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Birthday Party for 8 & 9 year-olds

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Birthdays > Birthday Party for 8 & 9 year-olds


Birthday Party Suggestions More Party Ideas

2010 - 2012 Recommendations


B-day party recommendations for active 8 yr boy

Sept 2012

Hello. My son will be turning 8 this In a few months. I know I'm several months away but I'm starting to think about possible places to host his party. He is active and enjoys physical activity. I like to do unique birthday parties (not at my house and I'm not interested in setting up space in a park). I like the idea of a coordinated activity. Are there any ropes courses or something along those lines that you can recommend? Any other ideas? I would like to invite both boys and girls to the party. I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks! Party Mama


I would suggest 'Pump it Up' (http://www.pumpitupparty.com/), a Rock Climbing gym, or a gymnastics gym that has a trampoline. We did all three of those with our kids and everyone enjoyed them. -Have Fun
My son is turning 8, and he's having a laser tag party at Q-Zar in Concord. His older brother has attended several parties there, and it's a hit with most all the boys. http://www.q-zar.com/ Alex H.
The East Oakland Sports Center has great rooms you can rent, then all the kids can go swimming afterward. Lots of fun! mom to active 8yr old too!
You could do a rock climbing party though Berkeley Iron Works or another local climbing gym. I know Berkeley Iron Works hosts parties for kids, but I am not sure if there are any age requirements. I am sure the kids would love a climbing party! Or, not sure if it has lost its hipness, but I remember loving parties at Skating Rinks (or an ice rink) when I was younger. Also, I know you said you didn't want to host a party at your home, but if you change your mind, you may want to consider a Bot Bash Party. It is a battle-bot robot tournament and is perfect for boys and girls. It is better for smaller parties though (less than 24 kids). The SF Bay Guardian just named it party service of the year!! Check them out at: http://www.botbashparty.com http://www.yelp.com/biz/bot-bash-party-san-pablo Disclaimer - my brother in law runs these parties on weekends. He builds (and repairs) all of the robots himself.
Not a ropes course, but an active party... try Playland-not-at-the-beach in El Cerrito. Good for all ages/genders. you can bring in your own food, we had it catered the two times we've used it. playing
Berkeley Ironworks does a great rock-climbing birthday party for kids. We did a soccer party at Bladium too, which was very successful. Especially with winter birthdays it's risky to plan an outdoor event. Good luck! Active birthday party host
Check out Kuk Sool Won martial arts in Berkeley near the corner of Sacramento and Dwight. We had my 7 year old son's party there, and it was great. Bring your own food and cake, and pinata. The teacher teaches a short martial arts class, and the rest of the time is spent chasing balloons on the padded floor, and doing tumbling and other organized activities...all led by the teacher. He even runs the pinata hitting! Kuk Sool Won mom

Old-fashioned tea party for 8yr-old

Jan 2012

My daughter wants a fancy tea party with a Victorian theme for her next birthday. She and I are having fun planning food and costumes, but I also want to have some games or crafts to keep things lively. Does anyone know of activities with an old-fashioned flair that are fun for a bunch of 8 year old girls? I'd even be open to showing a short movie with an appropriate theme. mom of junior Jane Austen


Oooh! can I come to your party? The chances of my 5 y.o. son wanting a party like this in the future are pretty slim!

Outdoors: Play Croquet! If you have more than 6 people playing, simply team up, 2-3 people per team, and members of the team rotate turns. You'll need to borrow or buy a croquet set, though. Or you could do some races rolling a hula hoop (or other hoop) with a stick.

Indoors: They played card games and other ''parlor games.'' You could google for some that are authentic, or you could choose some of your own that might be more fun for 8 year olds. card games or board games: set up card tables of 4 people each in your living room. Each table plays a game, then rotate players to different tables. Charades is also a good choice, though the charades we play today are rather different from the way they played then. I recall in one of the Jane Austen books (I think it was ''Emma'') they played at riddles - you would definitely need to use more modern riddles or make up your own. http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/emmchrad.html more here: http://www.ehow.com/info_7953705_early-victorian-childrens-games.html Jane Austen fan


What a fun theme! I'd suggest a period-appropriate activity. An embroidery project, perhaps, or embellishing headbands with fabric flowers and lace. Making sachets? Anything involving flowers, really! And play Victorian ''parlor games'' like Dictionary, Blindman's Bluff, Charades -- you can Google other examples. Many of them are things we now consider to be children's games, though at the time they were played by adults as well, so finding things that 8yo girls will enjoy shouldn't be difficult. Party Mama
Let's see:

1)Make corn husk dolls.You get the husk at food stores and soak it for 1-3 hours and assemble them. If you want to get fancy, you add yarn hair ( requires glue or sewing). You'll need some kind of material to hold the dolls together like yarn, raffia or string. You can make boy or girl dolls. 8 is a great age for this

2) Make scented sachets. You can pre-sew the bags and just have the kids fill them and thread a drawstring( faster, no needles required). Have some nicely scented choices for fillings. I got some lovely fabric for this at Stone Mountain last year...very Victorian!

