5 gender-neutral summer birthday party ideas

Almost every day is magical for a kid. However, when a birthday is around the corner, (or within six months if your kids are like mine) the excitement of planning their celebration takes over most conversations. It starts with, “Mom, can I have a chocolate cake when it’s my birthday?” and quickly turns to “Mom! Can we have ponies? Water balloons filled with frosting? Jump houses made of ice cream? Cake pops that turn into rocket ships? REAL superheroes?!”

Sure, winter birthdays get sledding, indoor jungle gyms or ice skating themes, but summer will get you birthdays under the stars (with string lights), barbeques and outdoor ice cream stations.

Here are five gender-neutral themes to make your child’s summer birthday unforgettable.

Drive-In movie party

It starts with the invitations. Design them like movie tickets, with all the details they’ll need for your event. Kids can ride, or “drive-in”, their bikes and scooters and park them in the lawn. Lay out a ton of blankets to show the kids where to sit. You’ll need to rent a movie or projector set from a party rental place, but that will be the big splurge that will be 100 percent worth it–and will keep your house clean. Another must? A popcorn station. Kids can mix their popcorn with their favorite candies and pretzels. When it starts to get dark, pass out the glow sticks, the take-out pizza and the Twizzlers. Google “Popcorn Cake” for the perfectly themed cake!

Red white & blue barbecue

There is no shortage of patriotic flare in the summer, especially before the Fourth. Load up on flags, streamers and bunting. Fruit dishes of watermelon stars, strawberries and blueberries are on point for the big day. Grill some hot dogs and burgers and you have yourself the perfect barbecue-themed party! Apple pie and firecracker popsicles make patriotic desserts. Google “Patriotic Sangria” and “M&M Flag Cakes” for some super cute red, white & blue fun.

Taco ‘bout a party

Did you know you can rent a taco truck with all the fixin’s? Yes, heaven just visited your curb. Stock up on games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Cornhole (bean bags). The kids will love piñatas filled with their favorite small toys or candies. Little sombreros and mustaches make the most perfect photo props ever! Individual brown bags are perfect for a tortilla chip station, where kids can add nacho cheese, guacamole and mango salsa. What’s for dessert? Choco-Tacos are perfectly on theme. Google “Churro Chex Mix recipe” and “Mexican Grilled Corn.”

Make-Your-Own-Pizza party

Just bake or order some pizzas ahead of time so guests aren’t relying on the outcome of their favorite food … It could get messy! Bowls of toppings to choose from can include pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, bell peppers (to make fun smiley faces with), olives for eyeballs and, of course, cheese and pizza sauce. Break kids off into teams to create larger pizzas for sharing. Individual mini pizzas are super cute too, but require more oven space. Have kids decorate with their teams and then eat their special creations! Red and white plaid tablecloths and picnic tables are a must for the scenery. Sheet cake and soda is completely appropriate at a make-your-own pizza party!

Under the sea

Set out the sprinklers and slip-and-slides, and have kids bring their own bathing suits and towels. Blue and green sea glass colored balloons will look like under the sea bubbles. They’ll look adorable tied to blowing bubbles for the kids to play with when their not frolicking “under the sea (A.K.A. the sprinklers)”! Put out dishes of Swedish Fish, Goldfish crackers and Pirate’s Booty. Label a dish of gummy worms as “fish bait.” As a cheeky alternative, label Ring Pops as “mermaid bait.” Serve fish sticks or cut any sandwiches into starfish and seashells. Fill a treasure box with ring pops and gold chocolate coins for cute goodie bag fillers.

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