Planning a 14-year-old's birthday party might seem like a huge task, but we know that organising a special celebration for your child is important for you and for them. This is everything you need to know, from venues to food to gifts.
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Indoor party ideas
Now that your child is approaching 14 years old, they'll probably want to branch out and do some more 'grown-up' activities for their birthday. Plus, they'll most likely have a better idea of exactly what they want!
In fact, your new teenager may decide they want to plan their party themselves this year; less work for you, but prepare for disagreements if they have their heart set on something unrealistic! The tips and ideas below might help you find the perfect compromise.
If they've enjoyed a few of their younger birthdays at home, this might be the time to branch out to an exciting external party venue. However, at this age it can also be nice to spend quality time with a few close friends at home.
There are plenty of other indoor venues to choose from that cater to different budgets, so why not try some of our ideas below?
Even if your child has had some of their younger birthday parties at home, there are plenty of ways to make an at-home party fun and feel like a treat!
By 14 years old, your child will probably love the idea of a sleepover with their closest friends, and they'll likely already have hosted and attended a few, too. It's a good idea to keep the numbers small; no more than five friends is ideal. A handy trick is to try to get it to an even number in total if possible, so that nobody ends up feeling left out.
Line up some films for them to watch, and some snacks as a treat, and they'll likely settle in easily! For other activity ideas, try karaoke (just pop the lyrics up on YouTube) or an at-home spa session where the kids can have their nails painted, try out some face masks, or have their makeup done. They'll love being pampered !
You can buy karaoke kits, with access to a library of songs. You can buy this karaoke kit by Lucky Voice, here at Amazon.
This one's a great idea for a group of close friends. Many photo studios will offer birthday parties where kids can have some professional shots taken alongside their best friends - so check out if there are any studios near you which offer parties.
Kids will be able to have photos taken in a big group, in pairs, on their own - or whatever combination they fancy! Plus, they can bring a few different outfits and some fun props to add to the excitement. And the resulting pictures are sure to be worthy of a spot in your front room!
Now that your child is older, a party at your nearest laser tag centre will be really exciting! A group of around 8-12 kids is ideal and you'll be able to watch them get competitive! Plus, this is a fun one for adults to join in with too.
Games usually last for around half an hour and you can sit down for food afterwards if you arrange a birthday package, so it's nice and hassle-free.
Some Laser Quest centres also include a climbing wall , which will be another exciting activity for your child and their friends to get involved with!
A fun activity for older children is to try an Escape Room party. The premise is simple: you get locked in a room within a fictional narrative, and you have to follow the clues to work your way out.
Sessions are usually designed for four to six people, and you can opt for either a kids' room or an easy adult level. It might be a good idea to have one or two adults in the room as well, if you think it will be too hard for the kids on their own.
This will be something a bit different for kids to try, and they'll be undoubtedly proud of themselves if they do escape!
If your child is after a particularly active party, you could try your local indoor winter sports centre or dry ski slope. Kids will be able to try sledging or even indoor skiing and snowboarding, and it's bound to get them excited!
If some members of the group are beginners, they'll be able to try the beginners' slopes, or if they're more experienced they can get to work on honing their skills. This will definitely be a birthday they're sure to remember.
If your child would prefer a more 'sophisticated' birthday party, throwing them a mini afternoon tea can be a super cute way to celebrate. You can either take the kids out to afternoon tea at a cafe or restaurant, or throw one at home.
All you need is some fancy-looking cake stands, cute tea cups, and plenty of finger sandwiches and scones. Double up with some games and they're sure to have fun!
Now that your child is a teenager, you might feel they're old enough to enjoy a meal out with friends for their birthday. Just ask them to choose their favourite restaurant or type of food and book a table for a few friends.
You could even sit on your own table on the other side of the restaurant if you want to stick around! Oh and don't forget to request a cake and candles.
A joint birthday party
If your child's birthday falls around the same time as one of their close friends, it can be a nice idea to throw a joint birthday party for them. They'll be able to invite more guests and it'll help the two birthday boys or girls form a special bond which will be carried forward for years to come.
Some kids will love sharing their celebrations with a friend but others won't, so if you think your child will get jealous it might be best to steer clear.
Outdoor party ideas
If your child would rather be active on their birthday, an ice skating party is a great option. You probably won't need to hire the whole ice rink, so just paying for a few friends to attend an open session will be enough.
It's a great way for the kids to burn off energy and learn something new! And if they've already tried roller skating, this will be a fun and exciting next step!
If any of the kids aren't as confident, penguin aids will often be available. And make sure everybody dresses appropriately!