3) Have them assemble their own tea party. That is... have ingredients for tiny sandwiches ( tiny bread slices, pre-cut cucumber, cream cheese, smoked salmon etc) and those tiny crust pastry shells( maybe pre-cook them and the kids can fill with blueberries and strawberries?) 8 is a great age for this stuff. Then make it pretty in a plate and sent it on the table. Pick flowers for a centerpiece. Make pretty name cards for where people should sit? If you want to get fancy-have the kids take turns shaking cream in a jar to make your own butter( takes 10-15 min) Remove the lump that forms and knead out any excess liquid ( butter milk) that gets trapped inside -- voila' butter! I'd skip the film and just DO! All really good fun! JM


Mystery Dinner Party for 9 year old girls

Nov 2011

Hi there, I think my daughter would enjoy having a Mystery Dinner party for her birthday because she is into mysteries. But she doesn't really understand how it works and I would love to be able to give her some of the materials to check out to see if it's something she'd like to do. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good mystery dinner kit for kids (8 and 9 year old girls so it can't be too babyish) - non-murder is preferable but not a requirement. Better yet, if you have one, could we check your out before we commit to buying something? Thanks! thinking ahead


This site has mystery party kits for pre-teens and teens: http://www.mysteries-on-the-net.com/index2.html

Instead of murders they're about stolen guitars, sabotaged soccer games, etc. They even have all-girl versions. We looked into using one for an event we put on last year and they seem pretty cool. JP


8 yo boy birthday party ideas

May 2011

I need some help with birthday party ideas for an 8yo boy. Some place not-too-expensive where his friends can have fun without getting lost or hurt. bday mama


I know this wonderful Cuban percussionist, Pablo Soto Campoamor, who does birthday party entertainment for children. He comes with all kinds of instruments and leads the children through a number of activities. They get to play instruments of all kinds and he tailors activities to the age group. Email him at bacheche7@gmail.com and let him know that I sent you his way. Reasonable prices too! Suzette
I highly recommend a mobile pottery painting party by Cora Bahl. We did this for my daughter's 6th birthday party and it was a big hit. Cora brings everything to your house, including a selection of ready-to-paint ceramics, paints, brushes, even the tablecloth. Your guests paint them at your house, then Cora glazes and fires them offsite and delivers the finished products to you one week later. It is very reasonably priced (much cheaper than pottery painting stores). Contact Cora Bahl @ 925.951.7246 or corabahl@yahoo.com. Satisifed Parent
I just wanted to recommend a bunny party with Georgia Williams of Bunny Central. She brings bunnies - lots of them & many different kinds! - to your house and sets up a little corral where the kids can sit and play with the bunnies. All the bunnies are amazingly gentle and friendly. She also educates the kids. We just had an 11 year old party here in Berkeley, and it was a HUGE hit with all the kids, and adults too! Georgia was really great to work with, is great with the kids, was prompt and the cost is really reasonable, especially since she comes to you. Her website is http://www.angelfire.com/ca/georgiawilliams/ She knows everything about bunnies too, so a great resource if you may be thinking of getting one. Highly recommended for any age!! Happy Bunny Party Mom

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


8 year old boy wants laser tag party - other ideas?

Feb 2009

My son is turning 8 years old in March. For 7 years, I have loved planning parties, baking a cake, and entertaining his friends, their parents, and siblings. This year, I am short on time and energy and I am looking for ideas for a fun and low-key celebration.

We have told my son, an only child, that he can pick two friends for an afternoon of fun. He wants to go to Q-zar, but I found myself trying to talk him out of it after dreading the idea of hours at an arcade/laser tag.

I would appreciate some perspective - Am I ruining the fun for my son by discouraging his choice of birthday celebration. Should I just go to Q-zar? If not, I would love advice on fun activities for 8 year old boys. My son is very active, enjoys science, sports, video/computer games, Star Wars and movies, and lots of other typical boy interests.

I suggested the Planetarium, but both my son and his dad groaned and told me I was boring! How did I turn into my mother? I thought birthdays were only hard after 30!


