make-up and finger nail polishes. Buy lots of q-tips and make-up applicator sponges to avoid cross-contamination. Also, have curling and flat irons to help with the hair styling. Consider some colorful boas, fun jewelry, cheap sparkly handbags and even temporary tattoos. Either have the girls bring one of their own dresses or borrow some fun dresses and high heeled shoes from your adult friends or go to a local thrift store to get some dress-up clothes.

Set-up a black runway strip with rope lights and streamers so that after the girl's are all glammed up, you can have a little runway show. Play some music and have them strut their stuff to show off their new look. Be sure to take lots of pictures!

For the food, go with more upscale (but inexpensive) food like pastas, salads, fruit, and sparkling juice in plastic champagne glasses. Make a cake that is shaped like a purse or a tube of lipstick to tie in with the overall party theme. For discount favors, send the girls home with personalized cosmetic bags, inexpensive bracelets, or compact mirror gifts.

Gymnastics Birthday Party

Gymnastics Birthday Party

Your little tumbler will love this themed party. When planning, call or stop by the local Gymnastics Academy to see what they offer because they will have all the equipment you'd ever need. Often you can get some time for the kids with an instructor and then some time after for food and gifts. The gym will help the kids stretch and use the equipment. Normally they will also have the children bring along signed permission slips to reduce their liability in case of injury.

If you aren't having the party at a local gym, just set up some mats or a spot in a grassy area where the kids can show off their tumbling and dance skills. Turn it into a game by splitting the party guests into small teams and having a judging panel to score them on their performance (give each team a given amount of time to come up with performance ideas). Be sure to leave room for an audience and give awards or prizes for various accomplishments like best performance or best costume, etc. Don't forget your video camera!

If you have equipment or you have rented the gymnastics studio, you could have individual events where each of the guests show off their skills at things like summersaults, cartwheels, handstands, the balance beam, trampoline, etc. It is a fun way to get everyone involved in the festivities.

Buy a few gymnastics themed balloons or tableware to theme the event. You can even decorate the cake to look like a balance beam or uneven bars using candy or buy some of the gymnast cake toppers available at many party stores.

Diva Dance or Disco Party

Diva Dance or Disco Party

Throw your own diva dance party at home or find a local dance studio that offers birthday parties for kids. The kids are transformed into dance divas and rock stars by doing their hair with brightly colored hair pieces, glitter and braids and then adding some cool make-up like sparkly glitter eyes, blush and lip gloss. Depending on the party music theme, you can have the party girls singing and dancing to your birthday girl's favorite music or dances like the electric slide, freeze dance, etc. If you are having it at a studio, normally they will have karaoke microphones, lots of music to choose from and props for the kids. Be sure to videotape their performances!

Another dance theme to consider is a 70's disco themed party. Use retro invitations and decorations for the party such as disco balls and glittery streamers. Ask the party-goers to dress in 70's attire like platform shoes, bell bottom pants and leisure suits. Be sure to have lots of 70's music on hand like the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Birthday Candy Basket

Need A Fun Kids Birthday Gift?

It is always a bit difficult to buy birthday gifts for girls in the 8 to 12 age group. That said, some fun ideas might be a cosmetic or spa themed gift basket, a birthday candy bouquet like the one shown in the photo to the right, or even a kid birthday gift basket that includes things like books, craft activities, or snacks appropriate for the child's age.

If you are invited to a party with a certain theme, it is always fun to tie the gift into the party theme itself. For instance, you could bring a bouquet of birthday cookies for kids that includes lipstick, purse, and shoe shaped cookies to a sleepover or dance diva party.

For a beach or luau party, you could buy a personalized beach towel that the child can use for years to come. The possibilities are truly endless!