If you've got a little animal lover, an ideal party option is to take a small group of friends on a day trip to the zoo. This is a fantastic option if you want a long and fun-filled day out - and it'll be a great chance for your child to spend some quality time with their closest friends!
Some zoos will offer party packages, but the kids will have just as much fun with a regular ticket and a day of looking at the animals.
It's better to keep your group small so that nobody gets lost - and stick some pillows in the car as they'll likely be worn out by the time you're ready to drive home!
At 14 years old, you'll probably feel that your child is old enough to enjoy a day trip to a theme park with a few close friends. As well as the rides in the park, birthday packages will often get you added extras like a buffet, goodie bags and unlimited photos from the rides - which make for great keepsakes!
Just check in advance that all of your guests will be old enough and tall enough for the rides at your chosen park, especially if you're inviting younger siblings or cousins - and be prepared for nerves!
As an alternative to a theme park, an adventure playground will make another exciting day out! Many will include climbing equipment, obstacle courses, crazy golf and more. Plus, now that your child is older they'll be able to handle the more 'grown-up' adventure sites like GoApe - and adults can join in too! So, if your child loves being active, this is sure to excite them!
If you want to take the excitement up a notch, you could treat your little one to a go-karting day out with a few friends. Most centres will have cars available for a variety of ages, and the kids will absolutely love the thrill. They'll be able to get into the competitive spirit too, and you'll be able to snap some great pictures!
Not for the faint-hearted, but adventurous kids will love this! Most paintballing sites will offer kids' birthday parties with more child-friendly equipment, so you don't need to worry about it being too dangerous.
Kids will be able to dress up in all the correct gear, and they'll have fun feeling like they're living out a real-life action film. They'll definitely be tired out after this one, though, so pillows in the car are a must!
Outdoor cinema or garden camping
For a more chilled out birthday party, why not create an outdoor cinema or camping experience for your child in your garden? Simply set a up a projector in the garden and use a bedsheet as the screen (unless you have your own screen) to create a cosy outdoor cinema. Small projectors can be reasonably cheap, and some will even link to your smartphone.
The kids will love the feeling of 'camping out' in the garden, and if you want to extend the experience even more, you could grab some tents and let them properly camp outside overnight . Just remember to leave them a key in case they need to pop inside for the toilet, or they get too cold to sleep outside!
Who to invite
By this age, your child will most likely have a close group of friends from primary school, plus a newer group of friends from high school - especially if all of their old friends haven't gone to the same secondary.
This is a great time for your teenager to spend some quality time with their close friends, but it might be that their guest list is longer than in previous years as their friendship group grows!
The size of the guest list will also depend on where you're hosting the party, which will partly help to make the decision for you. But a general etiquette rule is that if your child has been invited to a classmate's birthday party, then it's only kind to invite them back.
If you're hosting your child's party at a venue, you'll need to consider the per-head cost before inviting a big group. Plus, there might be a limit on how many kids can attend. For a day trip, you might find it easier to keep the guest list to a small group of close friends - especially if you want to fit them into one or two cars.
When it comes to invitations , it's a nice idea to get your child to make them themselves on a computer or tablet, so they feel even more involved. Or they might decide just to text friends, make a group chat or send invitations via social media if they all have smartphones. Either way, it's ideal to send invites out between two to four weeks in advance, and ask for RSVPs early too so that you can get organised.
Games and activities
By 14 years old, your birthday boy or girl might not want to play any games and will probably just prefer to hang out with their friends and watch a film or do some karaoke instead. After all, they'll probably be conscious about what's 'cool'!
If games are on the agenda, your guests will most likely be too old for traditional party games like pass the parcel or musical chairs. However, there are still some fun games and activities you can entertain them with!
Games-wise, try truth or dare for a small group - just make sure you pre-set the questions and dares on cards beforehand to stop things getting out of hand. You could also get kids to do blindfolded makeup on each other, which is sure to result in some memorable pictures!
For a more active game, try a scavenger hunt where kids search for specific items around the house, with prizes for the winners.
While your child might think they have outgrown games like pin the tail on the donkey, you can put a spin on it and play 'pin the accessory on the popstar'? Simply print out a photo of your teen's favourite celeb and an accessory of your choice. It'll feel much more grown up! 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.
Food and drink
If you're hosting your party at an organised venue, 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: If you want to go for buffet-style food, classic party foods like hot dogs , burgers, pizza slices and finger sandwiches will go down well. And you can always include some crudités, like carrot , cucumber or pepper, with different dips as a healthy option.
Afternoon tea: This will feel like a really grown-up alternative to the party food your child will be used to! Create your own afternoon tea experience with a cake stand, some cute tea cups, and plenty of finger sandwiches , scones , and little cakes . It's sure to feel super sophisticated!
