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Kid’s Birthday Party Place Ideas in Baltimore County

Are you looking for some ideas for places to have your child’s birthday party in Baltimore County? If you need ideas, here is my list of birthday party places around Baltimore County and other areas of Maryland, including nearby in Howard County Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County for toddlers, kids, tweens, and teens.

[Looking for creative ideas for kid’s birthday parties during the quarantine? See my list of virtual birthday parties for kids.]

With each idea I try to include links to Amazon.com for some ideas for party favors and sometimes educational gifts that go along with the party theme.

Looking for some great birthday gift ideas for your girl or boy? See my list!

First, here are some of the more typical birthday party place ideas from around Baltimore County. These are popular and possibly done too often (I am purposely not mentioning bouncy parties–I am so tired of them!), but kids of the right ages will usually have a great time:

  • Laser tag
    laser tag party
    (Ages 6+)
    Red Zone Adventures in Lutherville is a great place for a fun birthday party. Although alot of kids have laser tag birthday parties–there is a good reason. They have a great time every time! This is a good kids party place for older kids and teens.
    Locations: Lutherville/Timonium
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: LED Bumpy Ring, Magnetic drawing tabletsMini LED carabiner Flashlights
  • Bowling
    birthday bowling party
    (Ages 8+)
    Bowling parties are a great idea for older kids. The younger ones who may have trouble handling the ball will enjoy it less, and may get frustrated, even with bumpers in place. I’d definitely, strongly recommend using a duckpin alley because the balls are smaller and lighter so it’s a better venue for birthdays, especially for the younger kids. There is one in Parkville that offers kid’s parties.
    Locations: Parkville
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: ✳LED Rubberband Helicopters ✳(I love these!) or Rocket Copters

[Need a great solution for your child’s allowance? Check out my review of FamZoo.com, a debit card for kids]

  • Movie Parties
    Cinemark movie birthday party towson md
    (Ages 4+)
    Kids love going to the movies. Most people don’t think of it, but you can host a great party at some movie theaters. A great example in Balt. County is Cinemark in Towson. The theater has a party room, and if you have twenty or more guests, you can even do a private movie screening. Pretty cool! With the right movie, this party is a good idea for any age, and it’s definitely a great party place for toddlers.
    Locations: Towson
    ✳Party Favor IdeasKid’s Card GamesMini Uno CardsPuffy Kush Balls
  • Pool Parties (Age Range 1+)
    Indoor and outdoor pool parties are always fun for kids of any age from toddlers to teens. Great for a 1st birthday party.
    If your child likes swimming they’ll probably love the idea of inviting their friends to a swim party. There are lots of options for outdoor parties in the summer, but winter/colder months will require some research.
    As far as I know, your best bet in Baltimore County would be the YMCA, for example I know that the Y in Catonsville offers birthday parties, but I am not able to find a page for this on the website.  They definitely have a great pool for indoor pool parties in Baltimore County.
    Kid’s First Swim School in Perry Hall, Cockeysville, and Dundalk offers parties that would be good for younger kids.  Same with Goldfish Swim School in Owings Mills. These are especially good for toddler birthday parties.
    Otherwise, you may want to consider places like the Columbia Association swimming pools in Howard County.
    Locations: Catonsville, Dundalk, Cockeysville, Owings Mills, Perry Hall
    ✳Party Favor IdeasWater ToysGogglesFlip-Flop KeychainsHawaiian Flower LeisHibiscus Flower Hair Clips
  • Gymnastics Parties (Ages 2+)
    These parties tend to work out great — especially for toddler birthdays and for other younger kids. Everyone has fun running, jumping, and playing on gymnastics equipment, not to mention it’s great exercise. There are lots of gyms that offer birthday parties in Baltimore County. For example Rebounders in Timonium offers great parties as does Gymboree on Rossville Rd.
    ✳Party Favor IdeasRibbon WandsNecklacesJump Ropes
  • Indoor Parkour (Age Range +)
    Kids love to climb. The Alternate Routes gym in White Marsh takes it to the next level with indoor parkour birthday parties. Kids will train in a simulated urban environment to overcome obstacles. In short, they’ll have a great time getting worn out climbing and jumping. Sure to be a great birthday party.
    ✳Parkour Party Favor Ideas: Lego Bricks, Jump Ropes, Create Your Own Bouncy Balls Kit
  • Wonderfly Arena (Ages 3+)
     This is definitely a fun kind of party for even the tiny tots to teenagers. Imagine a party in a hamster ball. Just keep in mind that keeping these giant balls moving is alot of exercise with lots of motion–meaning people who aren’t in the best shape or get dizzy might not have fun. They do have other party options though!
    Locations: Arbutus
    Wonderfly Party Favor IdeasSilly Putty Balls
  • Basketball Party (Ages 5+)
    If you’re child is into basketball, there are a few places around Baltimore County for a themed party. Freestate Sports Arena in White Marsh or Goals in Catonsville can host a basketball party.  Also see Coppermine Fieldhouse locations in Baltimore City for more sports party ideas.
    Locations: Catonsville, White Marsh, Mt. Washington
    Basketball Party Favor Ideas: Atomic Basketballs, Basketball Mini-Stress Foam Balls, Basketball Keychains
  • Chuck E Cheese’s (Ages 3-7)
    I am not the biggest fan of Chuck E Cheese, but I know many families like it. There is a location in Catonsville. Token prices are low—maybe around 20 cents each depending on which package you get. This is a great party venue for toddlers and younger children.

Looking for some great gift ideas for your girl or boy? See my list!

And here are some more unusual ideas. These parties are possibly more memorable because they are more likely to be “one offs” that none of their classmates or friends have already done:

