Hosting your childs birthday party at a venue is a great idea for when traditional parties seem a little too young. Here are some great party venues for when your child wants more than ‘Pass the Parcel’ and cake.

Art and craft workshop : Pool party : Family games facilities : Family restaurants : Movies 

Some time between 8 and 10 years old your child will suddenly decide they are too big for traditional parties, but they will still want to celebrate with something special. Taking them out with a group of friends is a great way to make a fuss, without embarrassing them with games and traditions they have suddenly outgrown.

Hosting the party at a venue also means there is little (if any) preparation, and definitely no clean-up! The kids will have a fabulous time, and you won’t have to worry about spilt fizzy drink on the new rug. Having your party at a venue is fun and hassle free, and when you do the sums, it’s no more expensive than an at-home party with all the trims.

Here are our favourite party venue ideas for 8 – 12 year olds.

Art and Craft Workshop

Art and craft workshops are great fun for this age group, and they’re not just for girls. Boys love getting creative too if you give them the chance.

To organise an art and craft workshop for your child’s party, simply phone your local art or craft store. Many have specific birthday party options, but even if they don’t, most will happily arrange a short workshop for groups of 8 or more. What projects are available will depend on the store and the types of crafts they specialise in, so have a scout through the Yellow Pages and see what is on offer.

A general craft store will be able to offer a range of easy-to-make activities including jewellery making, card making, scrapbooking, fabric or ceramic painting, mosaic and collage. The cost per child will depend on the chosen project, but you should be able to choose a basic activity for around $15 per person. When booking the workshop, make sure you check if the fee covers all materials, or if you will be stung with extra costs on the day.

If the craft store doesn’t have specific birthday party options, ask if you can bring along a few party snacks to have on the table. Chances are the kids will be too busy creating to worry about food, so you can keep the snacks simple and inexpensive. You can always go out for party food after the workshop has finished.

Pool Party

By this age you can safely take a group of kids to the pools, without having to have eyes in the back of your head, and they can literally entertain themselves for hours. Some pool complexes offer slides and rides, but even a basic public pool will keep kids happy for ages.

Take along a couple of balls, some dive sticks, and a boogie board (if the pool allows) and organise some party challenges. You could offer small prizes for the person who collects the most dive sticks, holds their breath the longest, or swims the fastest. Better still, give them the pool toys and let them make up their own games. You’ll be surprised by what they come up with!

Some pool complexes have a café where you could have your party meal, but they don’t necessarily have a specific party menu. If you want to eat at the café, you may want to call ahead of time and see what they offer. Some pool complexes also have a picnic area, so you could bring food from home or pick up takeaways on the way.

Entrance fees vary from pool to pool. A standard public pool may cost as little as $2 per person and even some larger complexes are relatively cheap – especially if they are owned by the local council. Water parks or complexes with lots of slides and rides are obviously more expensive, but you really do get what you pay for.

Family Game Facilities

Children love getting active, and there are lots of family orientated facilities where you don’t have to be a professional to give things a go. Ten Pin Bowling, Mini Putt, Ice Skating, Roller Skating, and Rock Climbing are all fun activities, and even you can join in.

These types of venues are used to working with groups of children, and some offer party packages which include food and activities. If they don’t have specific party options, make sure you ask about group discounts if you are taking lots of kids. The games and activities vary in price depending on activity and the venue, but you can expect to pay between $5 and $15 per child, and extra for food.

If your child has a favourite sport, you could use their birthday as a way to introduce that sport to their friends. Maybe you could hire the squash court for an hour or two and play round-robins, have a game of basketball (kids against parents!), or set up a game of roller hockey at the local rink. Most gymnastics club will hire out their facilities for groups as well.

Family Restaurants

By now your child is probably feeling too ‘grown up’ for a fast food type party, but they will really enjoy a family restaurant, especially if it’s a buffet style where they can help themselves as much as they like. You may like to relax the rules for this special meal, after all, what’s the point of a buffet if you can’t get four helpings of dessert?


There is nothing easier than a trip to the movies. A snack tray for each child takes care of the party food, and the movie itself is ample entertainment. If you want to stretch the party out any further, you can always stop at the park on the way home.

When choosing a venue for this age group, make sure you:
  • Think about how everyone is getting there and getting home. Parents no longer stay for parties at this age, so you may need to be a taxi service. Make sure you have enough seats!
  • Ask your child where they want to go. If they pick the venue, then you know they will enjoy it.
  • Keep it simple. If you want to add extras like loot bags or prizes, than by all means do so, but the activity itself is party enough. The children won’t be expecting anything to take home.

Above all else, remember to have fun. There is no reason why you can’t join in with these activities, (while your child still thinks you are ‘cool’ enough to do so).


Child’s Birthday gift? Find a great selection of popular Books & Authors.

Age: 0  1  2  3  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 Years Old

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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