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 themselves. You could get some plain 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 decide to go for a sit-down meal in a restaurant or for afternoon tea. Just make sure to check with parents for any dietary requirements.
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!
By age 14, your teen might be asking to have a little alcohol at their party. The Chief Medical Officer and the NHS strongly recommends that children don't try alcohol before they're 15 years old, so it's best to say no to this one. Why not try one of our mocktails for kids instead?
There are plenty of different options for birthday cake, depending on how much of a baker you are!
If you're looking for a personalised cake, most supermarkets will sell themed birthday cakes, whether it's a football or a ballerina - or you can contact your local cake maker for something extra personal. Guaranteed your 14-year-old will be impressed and it'll make for great pictures!
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. When it comes to decorations, your teenager will be past the days of a caterpillar cake, but you can always design a cake around their favourite fictional character or popstar , which they're sure to love!
Cupcakes can also be a nice alternative to a traditional birthday cake, and you can decorate each one in a different way, whether it's different TV characters or YouTubers , for example.
We've got more cake decoration ideas for you to follow here . And 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 everyone gets something healthy too.
Ice cream is also a must, especially in the summer. 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!
Now that your child is a teenager, knowing what to buy for them can be tricky. But the good news is: they'll probably be very clear about what they like and don't like, and what's 'cool' and what's not, so you'll have some idea of what they want!
If they've already got a smartphone, accessories like a smartwatch will excite them, and one with a teen-friendly theme, like Star Wars, will be even more fun! Similarly, other gadgets like headphones , a virtual reality headset , or a kids' drone are gifts they're sure to love.
If you want to take it back to basics with a classic board game, try one with a cool new twist, like the latest voice-activated version of Monopoly ( see more details here at Amazon) . Otherwise, if they've enjoyed completing an Escape Room in real life, why not surprise them with a board game version, too? See more details here at Amazon.
Meanwhile, if your teen's an avid reader, some young adult fiction books will always go down well - or will encourage more reluctant readers to read alone. And for outdoorsy gifts, a bike or some roller skates will mean hours of fun!
Plus, as your child is becoming a young adult, it's a nice idea to treat them to something that will make them feel more 'grown up', if you wish, like some special jewellery , makeup , or an eau de toilette as an alternative to perfume.
Now that your child is older, they might not want to give a party bag to their guests. However, if they do still want to give guests a small gift each to take home, these are some ideas...
Simple larger presents, like a football , a fun sweets set in a cute jar, or a hot chocolate set in a personalised mug can work really well.
Otherwise, having the kids all make matching friendship bracelets , or giving them a set to take away and make them at home, can be a nice sentimental present. Personalised keyrings will also work well.
If you do still want to give party bags, you can include more 'grown-up' pieces like some makeup, such as lip balms , nail polishes or cute makeup bags , or whichever collector's cards are the most on-trend.
And if you're hosting at an organised venue, party bags or small gifts will likely be included, so you won't need to worry.
Plus, to combat any concerns about plastic waste, paper or fabric bags are great alternatives. Oh, and don't forget the cake !
Tips for a great 14th 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:
- Plan your journeys: If you're taking a group out on a day trip, 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! You can even get your child to make their own thank you notes to send out on a computer or tablet.
- Set an end time on the 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.
- Let your child do the planning. At this age, your teenager will most likely want to take control over their birthday party, and you might decide that they're old enough to do so! If you let them take the reigns, just make sure you have them check everything with you, so that it doesn't become too elaborate!
- 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!
- Ask guests to send you their photos. By 14, some of your child's friends might now be on social media or have their own smartphones. As well as keeping an eye on what gets uploaded to social media, it's a good idea to ask your child's friends to send you their pictures before they leave, too. That way, you won't miss out on any gems for the album!
Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out our articles below, or swap tips with other parents in our forum.
More on kids' parties
Does your child have a sibling with a birthday coming up? Check out our other birthday party guides by age:
1-year-old birthday • 2-year-old birthday • 3-year-old birthday • 4-year-old birthday • 5-year-old birthday • 6-year-old birthday • 7-year-old birthday • 8-year-old birthday • 9-year-old birthday • 10-year-old birthday • 11-year-old birthday • 12-year-old birthday • 13-year-old birthday • 14-year-old birthday • birthday ideas for older teens
Or browse party ideas by theme:
Dinosaur party • Disco party • Festival party • First birthday party • Frozen party • Mermaid party • NYE party • Pamper party • Pirate party • Pizza party • Sleepover party • Space party • Tea party • Toy Story party • Trampoline sleepover party • Unicorn party