I completely understand being busy and wanting to make this stress free. How more stress free can it be then taking him to a place where he can run around and do whatever he wants for a couple of hours and then you all leave, with no mess to clean, etc? So it's not your cup of tea. It's not your birthday. I say let him have his party where he wants. It's just a couple of hours, and that is your gift to him. Chalk it up to another sacrifice of being a parent. jennifer
Let the boy have his birthday at Q-zar. Yes, it's a horrible, nerve-jangling place for those of us who are not 8-year-old boys, but for those who like that sort of thing, it's heaven. You mentioned that Dad didn't like the planetarium idea -- how about if he takes the 3 boys, plays laser tag with them (you know he wants to do it), and you don't even have to go? I know that it can be hard to make the transition from those sweet little parties with a homemade cake that he loved when he was tiny, but he's older now. Let him have the party that he wants, and you can have a nice family celebration for the three of you that doesn't involve arcade games. Anon
Honestly, I think that it is your son's birthday, and since you gave him the option of inviting 2 friends to an activity of his choice, you need to put your feelings aside and let him go to Q-Zar-it is supposed to be his day after all. Or perhaps dad could take him and his friends and you could meet them at the end of the day for cake? Next time, perhaps choose 3-5 venues that you would be OK with, and let him pick from a pre-approved list. Kris
Well, if you have always thrown a big party for your son and this year you are switching to only two friends, I think you should probably go with his choice of venue. Yes, it might give you a headache, but it is his birthday after all, and you've already asked him to accommodate a pretty big switch in expectations. Maybe your husband can take the boys and you can meet them afterwards for lunch and cake?
Go on down to the laser tag place! It's not at all onerous. First I checked out the place by going there with my son, played some laser tag myself, saw that it was a good time and not icky at all. Then I took my son and three of his friends there for his birthday, I went off to a nearby cafe, they had a blast. Afterwards we went for pizza. Perfect birthday, zero stress, mom's a hero. Go for it! birthday queen
My son had his 8th bday party at QZar and he and his friends had a great time...we have since gone back with just one or two friends...it would be easy to limit the time spent by just purchasing one or two laser tag games (totaling less than 1 hr) and then maybe giving each child a certain amt of money for playing the video games (they can collect tickets for little prizes)...then have any food/cake elsewhere or at home. Andrea
Take a trip to Angel Island with your bikes. The ferry from Tiburon still runs in the winter I believe. Borrow a bike rack for the car if you don't have one, or rent bikes on the island. My son had no birthday party this year, instead it was just him & me with bikes on the ferry to Angel Island, had a picnic lunch as we rode around the island. We timed it on the day that the Blue Angels were performing during Fleet Week so got a great sky show too. Taking his bike on the ferry was a thrill in itself for him, he felt so grown up (he was turning 9). Can't have imagined a better birthday for him. They sell souvenir patches on the Island so you can commemorate your trip too. anon
Let him play laser tag. Bring earplugs and a good book. Anon
Go to q-zar. He will have a BLAST and you will have awesome pictures of his happy face at his most fun birthday celebration ever. Look at it from his perspective -- how cool is it to shoot other people in the dark? And if you play too he will get a kick out of getting you. Make sure you zap him too
You asked him and Q-Zar is where he wants to go. So unless there is a financial reason why you can't, it's what he chose for his birthday celebration and you should try to accommodate. Sam
Dear Birthday Mama, Why is it only up to you to throw the party? If your husband groaned about your idea, let him take the reins. Could part of the party be at home that you handle - pizza, cake and ice cream, then let dad take the boys to the arcade. Who says you have to go too? Share the Responsibility
Let him go to Qzar. It is his birthday and it is a lot of fun for boys that age. Take a book and read while he and his friends play. My son says its a good idea. He is 13 and has been going for many years. He says there are big people there too but they will be ok if you just make sure they check in with you at intervals. Karen Avery
Geez, take him and his two friends to Q-zar! You told him that he could have a day of fun and that is what he picked. You don't have to do anything, just bring a book and wait for them to be done. I am sure he does not want you to play! It is a few hours out of your life, as opposed, as you pointed out, to hours and hours of party planning and entertaining. He is right, the planetarium is not as fun!!!!! anon
Why doesn't just Dad (or Dad and another dad) take the boys to laser tag? He can bring the boys back to your house for pizza and cake if necessary. Or you can give him a special present of Mommy and Son time at the planetarium as an extra present :} ! anon
Hi mom I also have an 8yr old boy, I am learning that its not so much our suggestion but allowing them to be apart and plan a really special day! In letting them plan and us going along it allows them to be comfortable with whom they are and when they are 30 we will be proud we did. wow i sound like my mom lol just take them to Q`zar he'll love you for it erica
Wow- follow through on the plans you made to take your son and a few friends to Q-zar to celebrate his 8th Birthday. And try to have fun and put a smile on your face! Enjoy this time with your son- He will be grown before you know it! Mom of grown boys
Just do the qzar thing. if you wear earplugs it is actually possible to sit in there and read a book (not in the room where they do the laser tag, but in the outer area!). or maybe dad will just take him and his friend. qzar survivor
If you told him he gets to pick, then he gets to pick. Bring a book, and let him enjoy his afternoon with his friends. anon
Exploratorium in San Francisco- it's fun, science-oriented, and no shooting-type activities. anon
Maybe look into another arcade-type place that we just found out about that isn't too annoying for adults (fun even) -- it's Playland NOT at the Beach in El Cerrito. Someone got a bunch of the old arcade games from the original SF Playland At the Beach and, combined with his own collection of pinball machines, etc., recently opened his own version in a storefront on San Pablo Ave. We went recently and were really impressed -- 19 rooms of fun games, machines, etc. Some friends hosted a party for 8 year- olds and they had a great time. It's not terribly crowded so you could just show up with your son and his two friends rather than rent out the whole thing. Just make sure they're open the day you want (it's volunteer run). Here's the web site: http://www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org/ Jenny
we did a 9yo party last weekend-chuck e cheese is my achilles heels as is anything that loud so mom has found her alternative, Superfranks in Pleasanton which has Dodgeball, mini golf and games and a place for parents to hide from the noise. It's not that loud. We too have done big parties, this year it was 3 friends and his sibling, my husband& sister on Valentines eve at above mentioned Superfranks, they had a special that included dinner-it set us back $100 for 5 kids and 3 adults-the next day we took one child who had spent the night to the Academy of Sciences(we're members)-it was a little of both but I wouldn't have NOT done SF in lieu of the other-its his birthday, not mine-i choose to spend mine face first on a massage table.Go to QZAR and be done with it... mom of boys
Thanks for the perspective everyone! After reading all the responses, I told my son that we could send out the invites for his Q-Zar party. His response, ''Can't we go somewhere else? I'd rather play mini-golf!'' Whatever he decides, I will tag along and enjoy his excitement. After all, he only turns 8 once... Birthday mom

