Organizing a party for a teenager isn't quite the same as party planning for a young child. With a little one, all you need is some cake, ice cream and a few party games -- and your party will likely be an instant success. Your teen's birthday party will typically require a bit more thought and creativity. However, if you use your teen's interests as your compass to plan the perfect birthday celebration, he might just think you're the coolest parent on the planet -- for an entire day.
Organize a day at the spa for your teenage daughter and a few of her closest friends. If it's a sweet 16, treat the group to manicures and pedicures, facials and hair and cosmetic makeovers to commemorate the occasion. Afterwards, take the girls out to lunch or dinner to show off their new looks. For other teen-year birthdays, opt for a special treatment or two for the group -- and then host a little luncheon at your home. If you're planning a party on a budget, you can create a teen spa at home -- let the girls give each other a few beauty treatments, or you can help if your daughter gives her approval.
Opt for a movie night if your teenager is a film fanatic. You can host the party at a local movie theater and catch the latest flick, or make it a home movie night with your teen's pick of classic flicks or new releases. Turn the recreation room into a comfortable movie theater with plush beanbag or cushion seating and movie posters on the walls. Serve typical cinema snacks, such as popcorn, soda pop and candies.
Host an adventurous party for your daredevil teen. You can book a party at a rock climbing facility, adventure course, paintball facility or go-kart track. Since many of these venues offer private party rooms on-site, you can bring along lunch and a birthday cake to enjoy after the adventure, or take the worn-out crowd home afterwards to recuperate with food and snacks.
Celebrate your sports-loving teen's birthday at one of his favorite team's games. Order the tickets for your teen and his friends well in advance -- and plan on a concession stand lunch to keep the group energized for cheering. If your teen is more interested in playing sports than watching them, rent out a local recreation center to host a birthday basketball game, or reserve a baseball diamond or some ice time for a friendly game of hockey.
Plan a party at the beach for a water-loving teenage crowd if the weather is right and you live near the shore. Organize a variety of water and land-based activities. You can have the teens play a round or two of Marco Polo in the water and a volleyball contest on the sand, or encourage the kids to relive their younger years with a creative sandcastle-building competition. Bring along a picnic lunch or dinner, or barbecue on the beach if it's allowed.