The old saying, “the more, the merrier,” suggests that a gathering is more fun with a large crowd, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, teenage birthday parties can quickly turn chaotic when a large number of guests attend. Hosting a birthday party for a small group of teens is easier on parents and allows kids to engage in activities that aren’t possible with a big group.
With a small group of three, four or five kids, a movie marathon sleepover becomes a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable way for teens to celebrate a birthday. Provide plenty of throw pillows and blankets in the designated “screening” area for teens to lounge on. Hook the television up to a stereo or surround-sound speakers and dim the lights for that theater effect. Make plenty of popcorn and provide a selection of PG-13 comedies and scary movies for teens to choose from. Make it extra special with a snack bar or table stocked with juice, soft drinks, pretzels and other refreshments and snacks. In nice weather, set a tent up in the backyard for a small group of teens to camp in overnight. Stock another tent with board games, cards and other activities for teens to do throughout the night. Or, have a teen casino night, and designate grown-ups to be game hosts at different tables. Offer bingo, keno, poker, black jack and other card games. Play with plastic betting chips and serve virgin cocktails like alcohol-free pina colada mix or lemon-lime soda with a splash of grenadine.
Taking your teen out for his birthday is much easier to do with a small group of friends. Have a pizza party at your local pizzeria, or treat the kids to a few games of bowling. Your teen might enjoy having her party at an arcade or ice skating rink. Your teen might also enjoy attending a concert with a few friends. For even less hassle, have parents drop off and pick guests up at the location where you’re celebrating.
House parties can quickly grow dull when few guests are in attendance. Keep a small group of teenagers engaged by providing plenty of party activities. Set up an arts and crafts station where teens can make their own Mardi Gras masks, beaded jewelry, clay sculptures or paper mache jewelry boxes. Or, stock a candy bar station with a variety of treats and have kids make their own goodie bags. Provide board games for teens to play and get a game of musical chairs or hot potato going. Play along to teens’ favorite songs to keep it interesting.
Pool parties are terrific for a small group of teens and parents alike, because the kids can enjoy themselves without feeling cramped and crowded, while parents can keep their eyes on all swimmers without difficulty. If you don’t have a pool or your teen’s birthday falls within winter months, take the kids to an indoor public pool or book a room at a hotel that has one. Provide pool activities like water Frisbee and volley ball, and organize games such as Marco Polo or swim races to keep kids occupied and engaged.