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13 Summer Birthday Party Ideas & Themes

May 09, 2023 6 min read

Summer is the perfect time for birthdays! Whether you're planning a bash for yourself, a friend, or your little one, summer birthdays are the ideal way to celebrate. With so many options out there, every idea feels like the best idea ever. How do you pick just one?! Don't worry — we've got you covered.

Read on to discover our list of creative summer birthday party ideas and themes that will guarantee an unforgettable celebration. 

1. Backyard BBQ Bonanza

Fire up those grills for an outdoor barbecue bonanza. This is an awesome option if you want to keep it casual but still have plenty of food options available. Go traditional with burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, potato salad — you name it. You can also get creative with some recipes like grilled peaches or homemade veggie burgers if you'd prefer something light.

Set out colorful decorations around your backyard, such as paper lanterns or tiki torches if possible; nothing says summer like eating outdoors under twinkling lights.

2. Pool Party

Turn your backyard pool into a party paradise with a pool party theme. Start by setting up a few tropical-inspired decorations, like inflatable palm trees, colorful beach umbrellas and some tiki torches. Serve up some tasty pool-friendly snacks like mini burgers and sliders, shrimp cocktails, and an ice cream sundae bar.

When it comes to activities, you can't go wrong with a few classic pool games like Marco Polo or a water balloon toss competition. To make the shindig extra special, have plenty of pool floats like the FUNBOY x Barbie ™ Golf Cart or Rainbow Cloud Lounger

Of course, one item reigns supreme when it comes to pool parties that are totally scrapbook-worthy (or Instagram-worthy). We’re talking about the FUNBOY Floating Cabana Bar. It has four central cup holders and two 12-inch ice/drink coolers. Measuring six feet by three feet, this cabana is big enough for everyone in your largest and most chaotic group chat. 

Let it float in the pool or rest on a table; with the lemonade yellow and cream coloring, it’s refreshing just to look at. Add your favorite cocktails and mocktails to take your chill to the next level.

3. Beach Bash

Beach-themed birthday parties are always a hit. Start by decorating your space with beachy decorations such as beach umbrellas, starfish, and seashells. You can also set up a beach-themed photo area for your guests to take photos in.

Keep the food light and summer-inspired with fruit kabobs, fish tacos, and mini ice cream cones with beach-themed toppings. For activities, plan beach-inspired games such as sandcastle-building contests, treasure hunts, and beach volleyball. Lastly, for party favors, put together small beach totes with a beach towel, sunglasses, and a few summer-inspired treats.

4. Garden Party

If you're looking for something a little more sophisticated, a garden party is a top-tier choice. Decorate the area with plenty of flowers and greenery, and set up a few lounge chairs for guests to relax in.

Serve up some refreshing mocktails, light appetizers, and floral desserts, and provide some fun activities like a scavenger hunt, a flower-arranging contest, or a nature-crafted necklace-making station. Encourage people to wear their best garden tea party attire: fascinators and other tiny hats optional. 

5. Ice Cream Social

An ice cream social is the perfect summer birthday theme for anyone with a sweet tooth. Start by setting up a DIY sundae bar with all the fixings, like fresh-cut fruit, crushed candy, chocolate sauce, and of course, plenty of ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a crowd-pleaser, so don't forget to have a few flavors on hand. 

6. Water Wars

Do you have a group of active party-goers? If so, a water wars theme will beat the summer heat. Stock up on a few water guns, water balloons, squirt guns, and sprinklers, and set up a few fun activities — think water balloon fight, squirt gun race, and water limbo contest. Lastly, provide some yummy snacks and refreshments to keep everyone hydrated.

7. Movie Under the Stars

Nothing says summertime fun like a movie night under the stars. Set up a projector screen and some comfy seating outside, and get ready to show your favorite flick. Pop some popcorn and serve up other movie-inspired snacks such as candy and pretzels.

For kiddos, let them lounge on the whimsical air mattress of their dreams. Shaped like either a retro car or retro plane, with the flocked material, we can’t guarantee they’ll be awake by the time the credits roll. For adults, blow up a tropical kiddie pool and fill it not with water but with the softest blankets and pillows you have. 

To add to the theme, you can even dress up like characters from the movie and play themed trivia. For party favors, give out movie-inspired items such as a personalized water bottle, movie tickets, and a bag of popcorn.

8. Summer Olympics

If you're looking for a summer birthday party idea that will keep everyone active and entertained, this is the one. Set up a variety of games like sack races, volleyball tournaments, and relay races. You can even make medals with some craft supplies. At the end of the day, have a medal ceremony. Ask everyone which summer playlist song they want to be their personal anthem. 

Serve up classic summer snacks like nachos, ice cream sandwiches, and lemonade for a party that will really hit the spot.

9. Outdoor Games Galore

For all you competitive types out there, why not plan an outdoor game-filled birthday party? There are so many possibilities when it comes to outdoor games; from ladder toss to badminton to lawn darts—there is something for everyone. 

Round up some prizes for winners and be sure to offer plenty of snacks and refreshments throughout the competition — hydration is key during summer activities. 

10. Tropical Luau

Want to bring a bit of the Hawaiian islands to your birthday this year? Then a tropical luau party is the perfect idea!

To create the tropical luau atmosphere, decorate with vibrant colored decorations such as tiki masks, cut-out palm trees, and colorful leis. Serve up delicious Hawaiian-style food such as kalua pork and coconut shrimp skewers. Toss some ice and beverages in the Tropical Palm Pool Drink Cooler for an easy decor piece that makes a big impact. 

For activities, set up a limbo contest or hula hoop competition. And for party favors, put together bags of tropical-themed goodies such as sunglasses, flip-flops, and beach towels.

11. Carnival

Who doesn't love the carnival? Set up a few carnival-inspired activities like a ring toss, water balloon toss, or mini golf. You can also hire some face painters or balloon artists if you're looking for a little extra flair.

For food, think of classic fairs like popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones. Serve it all up in festive paper cups or colorful buckets to get into the carnival spirit.

12. Hollywood Glam

Bring the glitz and glamor of Hollywood to your backyard with a movie-themed birthday party. Start by decorating the area with a red carpet and some movie-inspired decorations. Serve up some classic movie snacks like popcorn, nachos, and candy, and don't forget to set up a DIY photo booth with a Hollywood backdrop and plenty of props.

For entertainment, you can play a movie trivia game or have a movie-inspired dance-off.

13. Birthday Brunch

If you're looking for something a bit more low-key, host a brunch instead. Prepare a delicious spread of breakfast favorites like pancakes, French toast, and fresh fruit. Have a mimosa or two to get the party started.

Decorate with bright summery colors and some floral decorations. You can even make your own centerpieces if you're feeling creative. It’s time to show off your amazing flower-arranging skills. 

Here’s our fav:

  • Put a battery-powered strand of fairy lights in a mason jar.
  • Arrange some peonies in said mason jars.
  • Tie a ribbon or twine around the jar (optional).
  • Place this arrangement on a mini cake stand for the sweetest wow factor ever.

Celebrate You!

No matter what type of summer birthday party you're throwing, it's all about the theme. With a sprinkle of creativity and some summer-inspired ideas, you’ll throw a party your guests won't soon forget. From beach bashes and luaus to Hollywood glam and garden parties, there's something for everyone. So get your party hat on and start planning!


Summer Safety: Staying Hydrated in the Summer | Jackson Health

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather | Environmental Health Features

How to Grill Peaches Recipe | The Spruce Eats

8 top tips on how to throw a garden party by a planner | The Independent

How to Throw a Beach Party Your Guests Will Love | The Spruce

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