Birthday party ideas are easy when kids are little - centre it around their favourite character, go heavy on the sugary treats and stick to a strict 2-hour schedule.
But once they start to hit their tweens you're going to need some super-charged birthday party ideas. And those birthday party ideas should include a mix of activities, fun and most importantly of all be cool.
For 11-year-olds rapidly approaching the big day, we've gathered some birthday party ideas for your inspiration.
Movie Magic Party
If the movies are your birthday party theme then there are tons of great ideas. Why not find a red carpet for the stars of this event - try your local carpet shop for an offcut. Also, ask your local cinema have any old advertising posters or cardboard cutouts too.
Treat mini A-listers to a paparazzi session as they arrive. Get other guests to line the carpet with cameras (or mobiles) in hand while they take it in turns for a grand entrance. You could also organise a film quiz – find questions and answers online – and finish off with something from our ultimate coming-of-age must-watch list. Don't forget tubs of popcorn, jars of pic-n-mix and a tray of mocktails.
Top Volume Karaoke Party
As party ideas go this one is loud but a lot of fun. Everyone will be challenged to flex their vocal cords and take the mic. If you don't happen to have a karaoke machine then there's plenty of options online. YouTube's SingKing channel is packed with choice and when teamed with a foam microphone will still be plenty of fun.
Get help from your 12-year-old to make some invites in the shape of an iPod. Don't forget to ask the invited guests to let you know what their favourite song is so you can pre-plan a song list in advance. Serve up plenty of refreshing drinks and easy to grab nibbles.
Sweet Dreams Sleepover Party
Throw the ultimate sleepover with a fun slumber party themed birthday. If you want to really go to town you can hire an individual tee-pee for each friend–make sure to leave them each a midnight snack and eye mask. Plan your sleepover with a selection of ghost stories, films and board games to keep guests amused. And don't forget to order pizzas to keep them going well after bedtime.
City Scavenger Hunt Party
Some party ideas require a bit of forethought and this is one of them - but don't be put off. Pre-party prepare a list of up to 20 items that you know kids can find in their nearest city. Ideas could be a 'no entry' sign, 'a tree with orange leaves' 'balloons' or 'a dog with a bow tie'. Divide guests into two teams, maybe with the birthday child picking names out of a hat, and arm each with a camera. Drop the teams in the city and give them a set time limit to tick everything off the list. Why not provide them with enough cash to buy their lunch while out too?
Who wouldn't love a spa day - and it's easy to prepare at home too. Make sure you have plenty of supplies - nail polish, face masks, foot spas, white fluffy robes and so on. If the budget can stretch arrange for a nail technician to come in and paint the finger and toenails of each guest, or a hairdresser to do something stylish. Then let the guests loose with the pampering products to give each other face masks. Mimic a top-end spa with smoothies and a selection of easy-to-eat buffet food.
Boot Camp Birthday Party
This is less about the cake and more about the crunches. Hire a personal trainer to put a group of friends through their paces at a Bootcamp. If the budget can stretch to it get everyone their own personalised t-shirt and don't forget water bottles and towels too. Serve up salads after - or big slices of cake if you think they've worked hard enough!
This year they may have less energy than when they were toddlers but that's no excuse not to wear them out. Plan an activity for a group of friends - horse riding, a climbing wall, white water rafting, paintballing or even just a trip to the pool. This birthday party is low effort on your part but will cost you more. You could keep the budget down by packing up a picnic to enjoy after the activities.
Star Wars Birthday Party
This out-of-this-world party is great fun for both boys and girls. Invest in some cheap light sabres (or make your own from pool noodles) and put guests through a Jedi training academy. There are tons of ideas for Star-Wars themed menus and games. Finish by showing one of the many films in the franchise.
Water Balloon Party
There's great fun to be had and the best bit is it's super cheap and easy. All you need is a large pile of filled water balloons and large-ish garden and plenty of towels. While you put together a quick buffet inside let the kids loose in the garden with the water balloons.
Evening Dinner Party
Most kids love to feel grown up so let them play at being adults. Buy everything the birthday child and their guests will need to cook themselves a three-course dinner. Give them the recipe, set the table and leave the kitchen. Not only will the cooking activities keep them busy but you won't need to worry about feeding them - unless they ruin their dinner.
Out And About Party
Ideas that keep the tweens out of the house is usually a winner. Why not see if you can pick up some tickets to the theatre or stadium? Do make sure you have enough adults to supervise and can transport them safely to the venue.
Whatever the age of your guests they'll love a birthday party that includes a picnic. Why not get everyone to help plan the menu and prepare it - fun ideas for snacks include fairy cakes, sausage rolls, wraps and fruit salad. What's more, 12-year-olds will feel grown-up if they're allowed to picnic in the park on their own - try one of these top spots for snacking.
Cora Lydon is a freelance journalist living in Suffolk with her husband and two children. She’s also a children’s book author who loves finding activities and place to inspire her children. Her dining table bears the scars of many craft activities attempts (many unsuccessful).