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5 fantastic party ideas for pre-teen boys

POSTED: August 6, 2014 5:00 a.m.
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The spirit is there in every boy; it has to be discovered and brought to light.

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Before your tweens get too cool for theme parties, you can have a lot of fun planning and executing the perfect party. Some boys have a lot of energy, so choose a party that fits the needs of your invitees. The following 5 party ideas can inspire you to create something amazing.

1. Have a ball
Many boys like sports. If you have space at your house, you could organize a party around playing sports-related games. Set up badminton or croquet in the backyard and teach boys how to play. Or, meet at a park and organize soccer, football, basketball, ultimate frisbee, baseball, kickball or other game. If it's colder and you have access to outdoor space (some school gyms can be rented cheaply), play dodgeball, basketball or kickball inside.

There are many variations on games used by PE teachers. Search online and teach some new games. Emphasize fun and sportsmanship over winning. Offer healthy snacks and plenty of drinks to keep energy levels up. Make silly awards or trophies to hand out at the end of the party.

2. Science extravaganza
As children get older, they become interested in science as they study it more in school. A science-themed party would be a great way to rev up enthusiasm for this important subject. Chemistry and physics lend themselves well to fun experiments. Start by using the Internet as a resource and pick a few simple science experiments to try, like this round up offered at Scholastic.com. Gather supplies and practice doing the experiments first. Provide safety goggles if necessary (which can also be a party favor). You could even do science-themed snacks like petri dishes full of goodies and melon ball molecules.

3. Amped up video games
One year the only thing my son wanted to do for his birthday was play video games. It was the easiest party ever. We served pizza for dinner, let the boys play, then served cake and ice cream. Take this super simple party idea to the next level by setting up more than one television for gaming, each with a different gaming system or linked together so multiple guests can play the same game. There are now businesses that offer this experience away from home. I found one near my home that offered 10 screens and could be rented for a reasonable price.

Have a table of snacks and drinks so those who are taking a break can munch, and consider playing dance or fitness related games so your guests aren't total couch potatoes. Your party guests might self-manage who gets to play, but keep an eye on things so every guest has equal time.

4. Outdoor adventure
Take pre-teen boys outside for an adventure and you'll have a successful party. Ideas for this party include hiking, playing at a river or lake, trying a ropes course or rock-climbing wall, setting up an obstacle course or going to a park with great play structures and a variety of activities.

Try city or county recreation services where you live to find inexpensive options for outdoor adventures. Some offer boat rentals, guided hikes, climbing lessons and other outdoor activities that are easy to access. Before you head out, have each boy make his own trail mix from ingredients you provide, and buy sports drinks so your adventurers don't get dehydrated.

5. Chefs in training
This might not be the most obvious idea for boys, but they will enjoy learning to cook and eating their creations. Start by decorating aprons with fabric markers. They can make a design and add their name. Then have stations with ingredients and recipes. If your guests are new to cooking, demonstrate how to do each task and be patient as they learn. Making simple food like quesadillas, fruit and veggie platter with dips, cookies to decorate and a punch. Everyone can pitch in on cooking and clean-up. Have music in the background to make things more festive.

A well-planned party can be budget-friendly and help your special pre-teen make memories with his friends. Some of these parties will work equally well for the pre-teen girls in your life. Life is full of good things to celebrate, so enjoy putting together the perfect party.

Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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