  • Escape Room Party (Age )
    There are a few escape room locations in the Baltimore area. The one I have experience with is Breakout Games (Timonium and Columbia). They offer several types of games. I am told that the best choice for kids is Museum Heist. They have no party room, and there isn’t really a group rate. You can just visit their website and purchase the number of tickets you need.Please note that you have to have an adult in the party and the maximum number of people is 8. So the most you can have is 7 kids. Still this is a great party, especially for older kids (Younger kids might find it frustrating rather than fun).
  • Fencing (Ages 8+)
    I am not sure if there is a fencing club in Baltimore County, however in Baltimore City there’s Chesapeake Fencing Club and then there’s the Baltimore Fencing Center in Columbia in Ellicott City, MD . Both of which have a great facility for unusual birthday parties. Guests learn the basics of fencing and can get a little practice in at the party. If you’re looking a different kind of party location, this is your place.
    Locations: Ellicott City, Baltimore City
  • Pirate Party
    Pirate Birthday Party
    (Ages 7+) on the Urban Pirate boat that sails from Baltimore Harbor.
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Gold Pirate CoinsPirate Eye Patches, Bandanas
  • Nature Center Parties (Ages 2+)
    There are several choices around Baltimore County for Nature Center birthday parties. One of the best is Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills. They have an excellent offering at a reasonable price. Fun for children of all ages.
    Location: Owings Mills
  • Craft Parties (Ages 4+)
    There are lots of options for this. One easy one is to have your party at either Michael’s (for example the one in Owings Mills/Reisterstown) or JoAnn Fabrics (stores in Parkville and Cockeysville). You may also want to check out Social Studio in Roland Park/Baltimore.
    Locations: Parkville, Cockeysville, Baltimore
  • Pottery Parties (Ages 6+)
    Paint your own pottery is a great idea for a birthday party. Kids in kindergarten and beyond will enjoy paint parties with their friends. In the Baltimore area, one of the best places is in Catonsville — the Pottery Cove.
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Playdough, Magnetic drawing tabletsPutty Balls
    Locations: Catonsville
  • iFly (Ages 3+)
    An amazing new venue in White Marsh! Possibly the most unusual idea on this list, indoor skydiving would make for a wonderful birthday party place. Your boy or girl will never forget this birthday party! Be warned, this is a bit of a pricey option, at the end, each child will probably only get maybe 2 to 4 minutes of flying time. I would suggest that due to the amount of patience needed while waiting for your turn to fly, this venue is best for kids older than 7 even though toddlers are welcome.
    Locations: White Marsh
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Parachute Cord Bracelets, LED Finger Lights
  • Rock Climbing (Ages 5+)
    Earth Treks has an amazing facility in Timonium that makes a wonderful place to host a bdp. Your kids will also definitely enjoy ClimbZone in White Marsh. Lots of great things to climb there.
    Locations: Timonium, White Marsh
  • Toy Store Party at AmuseToys (Ages 2-6)
    In Pikesville (Baltimore County). Parties in the lab are great fun. This is definitely a different kind of place to hold a birthday party.
    Locations: Pikesville
  • Indoor Playground (Ages 3 – 7)
    Kiddie Crusoe might be a good party place option for younger kids. Large indoor playground & party room.
  • Roller Skating (Ages 8+)
    There are three rinks in Baltimore County that all offer roller skating birthday parties. For example, Hot Skates in Woodlawn and Skateland in Putty Hill offer a party that is currently under $100.
    Locations: Woodlawn, Putty Hill
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Glowing GlovesGlowing Bracelets, Light Up Finger Rings
  • Rent a pavillion at Local Park (Ages 2+)
    The tire park at the Hilton area of Patapsco State Park. This is a two acre playground made from recycled tires. Loads of fun and the nearby pavilions  for a barbeque or just to hang out and do a craft. This is an inexpensive party venue, especially if you want to have lots of children attend. This is a particularly great party location for the warmer months.
    Locations: Catonsville
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Sidewalk Chalk, Bubble Wands, Beach Balls
  • Fire Station Birthdays(Ages 3-7)
    Many people don’t even know that you can host a birthday party at some of the fire stations in Baltimore County (Pikesville).  I know quite a few kids who love fire trucks and love birthdays…so why not combine the two. It’s fun for the kids, and they get some fire safety tips too! My only caveat would be that an emergency could potentially cut the party short.
    As an alternative, there is a Fire Museum in Towson that provides a pretty good bdp experience. It’s an interesting place for both adults and children. Toddlers are likely to get a thrill seeing all the fire equipment.
    ✳A great gift to go with this birthday party would be a pair of walkie talkies. Here is one suggestion for a pretty good pair–but please read my caveats about them in my gift ideas for brainy kids blog post.
    Locations: Towson, Pikesville, and other fire stations around Baltimore County.
  • Zoo Parties (Ages 1+)
    Wherever you are in Baltimore County, the Maryland Zoo isn’t very far. They offer great birthday party packages, and it is sure to be a great time for kids of all ages. Toddlers will really enjoy looking at all the animals, and even 8-year-olds and 9-year olds will have fun. The zoo is relatively small, which is really a plus. They do a great job of highlighting the animals, habitats, and ecology. A great place for a Maryland birthday party.
    Locations: Baltimore City
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Zoo Animal Headbands, Cat Keychains, Magic Snake
  • Maryland Science Center (Ages 6+)
    As you probably know, the Maryland Science Center is in the Inner Harbor. They offer several birthday party options . If you’re near Towson, you may also want to have a look at Snapology’s offerings.
    Location: Inner Harbor/Baltimore City, Towson
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Invisible Ink Pens, Rubik’s CubesAnimal Sticker Sheets
  • Day Spa Parties (Ages 4 – 14)
    Towson is home to SparTea The Pink Door Day Spa For Girls. A great place to have a glamorous spa party for your kid! You may also want to check out Twinkle Twinkle Little Spa also in Towson and Posh & Play Kids Spa (in Nottingham)
  • Aviation Museum Party (Ages 5+)
    This is a bit of a different kind of party. The airplane museum in Middle River offers birthday parties that are interesting, educational, and fun.
    Locations: Middle River, Maryland
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Inflatable Airplanes, foam gliders
  • Port Discovery (Ages 2 – 8)
    (Located in Baltimore City near the Inner Harbor) – Always a popular place to take kids for any reason, Port Discovery makes a great place for a birthday celebration. Depending on the package you get, this can be a rather pricey place to hold your party, and you really need to plan ahead because they need 2 months notice in most cases. Still, this is sure to be a fun, memorable experience for your child and their friends.
  • Granite Rose Tea Parlour (Ages 11+)
    Located in charming Granite, Md in Southwest Baltimore County ) – If you’re thinking of an especially fancy birthday party venue, this might be the place for you. Hosted in an authentic Victorian house, kids will enjoy attending a “real” tea party.
    I think this would be a great party for 11-year olds, and older, but if say you are looking for ideas for 7-year olds…perhaps extra-well-behaved 7-year-olds, they might also find this party interesting.
    Party Favor Ideas: Tea Party Hats, White Formal Gloves, Friendship Bracelets
  • Trampoline Party (Ages 5+)
    (Timonium) – SkyZone is the place to go for a trampoline party. Great atmosphere, lots of options including “sensory” jump hours for quieter time for kids with special needs. I hesitate a bit on this one, because I am concerned about safety issues–people do get hurt at these kind of places and that can really spoil a good time, especially if it is a serious injury. Having said that, SkyZone does a pretty good job of making trampolines as safe as possible.
  • IKEA – (Ages 13+)
    This might sound a little odd, but for some kinds, a party at IKEA may be great for teens and older kids. Friends dine in the cafe, and then have fun checking out the rooms. Photo contest anyone? $5 or less cactus plants for party favors…$1 ice cream cones. What could be better?
    Location: Whitemarsh

Hopefully this list of party ideas helps you out. If you can think of any places I missed, please comment below. Don’t forget to check out my list of gifts for gifted kids.

If you’re reading this during the quarantine, you may be looking for some more creative birthday party ideas. See my list of virtual birthday parties.

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Childrens' Birthday Parties kids activities Kids Birthday Parties Party Ideas

Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Howard County MD

Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Maryland.

SEE MY LIST OF 53+ IDEAS FOR KID’S BIRTHDAY PARTIES AROUND HOWARD COUNTY BELOW – UPDATED March 27, 2020.

Wondering what to do for a birthday party during quarantine? Consider an iparty. For example, Idea Lab has STEM iparties.

There are so many great location options for indoor and outdoor birthday parties for kids in Howard County. I have compiled a list of birthday party ideas–some of the party places are popular, but others more unusual, creative, and even a few unique ideas.

Please note that these are not paid listings–this is simply my own list of birthday party places. I have added the birthday venues here because I have used them for my own kids, been to a party there, or have it on authority from other parents.

There are few “negative” recommendations in the list below too–places that might be popular go-tos, but like the bouncy birthday parties mentioned above, they should be avoided.

Again, all of the recommendations are my own, and I am not paid by the venues listed.  This post does contain sponsored links to party favors Amazon.com. Hopefully you’ll find the party favor ideas helpful, but they aren’t related to why I chose each location.

(Please also see my post about what to give out as party favors and if you’re looking for some great gift ideas, see my post Gift Ideas for Brainy Kids!)

