If your kids have done the local soft play to death and are looking for a new challenge, consider one of these unusual party themes and ideas.
There’s nothing wrong with sandwiches and an entertainer in the local hall, but sometimes a birthday calls for something more inspired. Here are some ideas for more unusual and adventurous children’s parties – though don’t be surprised if the other parents resent you for upping the ante.
Every parent thinks their kids should be out climbing trees, but panics like mad when they actually do it. The Big Tree Climbing Company organises squirrel parties, supervised by trained instructors, which give children the chance to get right up in the branches.
Again, this one’s for slightly older kids (ages 7 and over). If you’ve a suitable tree at home, you can have your party there, or book spaces at one of their pre-organised events, which take place at National Trust properties throughout the country. It’s relatively affordable too, costing an average £15.50-£19 per person.
Always wanted to spend a night at the museum? The Natural History Museum organises Dino Snores, where dinosaur-obsessed children can actually spend the night with the diplodocus, or under the giant blue whale.
After a torch-lit trail of the Dinosaurs’ Gallery, kids get to make their own dinosaur T-shirt and watch a fun science display. In the morning there’s breakfast and a live-animal show, and everybody gets take-home souvenirs.
It costs £60 per person (£54 for members) and suits children aged 7-11. They must be accompanied, but the adults will likely get as much out of it as they do.
Think kids these days are too weak and namby-pamby? Then toughen them up with a Bear Grylls survival party. Members of Grylls’ team will come and train your charges in the lost arts of shelter-building and fire-lighting, along with camouflage and concealment. Food is an Army ration pack and there’s a gross-out snack of worms… not kidding.
Each party is bespoke, which is reflected in the price: you’re looking at £140 per child (less if you can supply the venue). But we know a boy who went to one and called it ‘the best day of his life’. No one ever said that about a Nando’s party. Suitable for over-8s.
If you can’t make it to the museum, you can always have the museum come to you. Dinoman offers tailor-made children’s parties, complete with life-sized dinosaurs and rare Jurassic artefacts. There are dinosaur games and crafts, such as casting fossil replicas and making feather dinosaurs. Kids can also meet a giant African tortoise.
It’s all run by Peter Ta’Bois, a museum curator and dinosaur expert, so not only will kids have a blast – they’ll come away having actually learned something.
Prices vary, depending on what’s involved, so call for a quote. Available throughout London and the South East.
Spinney Hollow is a beautiful 10-acre wood on the edge of the South Downs, near Winchester. It provides what it likes to think are the ultimate in children’s parties, with plenty of fun, games and wholesome woodland craft: from whittling swords to tracking mythical creatures with the theatrically trained party leaders.
Children can pick their own theme, such as pirate or knight, and all activities are then tailored around it. Parties are tailor-made to suit the child, so prices vary – email for a quote.