20 Fun Birthday Party Activities for 11-Year-Olds (that Won’t Break the Bank)

Turning 11 years old is a big deal. It’s the last year of elementary school and the start of middle school. It’s also the age when you officially become a pre-teen when kids start to think about things like friends, popularity, and fitting in. 

Birthday parties are the perfect way to celebrate this milestone. After all, what could be better than being surrounded by your closest friends and family, eating birthday cake and ice cream, and opening presents?

If your 11-year-old is gearing up for their birthday party, you may be wondering what kind of fun games and activities they would enjoy. You want it to be memorable — without being too childish or too grown-up — to make lasting memories with friends and loved ones. Here are some great ideas that will help you plan the perfect party!

boy standing outside peaking from behind two balloons (blue and white)

1. Have a Themed Party

One great option for an 11-year-old’s birthday is to have a themed party. This could be a dress-up party where everyone comes in a costume of their favorite popular characters and participates in activities that are relevant to it. 

For example, if you chose a “Harry Potter” theme, you could have a sorting hat ceremony, make potions in class, and play quidditch or dragon tag. If your child is into a certain TV show or book series, you could also base the party around that.

Whatever party theme you choose, make sure it’s something that your child will enjoy.

2. Play Some Fun Party Games

No matter what theme you choose for the birthday celebration, there are always going to be some great party games that go along with it.

For a movie-themed party, you could play charades or trivia games based on the film. For a sports-themed party, you could set up an obstacle course or have a friendly competition of who can score the most goals. Be creative and have fun with it!

You can also play classic birthday party games with a twist. Games like musical chairs, freeze dance, relay races, and Simon says can be made more exciting by adding new rules or changing up the gameplay slightly.

Just don’t forget to give out party favors as prizes for the winners, so everyone feels included and has a good time.

3. Make It a Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a simple game that can be very exciting, especially if there are prizes to be won at the end. Not only will the kids have a great time searching for items on the list, but they will also help to promote teamwork and communication skills. 

When you’re making the treasure hunt clues, it’s important to carefully plan the hunt in advance. Decide on the location, which can be either indoors or outdoors or depending on the weather and the size of the group.

Make sure that the list of items that need to be found is age appropriate and challenging but not too difficult. Then divide the kids into teams and let the fun begin!

4. Organize a Dance Competition

You can do this by setting up a simple stage in a large room or in the backyard. Then play some fun music and let the kids show off their best moves. The competition can be structured as a free-for-all, with each dancer trying to impress the judges with their unique style, or you can divide the dancers into teams and have them compete against each other in a choreographed routine. You can give a small prize for different categories, such as “Most Creative Dance” or “Best Group Dance.”

You can also do a simple dance party with a fun twist. Hand out glow sticks to everyone at the party, turn off the lights, put on some of the kid’s favorite tunes, and let the kids dance their hearts out! They’ll have a blast dancing around with their friends.

You could even add a classic game of limbo or a hula hoop competition to add an extra element of fun and excitement. This is a great way to let the little kids burn off some energy while also having the best time of their lives!

5. Have a Water Fight Games

This is a fun way for younger children to cool off on a hot day. Fill up water balloons with different bright colors ahead of time and let the younger kids battle it out in teams or individually. The team or person with the most balloons left at the end wins! 

You could also set up a sprinkler in the backyard and let the kids run through it or get a Slip ‘n Slide where they can race each other to the end. The first team or person to the finish line wins, and the last person gets to be sprayed with water from a hose!

Nerf war games are also a great option for this activity. Gather all your water blasters around the house or ask your party guests to bring their own. Set up targets around the yard. On the start signal, have the kids run around and try to hit as many targets as possible. The team or person with the most points at the end of the game wins.

6. Set up a Photo Booth

A photo booth is always a hit at parties! You can set one up by hanging a sheet or blanket from a doorway to create a makeshift backdrop and then placing some props in front of it, such as hats, glasses, etc.

You can also use some of the party decorations to set the scene, then let the kids take turns posing for photos with their friends. Be sure to have someone on hand to take the pictures so that everyone can be in them!