Since I live in Howard County Maryland, this list of indoor and outdoor places to have children’s birthday parties pertains specifically to this area, but many of the things in the list would apply to anywhere USA–you just have to look around for a similar venue in your area.

Let me know what you think of this party list–since this is one of the busiest posts on my blog, idea contributions are very welcomed!

I also have created a similar birthday place list for Anne Arundel County and party places for kids in Baltimore County as well.

List of places to have kids birthday parties:

  1. Nature Centers (Ages 2-10)
    Howard County Conservancy birthday parties are great

    Offers some great birthday party options that aren’t overdone.  Great for toddlers and older kids alike. Not many people have their parties at a nature center, but they’re really quite nice…and educational.In Howard County, we have two nature centers that offer parties:  Robinson Nature Center and Howard County Conservancy.
    There are lots of party options to enjoy. For example, a great fall birthday party idea would be a campfire party at the Howard County Conservancy.  A naturalist leads the kids through activities and making s’mores.Robinson Nature Center offers several different kinds of parties at different price points mostly for ages 2 and up.

    For instance they have a nature puppet theater party, a butterfly party, a nature hike party, or even a full-dome movie party in the planetarium which looks like it would be a blast!

    All of this means that these nature centers are a wonderful place for a 5th birthday party all the way up to maybe 10th or 11th birthday. Parties range in price from $325 to $400 at this writing and party rooms are available.

    ✳Nature Center Party Favor Ideas: Bamboo PlantsMiracle Grow Seed Pods, Tickle Plant SeedsBinoculars

  2. Farm Birthday Parties  (Ages 2-8)
    Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City is very popular. In the fall, you could consider an apple or berry harvest party at Larriland farm (Ages 2-12)–check the harvest calendar to see what is ripe.  Educational and fun–plus the pickings are the party favor. Clark’s Elioak Farm is definitely a great standby party venue for toddlers.

    Breezy Hill Farm (Ages 2-8) – Breezy Hill’s biggest draw is its alpaca herd, although they also have rabbits, goats, sheep and chickens. Take a tour of this working farm with your group.This will be especially fun for a toddler party, but certainly 8-year-olds and younger will have a great time…really this should be enjoyable for anyone. Alpacas are gentle, graceful animals and you may be able to get one to pose with your party group.
    Party Favor Ideas: Straw HatsTickle Plant Seeds, Succulent Plants

Need unusual gift ideas for the birthday boy or girl? See my list of educational present ideas for kids. (Opens in a new tab)

  1. Zip Lining and Tree Adventures (Ages 8 and older)
    Birthday Party Places in Maryland - Zip Line Party

    Sandy Spring Adventure Park and Terrapin Adventures. Outdoor adventure parties in the trees are very cool.  Kids must be at least 8 to be able to participate in a treetop party at Sandy Spring Adventure Park, but if you’re looking for a place that will keep older kids busy, this is for you.

    These are great parties for 13 year olds, even sweet sixteens…Sandy Spring Adventure Park is just outside Howard County, while Terrapin Adventures is in Savage, Md near Savage Mill.

    Kids will enjoy being challenged at both venues, however I think Sandy Spring Adventure Park has a more extensive course. Definitely recommended. Party packages at Sandy Spring Adventure Park may include party favors.
    Party Favor Ideas: Carabiners

  2. Craft and Painting Parties (Ages 4-13)
    Pottery painting birthday party

    Michael’s craft store parties (price depends on craft chosen) and Joann Fabrics Parties are relatively popular and their stores all seem to have some sort of party room.  There are also several pottery painting businesses around.The parties center on the kids creating and/or painting a piece of pottery. Another great option is the Columbia Art Center. They have preset parties that look like great fun in a nice atmosphere. They have a variety of available party themes (even Minecraft!) and parties can be on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

    In Ellicott City, there is the Pottery Stop which is a combination coffee shop and ceramics studio–they have a small party room.If you are bringing a small group of kids (maybe 5 or less), you may be able to just “drop in” to the store and make your own party there.

    You are allowed to bring in outside food although they do offer a few snacks and a full coffee/hot chocolate menu. There is a Qdoba restaurant next door to the Pottery Stop, so you can get quesadillas or tacos there and bring them into the Pottery Stop.Unless you setup a birthday party package, there are no reservations, so you have to be careful to pick a day and time when they aren’t likely to be so busy that you won’t find a table for your party. You may want to call and ask what the most strategic times to set your party, but probably the safest time is right at opening time.For example, we had a party there the weekend before Valentine’s Day in the mid-afternoon and it was quite busy, we were lucky to get a table for 4. Still, the children had a really good time.

    The added bonus is that the item the kids paint is also the party favor. Note that it takes a week for them to fire the kids’ creations in the kiln, so plan to come back and pick up the items and then distribute them back to their owners.

    If you’re in Laurel or Maple Lawn, or in the Northern side of Montgomery County, you might find Burning Down the House in Fulton a more convenient place for a pottery party. I’ve driven past it enough on Scaggsville Road, but I have never been there.Yet another option is Pinot’s Pallet in Elliott City. This is a great place to hold a painting party for kids (or adults!).

    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Playdough, Magnetic drawing tabletsPutty Balls

  1. Race Car Driving (Ages 5+)
    go-cart-birthday-party
    Autobahn Indoor Go Cart Speedway
      in Jessup Maryland. Looks like a blast with exclusive track time for your party.  Kids five and up will love this place.
    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Balloon Racers
  2. Indoor Pool Parties (Ages 2+)
    indoor pool birthday partiesKid’s First Swim School, Columbia Association, Lifetime Fitness, or Goldfish Swim School. About $250 for an hour of swimming and an hour of party room use.  There are also other venues that offer kid’s pool parties.

    If you’re a member of Lifetime Fitness, they also do a good job (see below) and offer a competitive package.  Kids love pools and especially if you have a winter birthday, an indoor pool party is a welcome reminder of summer fun.  Party favors might include swim goggles or water toys.  One tip would be to have one parent stay dry while the other gets in the pool with the kids–this way you have your bases covered.

    The Columbia Association has pool parties and I generally do NOT recommend parties there because of crowding at the Columbia Swim Center indoor pool. Although there are some fun aspects to the splashdown attraction, they do not control the number of kids, which can be no fun. I would only recommend this party for older kids on off hours.

    If you’re in Ellicott City, you may want to consider having your pool party at the Roger Carter Center. They offer reasonably priced party packages.

