by Pam Molnar

As my tweenage daughter’s birthday was approaching, I asked her if she wanted to have a party with some friends. “I guess,” she answered in her typical non-committal way. While she thought she could have a killer party by just inviting friends, ordering pizza and plugging her phone into a speaker, I knew they would spend much of the party concentrating on their phones instead of each other. I offered her a few tween party ideas that I hoped would get her friends moving, laughing and making memories at the killer party my daughter envisioned. Here are those six ideas.

Night at the Club

Turn your basement into a night club or sports bar. Kids will love to Karaoke via your Wii, Playstation or Xbox, and dance games like “Just Dance” will get the party going fast. Consider asking your guests to wear neon or white and set the room in black light. Play games like Darts, Pool, Foosball or Air Hockey. You can also bring in Cornhole boards and bean bags for a friendly, competitive game. Instead of pizza, try serving nachos, cheese sticks and chicken wings.

An 80s Party

My kids know all the 80s songs from Bon Jovi to ZZ Top because they grew up listening to them. At an 80s themed party guests can dress up as their parents did back in the day. Offer a variety of 80s games for the kids to play including Simon, Uno, Rubik’s Cube and Atari Flashback (available on Amazon). Serve popular 80s foods like pizza rolls, jello pudding pops, sloppy joes, and of course, Tab.

Murder Mystery

Not only is a Murder Mystery Party a theme within a theme, it is also a fun way to release your inner-actor. Some themes include the wild west, a night at the theatre, glamorous millionaires, medieval times, prom or even the holidays. You can find downloadable games online, which will include character descriptions, a storyline and directions. Your meal could revolve around your murder mystery setting.

Amazing Race

An Amazing Race party requires the guests to break up into teams, read and decipher clues and perform challenges in the shortest amount of time. The game can easily be set up in your neighborhood. Set challenges at the park, a neighbor’s backyard or a local business. Game printables can be found on Etsy. Offer appetizers and desserts before and after the race.

Minute to Win

Guests are given one minute to do a variety of simple challenges, like picking up four dry penne pastas with a dry spaghetti noodle. Players can be individual or divided into teams of two or more. Have everyone do the same challenges and keep record of their times. For game ideas, check out the Minute to Win it website. Food ideas include quick and easy make-it-yourself bars like tacos, pasta or baked potatoes.

Social Media Party

Ok, if you can’t beat them, join them. This is as close to it comes to just hanging out. Set up a photo booth with props for fun party posts. Play “Find a Post” where players receive points for posting a particular item on social media – a team logo, their pet, a picture of a Starbucks cup. You can also play, “Best of” where all players take a preplanned photo and post it. The person with the most likes in one minute is the winner.

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