Games and activities for 9-year-olds
At 9 years old, your guests might be a little old for traditional party games like pass the parcel or musical chairs, but they’ll still be keen to take part in some other fun activities! Older kids will be able to understand complex rules and will enjoy taking part in team games, too.
While your guests will be old enough to not get too upset at the thought of losing, it’s still a good idea to have some smaller prizes available to hand out to everyone – so that nobody feels left out if they don’t win the game.
At this age, some children might also be happy to sit and get on with some craft activities in smaller groups, so you could always set up a craft table for those who don’t want to join in with a loud game.
Try a game of wink murder, bingo or charades to get everybody involved. While your child might think they have outgrown games like pin the tail on the donkey, why not put a spin on it and play ‘pin the accessory on the popstar’? Simply print out a photo of your tween’s favourite celeb and an accessory of your choice. It’ll feel much more grown up!
For something more elaborate, you could set up an obstacle course – even simple household items like boxes and blankets make great props! Similarly, you could host a scavenger hunt where kids search for specific items, or a treasure hunt where they follow a trail of clues. Or for something that adults will enjoy too, why not try a game of limbo?
You can buy ready-made limbo games to make things easier. See more details here at Amazon.
Check out some more party games for 9-year-olds here.
Food and drink
If you’re hosting your party at an organised venue, like a swimming pool or an activity party, it’s likely that party food will be included, which will take the hassle away from you! However, if you’re at home, in the garden, or bringing your own food to a party, here are some ideas of what to include…
Finger foods: Your guests will be having so much fun that it’s unlikely you’ll get them to sit down and eat for long, so small, bite-sized food is your friend here!
If you’re worried about making sure there’s enough food to go around, consider filling up a cardboard meal box for each child. That way, you know no one will miss out and they can always take it home if they’re having too much fun for food.
Party foods like mini hot dogs, mini pizzas and finger sandwiches will go down well, and make sure to include some carrot, cucumber or pepper sticks too as a healthy option.
Make-your-own food: If you’re at home or hosting a sleepover, it’s a nice idea to get the kids involved in preparing the food. You could get some plain mini pizza bases and have the kids decorate with their own toppings, or build a make-your-own sundae bar. They’ll love eating food they’ve made themselves!
Eating out: If you’re out on a day trip, you might want to treat kids to some food while you’re there. Or you might feel that they’re old enough to sit down to eat in a cafe or restaurant (if your group is small enough to manage!). Just make sure to check with parents for any dietary requirements.
For more ideas, check out our party food guide here.
If you want to give kids a healthy drink that still feels like a party treat, go for sparkling water with added pieces of real fruit. And if you do want to give them fizzy drinks, perhaps do so after the food so they’re not too full of sugar to eat anything.
Fruit juices and smoothies are also OK in moderation, and make sure that juice squashes are well-diluted.
As a handy tip, if you’re at home and are worried about damaging furniture or carpets, keep the food and drink in a designated room or the garden. You’ll thank yourself later!
There are plenty of different options for birthday cake, depending on how much of a baker you are!
If you’re opting for a themed party and want the cake to match, most supermarkets will sell themed birthday cakes – or you can contact your local cake maker for something extra personal. Guaranteed your ten-year-old will love seeing all their favourite things in icing form!
For a middle-ground hack, buy a supermarket sponge cake and add the personalised decorations yourself. The kids won’t know any different and it’s an easy way to create something unique at a low price. We’ve got plenty of cake decoration ideas for you to follow here, from castles to trains, or your child’s favourite fictional character – whatever they’ll love the most!
If you fancy baking your own cake, browse our library of recipes, from cupcakes to chocolate cake or rainbow cake, plus gluten free and egg free options, too.
For extra dessert options other than cake, it’s a good idea to have some finger bites available, like little chocolate pieces or popcorn (though not too many!) and sliced pieces of fruit like melon, strawberries and banana to make sure the kids get something healthy too.
Jelly and ice cream is another classic party dessert, and one that the kids will love. To make it that touch healthier why not try some of our fruity ice cream recipes? Alternatively, you can serve sorbet as a dairy-free option that goes down a treat with kids.
Whether you’re buying for your own child or giving gift ideas to friends and family, you want to make sure your child gets some birthday gifts they’ll love!
At ten years old, not only will your child have developed their own likes and dislikes, but they’ll probably also be considering what’s ‘cool’ when it comes to presents. The good news is: they’ll most likely write you a clear list of what they want!
If you’ve got a little bookworm, they’ll now be old enough for some pre-teen or young adult fiction books – a great gift for encouraging them to read alone.
Or if they’re into tech, a cool gadget like a kids’ drone will be really exciting! To take it up a notch, try a coding toy, like the Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, where kids can programme and control their own droid from their smartphone app.
Meanwhile, for a creative present try a make-your-own kit, whether it’s for perfume or jewellery, which will keep them busy. Otherwise, outdoor gifts like a bike or a scooter will mean hours of fun!
Have a browse through some more of the best gifts for 9-year-olds here.
Now that your child is a little older, they’ll probably want to say goodbye to ‘childish’ party bag toys and have their gifts seem ‘cooler’. If you’re hosting at an organised venue, party bags will often be included so you won’t need to worry. But if you’re putting them together yourself, here are some ideas of what to include …
For some more ‘grown-up’ gifts, you could include some small bits of child-friendly make-up, like lip balms, nail polishes or a cute mirror. Games like Top Trumps cards, or other playing cards and collector’s cards will also seem like more grown-up presents.
Fun practical gifts like a ‘make your own bracelet’ kit can be fun for girls or boys, especially if it’s a friendship bracelet which matches everybody else’s.
Other practical gifts like a small paint set and fun stationery like pencils, rubbers and notebooks will always end up being used! And throw in some sweets too to treat them.
At this age, you might want to give children one large gift instead, like a football, rather than lots of little things that could end up being thrown away.
If you’re worried about the plastic waste, paper or fabric bags are great alternatives. Oh, and don’t forget the cake!
Check out more party bag ideas here.
Tips for a great tenth birthday party
As with any party, planning ahead and getting organised with a list of everything you’ll need to do in advance of the big day will make things a whole lot easier. These top tips should help things run even more smoothly:
Child-to-adult ratio: If you’re hosting somewhere where you’ll need extra adult supervision, like a swimming pool, make sure to ask in advance if parents are able to stick around (or state it on the invitation) and check ahead of time how many adults you will need. If you’re taking a group out on a day trip to somewhere like an aquarium or a farm, be sure to plan ahead when it comes to how you’ll actually get there. If everyone won’t fit in your car(s), ask a family member or a parent of one of your guests in advance if they’ll also be able to help with lifts. Plus, if they stick around they’ll get to enjoy the party too!
Write down the gifts your child receives and who they’re from as soon as your child opens them. You’ll thank yourself later when it comes to writing thank-you notes!
Set an end time on your invitations. If you’re hosting at an organised venue, the party will have a time limit. But if you’re hosting at home or elsewhere, make sure you specify an end time on the invitations. This way, guests won’t outstay their welcome and all the parents will know what time to arrive to pick up.
Ask for your child’s input. At this age, your child will have a better idea of what they want to do and who they want to invite than they have done in previous years, so it’s a nice idea to involve them in the planning. Have them help to make the decorations or some invitations on a computer or tablet to give their party that extra personal touch!
Create a photo album. Make sure you have your phone at the ready to take tonnes of pictures during your child’s big day! However, it can be easy for photos to end up forgotten about in the digital ether. It’s a nice idea to create a physical photo album to add to for each of your child’s birthdays. That way, you won’t forget about the pictures and they’ll be fun to look back on!