    ✳Party Favor Ideas: Water Toys, Goggles, Flip-Flop Keychains, Hawaiian Flower Leis, Hibiscus Flower Hair Clips

[Need an kid’s allowance and chore reward solution? Check out my review of FamZoo Debit Cards for Kids]

      1. Indoor Playground Party (Ages 2-7)
        Play Date Junction (Elkridge, Md) and Hyperkids (Snowden River Parkway in Columbia) Play Date Junction is part gym, part indoor playground, part learning kitchen. Hyperkids in Columbia is similar. These are both great places to host a birthday party for younger children.
      2. ballet BDPBallet and Dance Parties (Ages 2-10).
        This is a no-brainer for young girls, but boys can have fun at dance parties too.  Most of the time, the gyms will give you a choice as to the style of dance you’d like the kids to learn as part of the celebration so instead of ballet you might do a jazz or even hip hop birthday. For ballet parties, girls will enjoy dressing up like prima ballerinas. Pricing varies about $130 at Joyful Motion Dance Studio in Savage Mill. Also, check with Turning Point Dance Academy in Elkridge, Md.
        ✳Ballet Party Favor Ideas: Flashlights, Jump Ropes, Streamer Wands, Lucky Bamboo Plants
      3. Gymnastics Parties (Ages 2-8)
        Gymnastics BDP Places
        There are plenty of places to hold gymnastics parties.  One of the best experiences I’ve had was at My Gym in Columbia, MD.  The staff was attentive and the kids had a great time–unfortunately their prices are kind of high.
        You may also want to check out Top Flight Gymnastics on Redland Road in Ellicott City or KidsTime.Live in Laurel. These are great party locations for toddlers and younger kids.
        Locations: Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, other locations around Howard County
        ✳Gymnastics Party Favor Ideas: Ribbon Wands, Necklaces, Jump Ropes

            •  Build-A-Bear (Ages 2-7)
              build a bear annapolis mall
              This will cost you about $20/kid and they have a six kid minimum. Very good experience  with four and five year olds.  There is a build-a-bear location in Columbia Mall.  When we had our party there, we had birthday cake first in the food court.  We got to the mall early enough to reserve some tables for the party guests…and it worked out fine.
              ✳Party Favor Ideas: Bubbles, Squishies
            • Lifetime Fitness Parties (Ages 4+)
              They offer parties with a rock wall, swimming, basketball etc… – Cost is about $275 for 2 hours including pizza and drinks.  The fee covers 12 guests.  Additional kids are $20/each extra. (Prices can vary by gym location!)  Extra pizzas for adults are $10/each. Two party coordinators are included and they do a great job of making sure everything is going well…they even set up your decorations for you (you have to provide decorations, plates, napkins, party favor bags, etc). If you are a Lifetime Fitness member, I would recommend the parties there.  (Read my review of lifetime fitness). Here is the information sheet Lifetime Fitness gives you when you want to book a party. The parties here would be appropriate for kids as old as 10-12 years old, even older teenagers.
              ✳Party Favor Ideas: Glowstick eyeglasses, Sports Scope Games, EOS lip balm.
            • Idea Lab Parties (Ages: 4+)
              Birthday Party Place - STEM Ellicott City - Route 108
              Have a STEM-related birthday party in Columbia at the Idea Lab. This is so nerdy. Lots of possible party themes for kids to have a great time: Jedi training, video production, minecraft, slime, cooking/baking…and much more.

              This is the place to have a nerdfest of a party. Located off Red Branch Road/Route 108 (near Shadowland).
              ✳Party Favor Ideas: Puzzle Cube Set

            • Bowling Parties (Ages 5+)
              birthday bowling party

              Duck pins are better for younger kids if there is a duck pin alley nearby.  Those are rare.  Around here I know there are duck pins in Silver Spring and Mt. Airy.

              You can always go for the larger pin bowling allies but I think it is less fun with the kids even with the lighter 6 pound balls and gutter bumpers the kids still have alot of trouble.I especially don’t recommend the Normandy bowling alley that’s off of Snowden River in Columbia.  Although it is a relatively nice alley, all the above problems apply, but then as part of the package they give the kids tokens for the game room.  That leads to huge frustration as there aren’t really any games young kids can even play! New: MainEvent in Columbia mall. The place looks like fun.
              ✳Party Favor Ideas: LED Rubberband Helicopters or Rocket Copters

            • Rock Climbing Age Range (6+)
              ClimbZone (301-317-1970) in Laurel or Earth Treks (Ages 5+)

              Indoor climbing wall birthday party - climb zone
              The bookcase climbing wall at
              Climbzone

              ClimbZone (301-317-1970)

              Compared to Earth Treks, the atmosphere at ClimbZone is less serious and more fun. They have done a fantastic job of making it less serious but making the climbing walls into interesting sculptures and objects, rather than the same old walls. For example, they have a wall that looks like Mount Rushmore and another one that’s a replica of a gigantic bookcase. Kids love it.

              All of their walls have auto-belay so you don’t have to worry about having someone paying attention and belaying the kids. This is a huge advantage, especially because kids 6 and up will likely be able to hook themselves in to any wall and start climbing! They also have some bouncy houses and slides for younger kids. There are party rooms available in this very new facility.

              Earth Treks (Columbia Location – 410-872-0060)

              Earth Trek’s rock climbing facility offers kids birthday parties — locations in Rockville, Columbia and Timonium.  Pricing as of this writing is $225 for 1-10 participants and $325 for 11-15 participants at the Columbia, MD location.  (Lifetime fitness also offers rock climbing parties but you have to be a member)  Earth Treks has a few “party rooms” that have their own climbing walls.  I’ve been to a party here for five year olds and it worked very well–the kids had a great time.  They provided four climbing instructors who put the harnesses on the kids and belayed them.  Very nice.

    Need unusual gift ideas for the birthday boy or girl? See my list of educational present ideas for kids. (Opens in a new tab)
              1. Roller Skating  (Ages 5+)
                roller skating party
                The Laurel Roller Rink (Laurel on Route 1 in Howard County – 301-725-8070) and the Supreme Sports Club Skating Arena (Columbia off Snowden River- 410-381-5355)  both offer great kids birthday parties.Laurel Skating rink offers parties that start at $110 for 11 skaters (additional skaters $11/each). This is a bargain and includes ice cream cups, plates, napkins and spoons. Plus skate rental for all of the party skaters, and a free pass to skate next time for the birthday girl or boy.  You can bring cake, but outside food isn’t permitted, so you may need to make arrangements for other food with the rink.
              2. Roller skating birthday party prices
                Laurel Roller Skating Center Birthday Party Prices as of March 2017

                Private parties are available as well, but at a much higher price point. A 2-hour session on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for up to 50 skaters/2 hours is $450+.

                Supreme Sports Club offers private skating parties for $600.  Regular parties held during a public session are more like $250 and include pizza and cake for 10 kids. They often have several parties going on at the same time and they don’t have a separate party room–they just spread the parties out over various areas of the roller skating rink.
                If you’ve got a girl between the ages of 10-13, they also offer a sleepover party. See below.
                Locations: Laurel, Columbia
                ✳Party Favor Ideas: Fishnet Gloves, Personalized Thank You Stickers, Glow Sticks

              3. Indoor Obstacle Course (Ages 6+)
                Ninjabe Birthday party review

                NOT RECOMMENDED because of safety concerns. This is a relative newcomer in Columbia. Ninjabe recently opened. It provides an indoor warrior obstacle course (think “American Gladiator”), inflatable obstacle course, small climbing walls, and there’s even a mechanical bull. Kids seem to find this place to be quite a bit of fun.
                They provide a welcomed place for parents to watch (or ignore) the goings ons- the “parent zen room.” It’s a party that includes a cardio workout. Party rooms and party hosts are provided. I thought the place was pretty good overall, but I couldn’t escape the “birthday party factory” feel.I don’t recommend NinjaBe because kids get hurt there. I recently requested information from Howard County Fire and Rescue and was told that from 10/10/2018 – 10/11/2019, they were called there 13 times. That’s just the ambulance calls — injuries that were bad enough to require paramedics. I know 2 people who have been hurt here–one required surgery for a broken ankle.