If you want to take things to the next level, you can create a photo booth schedule for the night. For example, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, the booth can be open for general use. From 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM, it can be closed for an “adult only” session, and from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, it can be open for “dare” photos, where kids have to do something silly or daring in order to have their picture taken. T

his is a good idea to keep the kids entertained throughout the entire party!

movie popcorn and reeks

7. Have a Movie Marathon

Is your 11-year-old birthday boy or girl a movie fanatic? Then they would probably love nothing more than to have a movie night marathon party!

You can either pick out a selection of their favorite movies or let them choose a few. Make sure to have plenty of popcorn and snacks on hand, and settle in for a fun-filled day of movie-watching.

To make it extra fun, you could even create your own tickets or make some fun props for the kids to use during the movies.

8. Play the Ultimate Balloon Stomp Challenge

This simple activity can be a lot of fun for kids of all ages, and it’s sure to generate lots of laughter and excitement. All you need is a group of kids and a bunch of balloons.

To play, you’ll need a supply of balloons (inflated to different sizes), a stopwatch, and a whistle. The aim of the game is to see which team can stomp all of their balloons the fastest. 

To start, each team lines up behind a starting line. On the word “go,” the first player in each team begins stomping on their balloons, trying to burst them as quickly as possible.

When all of the balloons burst, the team stops the stopwatch and records their time. The team with the fastest time is the winner!

9. Throw a Birthday Party for Makeup Lovers

If your 11-year-old is obsessed with makeup, then a birthday party that’s all about their favorite products could be a fun party option!

You can do this by creating a gorgeous setting. Whether you opt for a glamorous Hollywood-inspired theme or something more romantic and ethereal, your décor should reflect your kid’s style. 

You can invite your kid’s friends over and let them have a blast experimenting with different makeup looks. Make sure to have plenty of mirrors on hand, so everyone can see their transformation!

If you want to amplify the party fun, you can play a blindfolded makeup challenge where pairs of friends have to apply makeup to each other without being able to see.

This is sure to be a hilariously fun time! As a final touch, consider serving up some tasty treats that look like miniature works of art. Edible lip glosses, candy jewelry, and cake pops decorated with colorful sprinkles are all sure to please your guests.

10. Laser Tag Party

Laser tag is a fun birthday party game for young children as it’s a high-energy activity that gets everyone moving about.

It can be played both indoors and outdoors, making it a great option for parties held in any type of weather. It’s also relatively easy to set up, as all you need is a laser tag gun for each child and some sort of target to shoot at. 

You can either rent a laser tag set from a local party rental company or purchase your own. If you’re renting a set, the company will usually deliver and set up the party package equipment for you, saving you both time and effort.

Staff members will also be on hand to help run the party and ensure that everyone is safe.

11. Play Some Cool Party Board Games

If you’re trying to think of unique birthday party ideas for older children, then why not ditch the usual active best games in favor of some cool party board games instead?

Games like Pictionary, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit are always popular with kids and adults alike. Plus, there’s no need to worry about the noise level as these games can be played quietly. 

Board games are also a great way to encourage older kids to interact with one another and activate their brains!

Be sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand to keep everyone happy and fueled up for some serious fun. You can also fill up goody bags with board game items like dice, playing cards, and other small great game pieces.

12. Set up a Camping Tent

This is a good birthday party idea to get the kids outdoors to enjoy some fresh air. If your yard is big enough, set up a camping tent in the backyard and invite all their close friends over for an outdoor sleepover. This is the perfect time for a campfire, flashlight tag, and s’mores! 

Depending on the size of the group, you can either set up one large tent for everyone or several smaller tents for larger groups. This is a great opportunity for them to catch up with friends or play games together.

Provide plenty of pillows, blankets, and snacks to keep them comfortable and happy throughout the night.

13. Splash Around at a Pool Party

For 11-year-old boys and girls who love spending time in the water, what could be more fun than a pool party?

Just imagine all of the games that can be played, the yummy food that can be served, and the great memories that will be made!

You can either host the party at your own home if you have a pool or rent out a local community pool for the day. Either way, be sure to have plenty of pool toys on hand, like floaties, noodles, and beach balls. 

You’ll also want to make sure that there are plenty of lifeguards on duty to help keep everyone safe. To make the party extra special, consider hiring a pool party character like a mermaid or pirate to come and entertain the guests.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to throw a splash-tastic pool party that everyone will love!