                There are definitely many more people who make their way to the emergency room without an ambulance. Just something to keep in mind when you sign the waiver for your child here or invite other people’s children.
                Location: Columbia, Maryland
                ✳Party Favor IdeasLED Bumpy Ring, Mini LED carabiner Flashlights

              4. Ice Skating (Ages 5+)
                There are ice rinks around the county, but two in particular stand out.  The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD and the Columbia Association Ice Rink in Columbia MD both offer a birthday party package.
                Locations: Laurel, Columbia
                ✳Ice Skating Party Favor Ideas: Squirmels, Friendship Bracelets
              5. Laser Tag (Ages 5+)
                laser tag party
                Shadowland in Ellicott City (410-740-9100) and LaserXP in Laurel (410) 833-6611).   Laser tag parties are always a favorite with kids of any age. Shadowland in Ellicott City/Columbia is located on Red Branch Road just off Route 108. They have four party rooms and do a good job of making the party easy for parents. The parties consist of two laser tag games that take about 20 minutes each, and the rest of the time in the party room for a total of two hours. There’s also a very nice arcade at this location.

                At LaserXP, you can actually buyout the whole place for your birthday party–expensive option, but one that isn’t available at Shadowland. They will typically have another birthday party going on a the same time as yours, and you will probably end up battling the other party in a game of tag.
                Locations: Laurel, Ellicott City/Columbia
                ✳Party Favor Ideas: LED Bumpy Ring, Mini LED carabiner Flashlights

              6. Lush Handmade Cosmetics Party  (Ages 7+)
                Who knew that Lush offered private parties? They look like loads of fun…lots of options including “Beauty School” and make a bath bomb. I am not actually sure what the minimum age would be, but I think probably seven year olds or older would enjoy this party.
                Location: The Mall in Columbia
              7. Indoor Miniature Golf (Ages 7+)
                minature golf
                Monster Mini Golf in Jessup.  Pretty loud and kind of scary for a young kid in there, so check it out and see if it is appropriate for your child first.
                Party Favor Ideas: Frisbees, For older kids: Drink Bags that Look Like IV bags
              8. Sports Center Parties (Ages 5+)
                There are a variety of venues where you could have an indoor or outdoor soccer, lacrosse or basketball party.  For example, in Jessup in Howard County, MD there is the Soccerdome which allows you to rent a field and let the kids play soccer for an hour and then has an area for pizza and cake.  There is also the Columbia Association SportsPark. If your boy or girl is a baseball fan, they may like to have a baseball party at Professional Baseball Training in Ellicott City, Extra Innings in Elkridge.
                Human Soccer Ball Birthday Party in Columbia, Md
                For soccer fans looking for something a little different, there’s “bubble ball” at the Soccer Stop in Columbia, Md. What could be more fun for a birthday? The kids get inside giant inflatable balls and roll around the soccer field.
                Party Favor Ideas: Bouncy Soccer Balls, Soccer Whistles, Soccer Stress Balls, Soccer Birthday Candles, Soccer Key Chains, Soccer Pinata
              9. Karate Birthday Parties (Ages 6+)
                Harraday’s Karate & Fitness offers martial arts instruction birthday parties in Columbia near Home Depot.
              10. Pirate Party  (Ages 7+)
                Pirate Birthday Party
                Take a trip on the Urban Pirate boat that sails from Baltimore.
                ✳Party Favor Ideas: Gold Pirate CoinsPirate Eye Patches, Bandanas
              11. Tea Party (Ages 7+)
                Tea Parties at home are always fun, but for something more sophisticated, you could try Tea on the Tiber Victorian Tea Room in Ellicott City. (An interesting experience for a regular visit as well–try out  high tea one afternoon.)
                Locations: Historic Ellicott City
                ✳Party Favor Ideas: Decorate Your Own Teacups
              12. Indoor Playground Party (Ages 2-7)
                You can book a party at the Play -n- Learn playground equipment show room in Columbia.  I have never been to a party there, but  it sounds really fun. Weekday parties are $219 for two hours of playtime on the indoor playground. Weekend parties are $269. You can also book a party after hours for $369 on weekends. If you don’t mind traveling, there is a great indoor playspace in Rockville called Badlands.
              13. trampoline party
                A SkyZone jump “room”–each child gets their own square of
                Trampoline.

                Trampoline Parties (Ages 5+)
                SkyZone  and Launch
                Indoor trampoline parks in Columbia MD.  This venue has some similarities to the overdone JumpZone inflatable parties, but this is a bit different since they have actual trampolines.

                SkyZone has created a very slick venue which looks engaging and fun.   Cost for a party on weekdays is $21/jumper. On weekends is $24/jumper.  There are packages starting at $240/party.

                They have party rooms for each birthday party.  Be sure and check the reviews as there seem to be a high proportion of unhappy customers.  So far I have been to two parties and I thought it was okay overall.  My main reservations are safety issues and the fact that in both cases I got the feeling that the party itself was kind of like a production line–by the way, I always got the same feeling at JumpZone! and Pump It Up.  They are setup so that each kid basically gets their own trampoline to make things a bit safer, but even so, someone was taken away in an ambulance during the first party I attended there.

                ✳Party Favor Ideas: Balloon Helicopters

              14. Escape Room Party at Breakout Games (Ages 10+)
                This is an unusual kind of birthday party. Your party must follow clues and solve mysteries to figure out how to “break out” of a specially designed room. Billed as a life-sized game of twists and turns, it’s sure to be a fun time!It’s possible to bring younger kids, but it may not be as enjoyable for them because they may not have the background knowledge needed to solve the puzzles. Contact Breakout Games to discuss possibilities for 9-year olds and younger.We tried the “Museum Heist” game with a group of 10-11 year olds.

                Solving the puzzles was definitely difficult and may even prove frustrating for some kids.Luckily, an employee watches over your progress and is able to give the group hints. Our group definitely needed more than a few, but even so we didn’t “break out.”
                You only get an hour, so when the time runs out, you’re done no matter how far you’ve progressed. I think if I took the same group back to play a second time (which I think they’d all be up for), they would do better on a different puzzle, now that they have the hang of the mindset needed to solve the riddles. BTW, an employee recommended we try “Kidnapping” next time we play as he felt that it is a solid game and may be more relatable for kids LOL.
                There is no party room, and there is a maximum of 8 guests–and one of those guests must be a responsible adult.If you decide to have a party there, keep in mind that other people can purchase tickets for the same game at the same time–so if you don’t want strangers, most likely adults, to join in your kid’s birthday party, you need to buy out the whole game.Ticket prices are about $28/each (There are no discounts for a large group, so a party of 8 will cost around $240 with taxes). You may be able to solve a puzzle to get a coupon code. By the way if you’re looking for food nearby, there is a Bertucci’s Pizza near the Columbia location.
                ✳Escape Room Party Favor IdeasMini Magnetic Board Games, Mini Rubics Cubes, Mini Teaser Puzzles, Snake Twist Cube Toy

              15. Airsoft Paintball (Ages 11+)
                Airsoft indoor paintball course is loads of fun.  Located in Rockville, it is a bit of a trek from Howard County, but might be worth the trip.  Rumor has it that there is also an airsoft location in Beltsville, but I can’t find any information about it.
                ✳Paintball Party Favor Ideas: Compasses, Paracord Bracelets
              16. Museum Parties outside of Howard County (Ages 5+)
                Okay, these museum birthday parties aren’t in Howard County but what cool places for a birthday celebration. The Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, The B&O Railroad MuseumCollege Park Aviation Museum–if your child loves airplanes, this is the place to go!

                college park aviation museum for birthday fun
              17. Movie Theater Birthdays (Ages 3+)
                Kids love going to the movies–especially 3D movies that really bring in all the senses.  Some area theaters have party packages and even party rooms.

                A very good example of a movie theater with a party room is the Arundel Mills Cinemark Egyptian theater.  You could even roll an Egyptian theme into the party if you wanted.  Even if you decide not to use the group rates or party rooms, you may need to contact the theater when planning so you’ll know what choices will be available on the date of your party.  The movie itself can also become the theme of your party (ie-Transformers or Disney Princesses).
                Party Favor Ideas: Kid’s Card Games, Mini Uno CardsPuffy Kush Balls

              18. Whole Foods Cooking Party (Ages 5+)
                Some Whole Foods stores such as the one in Annapolis have culinary centers  which can be rented out for kids birthday parties.  They provide a host who will help the kids through making a pizza and pretzels.  Unfortunately, the Columbia, MD Whole Foods is one of the stores that doesn’t have a culinary center, however they do have a private cafe space that can seat 12 kids plus their parents.  For a party there you can pre-order party foods and cake.  If you have an event there (or anywhere else), take advantage of the healthy options that are available at Whole Foods and also consider alternatives to the standard party favors/gift bags. Chocolate Dessert Class party (Ages ?) I am still getting some details on the possibility of having a party in either Savage Mill or Ellicott City at a place called “Sweet Cascades Chocolatier.” They offer classes for kids and they are about $35/each child. It would definitely be a “sweet” party, especially if your child is into cooking.
              19. American Girl Doll Party  (Ages 4-9)
                Okay, not in Maryland and possibly not even very convenient for most Marylanders, but in Tysons Corner Mall in Northern Virginia, they have an American Girl doll store and you can have a birthday party there.  I don’t have any suggestions on the logistics of getting classmates and friends to the party, but I have heard good things about parties there.
                Location: Tyson’s Corner, VA
              20. Main Event or Dave and Busters (Ages 4+)
                like a carnival
                These two places are really busy with lots of things for kids to do. Main Event is very new to Howard County, and has quickly become very popular. Dave and Busters is fun, the Arundel Mills location has bowling and lots of games.
                Locations: Columbia, Md or Hanover, Md
                ✳Party Favor Ideas: Uno Mini Card GameFrisbees
          1. Six Flags America (Ages 8+)
            Not in Howard County, but close enough that it might make a great birthday party. Definitely on the pricier side of birthdays, but if the guest list is just two or three close friends, it probably would be a wash.
          2. Hot Pot Restaurants (Ages 13+)
            Possibly a bit expensive, but a great experience for a few friends to get together and cook/eat lunch. You might want to check it out ahead of time to make sure it would appeal to your teen.

            There are several options in Howard County, including Urban HotPot which just opened at Columbia Mall, and HotPot and Roll next to Lotte in Ellicott City. This location has a fun conveyor belt with various items you can add to your pot.

            Party Favor Ideas: Chinese Takeout Boxes, Sun Glasses

          3. Tire Playground Baltimore CountyRent a Pavilion at Centennial Park (Ages 2+) During the warmer months, there is always a great time to be had at Centennial Park.   The cost is about $150-180 dollars. Even cheaper: The tire park at the Hilton area of Patapsco State Park. This is a two acre playground made from recycled tires. Loads of fun and the nearby pavilions go relatively cheap (in Baltimore County).
            Party Favor Ideas: Sidewalk Chalk, Bubble Wands, Beach Balls
          4. Have a Lego Birthday Party (Ages 5-10)
            Bricks for Kids specializes in mobile lego parties in Howard County.  Seems like a very great idea if you’re having a home party or if you’re having a party at some other venue and need something to do (see below for party venue ideas).
            ✳Party Favor Ideas: Lego Favors
          5. Fire Museum Towson Birthday Party IdeaFire Station Birthdays (Ages 3-7)
            Many people don’t even know that you can host a birthday party at some of the fire stations in Howard County.  You can learn how to make an inquiry about it here. I know quite a few kids who love fire trucks and love birthdays…and they get some fire safety tips too! My only caveat would be that an emergency could potentially cut the party short. As an alternative, there is a Fire Museum in Towson that provides a pretty good experience. A great gift to go with this birthday party would be a pair of walkie talkies. Here is one suggestion for a pretty good pair.
          6. AmuseToys ( In Pikesville (Baltimore County) (Ages 2-6)
            Parties in the lab are great fun.
          7. Music Birthday Parties (Ages 2-7)
            There are several music schools in the area that host birthday parties. A great option is Oleynka School of Music in Columbia. They work with several age groups. Parties include high-energy music activities and games including songs, dance, activities using instruments, hula hoops, balls, parachutes, followed by a one hour celebration in their Party Room.
            ✳Party Favor Ideas: Maracas, Egg Shakers, Echo Microphones
          8. Drama and Comedy Workshop Parties (Ages 5+)
            There are some great opportunities around for drama and comedy related parties. Guest can take part in drama or comedy workshops at places like Drama Learning Center in Columbia or Improv Comedy in Baltimore.
          9. theater medieval times partyLive Theater Parties (Ages 3+) There is some great children’s theater in the area. Check with Toby’s Dinner Theater to see if they have appropriate shows.  You may also want to consider a party at Medieval Times in Arundel Mills.  If you can travel further, you will definitely like Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Any of the above will surely provide a memorable birthday! BTW, see my article on children’s theater in Maryland.
          10. iFly (Ages 3+)
            Okay, this isn’t nearby (in Whitemarsh), but it’s amazing! Possibly the most unusual idea on this list, indoor sky-diving would make for a wonderful birthday party. Your boy or girl will never forget this party!
            Party Favor Ideas: Parachute Cord Bracelets, LED Finger Lights
          11. Bowie Baysox Baseball Party (Ages 6+)
            If your daughter or son loves baseball, they’ll love having a birthday party at Baysox Stadium. Another possibility is getting tickets to a Baysox, Nationals or Orioles game and making a party out of that (the Washington Nationals have a birthday party package, I am not sure that the Orioles do, but they do have group ticket rates and party suites)
          12. Fencing (Ages 8+) – The Baltimore Fencing Center in Columbia on Rumsey Road has a great facility for unusual birthday parties. Guests learn the basics of fencing and can get a little practice in at the party.
          13. Supreme Sports Club Girls Only Sleepover (Ages 10-13)
            This party is for girls only and involves spending the night at the Columbia Association Supreme Sports Club. It seems to include alot of fun, but the cost is about $420 for members and $480 for non members. I can’t find a direct link to information about this party, but if you’re interested, just call.
          14. Table Tennis (Ages 9-14)
            This is would be a great party for older kids. You can rent the facility although there are restrictions on food and drink near the tables.
          15. Youth Teen Center
            Rent the Youth Teen Center for parties for teens at the Barn in Columbia.
          16. IKEA Ages: Teens 13+ – Yeah, that’s going to sound strange, but it works for older kids. Start with lunch in the cafe, then the kids can go through the store taking photos of themselves in the various demonstration areas. Photo contest anyone?I recently did this with my 13 year-old and 6 of her friends and they had a good time. Party favors were cactus plants on sale for less than $5. They also got $1 soft serve ice cream cones.
          17. Horse Back Riding
            Horse Back Riding Birthday Party
            Misty Manor Riding Stables can do trail ride birthday parties.
            ✳Party Favor Ideas: Horse ears headbands

    Suggestions based on age:

    Party PlaceAge 1-4Age 5-7Age 8-9Age 9-10Age 11-13Age 14+
    Pool PartyYesYesYesYesYesYes
    FarmsYesYesNoNoNoNo
    Craft PartiesYesYesYesYesNoNo
    Pottery StopNoYesYesYesYesYes
    Autobahn RacingNoNoYesYesYesYes
    Baseball BirthdaysNoYesYesYesYesYes
    iFly3+YesYesYesYesYes
    Live TheaterYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Firehouse Parties3+YesNoNoNoNo
    Fencing PartiesNoNoYesYesYesYes
    Roller Skating PartiesNoNoYesYesYesYes

  1. Home Birthday Party Ideas

    If you have room at home (or a relative’s home or decide to rent a party room such as at the North Laurel Community Center, The Meeting Room in Clarksville, Occasions Banquet Hall in North Laurel, or Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City) there are lots of great ideas for home-hosted parties.  For example hiring a magician, having a princess tea party or having someone bring in farm animals, etc.