14. Bake up Some Sweet Treats

As anyone with a sweet tooth knows, there’s nothing quite like a delicious treat to make a child’s birthday party extra special. What could be sweeter than a homemade cake or batch of cookies? 

If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try your hand at making some candy? Chocolate-covered pretzels, marshmallow pops, or even homemade lollipops are all sure to be a melt-in-your-mouth hit with kids of all ages.

You can also hone the kids’ decorating skills by making up a game like “create your own mummy cupcake game” or “design your own donuts game.” The child with the most creative donut design or the best mummy cupcake will get a special prize! 

With so many delicious possibilities, it’s no wonder that sweet treats are always a popular choice for birthday parties. The best part about this activity is that it’s a built-in food option that doesn’t require any extra planning. Just be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand to avoid any sticky situations!

15. Name That Tune

This is a great party game for music lovers. It’s a classic game that can be played with any type of music, and it’s sure to get the whole group involved.

To play, simply divide into teams or have everyone compete individually. Then, start the music and see who can name that tune first.

The first child or team to correctly identify the song gets a point. Then the next player or team takes their turn. A time limit can be set for each round to keep the game moving along.

The team or player with the most points at the end of the game wins! You can make it even more challenging by playing with songs from different genres or by adding other elements, like a trivia round.

16. Ice Skating or Roller Skating

For a birthday party that’s sure to be a skating success, why not try your hand at ice skating or roller skating?

If you live in a cold weather climate, ice skating is a great option for a birthday party. If not, roller skating is always fun!

17. Experiment With Science

This is a unique activity that’s perfect for budding scientists. There are all sorts of science experiments that can be done, and they’re sure to be educational while still being fun. 

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what type of experiment you want to do. You can try something simple like making a homemade lava lamp or volcanoes, or you can get a little more creative with experiments like elephant’s toothpaste or magic milk.

Then, gather the supplies you’ll need and get ready to experiment! This activity is perfect for kids who are curious about the world around them, and it’s a great way to teach them a little bit about science.

girls singing karaoke with microphone

18. Karaoke Party

Karaoke parties are always lots of fun, no matter what age you are!

Not only are they a great way to show off your singing skills, but they’re also a great way to break the ice and get everyone involved.

The guest of honor will be the star of the show, but everyone will have a blast belting out their favorite tunes. 

To make the party even more fun, you can add-in some props or costumes to get everyone into the karaoke spirit. You can also have a friendly competition to see who can sing the best karaoke version of a popular song.

Record each performance and have a vote at the end of the party to crown the karaoke champion!

19. Play “Minute To Win It” Games

These fast-paced challenges are perfect for kids with lots of energy, and they can be customized to fit any party theme.

For example, if you’re throwing a beach party, you could have the “Sandcastles in the Sand” game, which involves building the tallest sandcastle in 60 seconds.

Alternatively, a relay race of different “Minute To Win It” challenges can be done by teams or individually. The first player of each team must complete the challenge before the next child can start. The team or individual with the most points at the end of the game wins!

There are endless possibilities when it comes to Minute To Win It games, so get creative and have fun.

20. Play Bingo in Style

Bingo is a classic party game that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Why not add a twist to this classic game and turn it into a stylish event?

For example, you can print out bingo cards with images of different fashion items, like shoes, purses, or jewelry. Then, have the guests mark the items on their cards (you can use anything from coins to candy for this) with the items that are called out. The first person to get five in a row wins!

If you like traditional bingo or prefer something with a spin on it, kids are sure to have a blast playing bingo!

teens jumping up with party baloons outside


There you have it — 20 fun ideas to make your 11-year-old’s birthday bash one they’ll never forget.

These birthday party ideas will help get the party started, but don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild and come up with some of your own ideas too.

A happy birthday is a great way to start the tween years off right. After all, 11 is an age where your child is not quite a kid anymore, but not quite a teenager either.

If you’re still stuck, remember that most tweens just want to have fun with their friends. With that in mind, try to focus on activities that will get them moving, laughing, and interacting with one another.

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Kristen is the founder and content creator at Mom Managing Chaos where she teaches busy moms how to simplify and organize their life and finances. She writes about frugal living, budgeting, productivity and organization.