  2. ✳Tip: For any birthday party consider getting a photo booth. These can be great fun and provide lasting memories. Choose your provider carefully. I’ve had great luck with Shelly’s Sweet Photo Booth (410) 961-2983.

    Here are some entertainers that I have seen that do a good job with home parties. For more ideas, see my other post about birthday party themes:

              • Science Themed Parties- There are a few performers you can get. One great choice is Mad Science–they have several performers that can come to your child’s party. I’ve seen Damu perform, he’s was fantastic. Request him if he’s available. I have also seen several shows by Eric Energy.  Eric did a pretty good job with “science-tainment”–he gets the kid’s involved in several science experiments that they are sure to love…a great party favor to go with this would a 10-pack of safety goggles.
              • You might also try doing a science party yourself if you’re ambitious–see Bird’s Party blog’s Mad Scientist Party how-to. If you like animals, you could have Reptile Wonders/Nature Center On The Go bring all sorts of interesting animals to your home.  Reptile wonders has huge turtles, a Burmese python, bearded dragon and various skinks for your party guests to see and handle.
              • Magic show for a Maryland Birthday PartyD’s Magic – Great magic show complete with rabbit and balloon sculpture.  Very entertaining.
              • Another idea is to have a Lego robotics birthday party–the crew from The Great Adventure Lab will bring lego robots to your party and spend time teaching the kids how to program them.  Sounds like a great experience and an unusual party.
              • Have an art-themed party. A colleague and friend of mine bought canvases and paints for the party attendees. She put nails in her fence and attached the canvases so each child would have an easel.
              • Petting Zoo party – If it’s in the budget, get Leesburg Animal Park to bring their petting zoo to your home. Kids will get to learn about and pet llamas, turtles, chickens, snakes, goats, and more
              • Kids all love a face-painters. Try Pirate Girl.
              • hire a caricature artist for birthday partiesConsider a caricature artist. George Edwards charges around $200 for 3 hours of art.
              • For a special flair of sophistication, and to perhaps make your job as host a little bit easier, consider hiring on a little bit of light catering. For example, the Omelette Guys provide omelette and Belgian waffle stations as well as pasta stations.

Do you have any ideas to share?  Don’t be shy about letting me know.  Also, be sure and browse my blog for birthday gift ideas and take a look at my comments about party favors–please choose a healthy option, choose to do something different. Also, here is my list of birthday party places in Anne Arundel County.

Categories
Childrens' Birthday Parties kids activities Kids Birthday Parties

Birthday Party Theme Ideas For Kids in Howard County Maryland

Looking for birthday party ideas for your child in Howard County, Maryland? Here are some themes and ideas to help you decide what type of party to have. [Looking for a special place to have your child’s party? Don’t miss my post with 50+ birthday party places in Howard County and birthday parties in Montgomery County.]

Since I have two children, I find myself at many different types of birthday parties lately–some of them original and loads of fun for the kids, and some of them…not so much. I have created this page to help parents out with some ideas, recommendations and resources.

Party Themes and Ideas

    1. Science Birthday Party: There are so many ways to have a science party. This is a wonderful idea for any kid, but will be especially popular with nerdier children. There are plenty of kits you can order for the party or bring in a science performer like Eric Energy. Party favors might include things like this Zanny Marble Kit from Amazon.com

Damu from Mad Science - science birthday party

        1. Who to hire:
          1. Mad Science: I recently saw a great show put on by Damu from Mad Science. He’s a DC Public School teacher with lots of talent and the kids love him. Be sure if request him if he’s available.
          2. Eric Energy: Eric is a popular birthday party performer in the area. He does a great job of getting the kids involved and talking up science!
          3. Harry Potter Theme Birthday party – There is so much you can do with this. Here are a few suggestions:
            1. Hire a magician, if you look you may find someone who is versed in Harry Potter spells. A great example is “Illusions By Vick” (443-540-9631) – He comes in character as Professor Snape and teaches kids about various spells.
            2. Get yourself some Harry Potter posters, or you may find some to download and print. Consider putting a “platform 9 3/4” on your front door.
            3. Serve butter beer
            4. Create “sorting hat” gift bags from paper bags…
            5. Create wands from chopsticks and hot glue.
    1. Talent Show Birthday Party: Kids are always willing to show off their talents, no matter what level they’re at. Why not capitalize on this by throwing a talent show party.
    2. Add to the fun: Create VIP Guest passes for the invitations or just send tickets along with each one. Make star shaped cupcakes. Get photos ahead of time from the parents so you can put up head shots of each kid who’s coming to the party.
    3. Who to hire to help: Catriona’s Castle Karen brings theater to your home or party location. A memorable and extremely fun party for your child!
    4. Painting Party: A step beyond your normal craft party. Purchase canvases and hang them on your backyard fence with nails, consider getting aprons and plastic palettes that guests can take as party favors along with their canvas. The main event of the party will be to have the kids paint a picture of their favorite animal.
birthday party idea - painting party
            1. Dinosaur Party: Kids will love this prehistoric party. The main event for the party will be a fossil hunt, which can be put together by the host or bring in a fossil expert. May be combined with a reptile party.
              1. Who to hire to help: Paleo Jim Fossil Hunting Adventures
      1. Reptile Party: This party works best if you have lots of live reptiles on hand. Don’t have lots of reptiles at home? See below for some ideas on who to hire. Make sure you get a cake that’s shaped like a lizard or snake!
        1. Who to hire: Reptile Wonder’s Nature Center on the Go
      2. Video Games Party: We know that kids love video games. So why not have a video game birthday party. You can hire Game Truck to come to your location. They bring a fancy truck with 4 gaming stations and an experienced game coach to make it all go.
        1. Who to hire: Game Truck
      3. Pony Ride Party: This has always been a favorite for kids. A pony themed party with actual ponies will be remembered for years to come.
        1. Who to hire: The Peppermint Pony
      4. Ice Age Party: Ice Age is a great movie to do a party theme from. Add some creative edges like freezing animal figures in blocks of ice and letting the kids find them and you’ve got some real fun.
Kona Ice snow cone truck for birthdays
        1. Who to hire: Kona snow-cone truck.
  1. Lego Party: Legos are great fun for kids. It’s easy to get lego-themed plates and napkins and perhaps even a lego cake! Start the party by having kids create balloon powered cars and maybe invite a guest who can bring in lego robotics kits for the kids to play with and learn!
    1. Who to hire: The Great Adventure Lab

Party Tips

Whether you’re having a birthday party at your house, or in a party, venue, you’ll need a party theme. Here are some theme ideas.

  1. For Any Birthday Party: Hire someone to do light catering. For example, kids of all ages would love a waffle or omelette bar. Give the Omelet Guys a call. It’s relatively inexpensive, so you’ll get lots of bang for your buck. Another great option would be to bring in someone to serve snow balls.
  2. For any birthday party: get a photo booth. These can be great fun and provide lasting memories. Choose your provider carefully. I’ve had good luck with Shelly’s Sweet Photo Booth (410) 961-2983.

Did I Miss Something?

There are so many great birthday party ideas! I’ve tried to list as many creative and helpful tips as I could here. Have any suggestions or ideas that I may have missed? Please leave a comment! Be sure and see my posts on gifts for brainy kidsparty favors and some great birthday present ideas for six and seven year olds and places to have birthday parties in Anne Arundel County, Howard County, and Baltimore County.

Disclaimer: Please check the references of anyone you may hire that is suggested here. Although these aren’t paid promotions, I do not know any of them well so can’t endorse them completely. If you do use anyone’s services, you do so at your own risk.

Categories
Childrens' Birthday Parties gifted and talented kids activities Kids Birthday Parties

Experiences Instead of Birthday Gifts Ideas for 6, 7 and 8 year-olds

Six and Seven Year Old Kids birthday gift ideas

Figuring out what to get a six, seven or 8 year old for their birthday (or for the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays) can be tricky.  So much depends on your budget and the child’s interests, but coming up with the perfect present isn’t easy.

Educational gifts like these(!) are a good idea, especially the ones that require participation with a parent or friend… but I always try to recommend that people look for experiences to combine with the gift, whatever it is.  I say this because even though children are used to expecting a tangible present, there is no better gift than their parents’ time.  Furthermore, if there is a birthday party with friends and family involved, they are bound to get their share of typical presents anyway.

A great example would be to take them to a children’s theater and see a play.  Then think of a gift that would coincide with the play’s theme or topic and get them something to go with that.  So for instance,  Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland often presents plays  that are based on children’s books –you could take your child to see the play and then present him or her with a copy of the book (or for a larger budget, perhaps a copy of the book on their new Kindle Fire Tablet).

It’s really the experience that they’ll always remember, and that’s why it is important to think about birthday presents this way.

Other experience ideas could be:

Ticket for birthday fun

– Tickets to a baseball, hockey or football game.

– A special sports lesson, maybe one that even includes mom or dad.  This could maybe be in the form of a mother and son tennis lesson perhaps with a new tennis racket to go with it. Or how about a father-daughter horseback riding lesson?

– Heading out to the coast and going on a whale watching boat ride for the day.

– Adopt a species or specific animal at the zoo.  Many local zoos have programs like this, but for example here is the program offered by the National Zoo in Washington DC.  When you adopt they send you a plush animal, certificate and photo.

– A year long membership to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  This is a gift that will keep giving experiences for long after the birthday is over.

– Spa day.  Again, this depends on the budget, but could be a really nice way for a parent and their kid to spend quality time together.

– Go on an outdoor/nature day trip.  This could be whitewater rafting, geocaching or a visit to an aerial adventure place.  For example in Maryland, you could go to Terrapin Adventures in Savage Mill – a crazy, high-flying, zip-lining good time your kid won’t forget anytime soon.

– Find a great class that you can take together.  There are so many examples, and some of them are more far-flung than others…for instance there is a trapeze school in Washington DC, how about a photography class together or you could learn to knit with your child: There are many ways to learn.  Have a look at Wool and the Gang–they offer kits to knit particular items.  You could also take lessons together at a craft store, for instance Michael’s occasionally offers knitting lessons.

pottery stop - paint pottery for a birthday experience

– Do another kind of craft together–either at home or elsewhere.  For example, The Pottery Stop in Ellicott City is a place where you and your child can select a plate, mug or other ceramic item and paint it while having snacks. There’s also a great place on Main Street in Annapolis called Clay Bakers.

– Instead of a gift per se, pick a charity to support with your child.  One wonderful family that I know of selected the Linus Project–a group that makes blankets for  homeless and hospitalized children.  Instead of people bringing gifts for the child they brought blanket making materials to the birthday party.  What a great way to teach a child compassion and a sense of pride in helping others–actually this extends to all the party guests and their parents.  What an especially a great idea if your family has enough “stuff”.  Why not give back?

Other ideas for presents

There are so many kinds of gifts to choose from…and again, it really depends on the kinds of things your child likes to do.  Here are a few more ideas for items that have done well in my household–I also have written a whole post on gift ideas for brainy kids (opens in a new window)–and really every kid is a brainy kid if the present is aligned with their interests–so definitely check out that post for a huge list of learning-enabled toys and gadgets.

My only guidelines would be to try to stay away from gifts that track or pigeonhole your kid.  This is especially true for girls.  Stay out of the “pink aisle” at Toys-R-Us if possible.  I would even suggest that if you wouldn’t get the gift for a boy, don’t get it for a girl either.  There are exceptions to this of course, again, this is especially true if your girl really loves to do hair or something like that, but I am just saying don’t quietly force them in that direction by thinking pink.  Instead spend money on things that really help prepare the kids for the future and don’t just waste time.

– Microscope: A good microscope such as the AmScope SE306R can be great fun for any child and can really open doors for them in science.   Microscopes help kids of all ages understand the world around them better and get them to ask questions and think like scientist.

If you decide to go this route and you can afford it, look for something better than the ones that are offered in the $20-30 dollar range if possible.  Although these are a good start, they will very quickly become a disappointment for kids who are really interested in them.  They tend to have poor quality lenses and poor quality lights making for a dismal experience beyond the basics.

The better ones tend to be more than $100 (and if you get really fancy, alot more than that).  The AmScope SE306R is still rather pricey, but for the features and functionality, that’s a pretty good price.  Most kids are curious–if it “really” works, they’ll think of many occasions to use it.

microscope magnified penny

Another great microscope that is especially good for younger kids (4-8+) is the Celestron InfiniView.  We have this microscope and it is so much fun.  It is more for looking “at” things up close rather than looking “through” them.  It has a stage that you can put objects on and then magnify them onto the LCD screen or your computer.  You can then take shots of what you see-for example to the left is a photo of a penny I had handy as I was writing this.  My girls LOVE this microscope.

– A Kindle: My kids read alot and they really love their ebook reader and checking out free ebooks from the library.  These are great presents and can be convenient for travel and medium-long drives.  Many of the public libraries now offer free downloadable eBooks for kids.

From the comfort of home you can get many great books from websites like Overdrive.com or Axis360. Check with your library to see if they offer free access.  Both Axis360 and Overdrive allow you to download 6 books at a time and you don’t have to worry about overdue fees because after the allotted checkout time, they just go back automatically.

You might also look into the Kindle Unlimited Program-unlimited book downloads for $9.99/month–sort of like Netflix for books. One thing to note is that you may elect to get a Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook that also acts as a tablet computer.  This can be a great idea or a bad one depending on your point of view.  Many times the book reading aspect of the tablet is forgotten in favor of video games…which isn’t that great.  On the other hand, tablets can be a boon to research and can be used for educational games and such.  (Some kids might even want to try to write their own apps for it using the MIT App Inventor program.)

butterfly kits for birthday present

– Insect pets: If the birthday is in spring or summer, a bug catcher kit can be loads of fun and educational.  You could also consider getting a Ladybug or butterfly kit.  These can be purchased from Amazon and typically come with coupons that let you order the insects online or by mail.  In other words, they’ll send your child caterpillars or the creatures that will eventually become ladybugs so they can watch them change and grow.  When they become adults they can be safely set free in the wild.

For more gift ideas, see my post about gift ideas for advanced kids.  Also, here are some related posts if you need ideas for where to have a birthday party or need party favor ideas.