9 Year Old Birthday Party Ideas?

Oct 2008

I'd like to have a low-cost birthday party for my 9 year old active son at our house - any ideas? It will be in November, about 10 boys. I was also thinking bowling or Lawrence Hall of Science could be fun, too, but just need it to be easy. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! K.


I just took my 9 year old for a rock climbing birthday party at one of the rock climbing gyms - there's one in Berkeley, Oakland and SF - all owned by the same company. $20/kid for two hours. $100 minimum. It was terrific. They provide a belayer. The kids do get a little antsy when they aren't climbing so I wouldn't bring too big of a group. The one in SF had a ''party room'' for a little while after the climbing, but we didn't use it.

Indoor birthday party for 8 year old

Sept 2008

My daughter is turning 8 in November and wants to invite her whole class. We need to find an indoor location for a birthday party for about 30 kids. I know of lots of places for younger children but can't really think of anything for older children. We do not take gymnastics classes so Kids in Motion or Head Over Heals is not really what we are looking for. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks!! Madeleine


I've found that the gym parties to be really good for all kids - they don't do ''gymnastics'' but usually have a par course of different activities for the kids to do, suitable for their age and attention level (swinging on a rope into a pit of foam, obstacle course, etc).

Other indoor options for a large group would be: Pump it Up www.pumpitupparty.com/, bowling (Alameda or Albany), pinball www.ujuju.com/index.php, or rent a community room and hire entertainment (vivarium is a good one for older kids). Elena


I have given ''invite the whole class'' parties at Lawrence Hall of Science 3 times and they all went very well The staff there are an obstacle...but, the workshops are really good and you can use the big conferance room which makes it not all that expensive. You can make the cake and party favors (or bring pizza) and the party runs itself. I like it because everyone can run around and stay as long as they like. (But, yeah, the booking staff there is dis-organized / flakey and it is hard to keep your confidence up planning it. But, it does always go well, so.....)

I have attended some big kid parties at the Berkele YMCA pool. Good place! (You have to join, but even with that, it isn't too bad, then you are a member..)

Also, The Iron Works was a fun one with harnesses & gear...the parents brought snacks & cake...seemed to be easy on them and all the kids loved it.

I think you are wise to use a place. I had my last 'everyone' party at our house? OMG never again. Someone dropped a kid at 8:00am & didn't pick up untill dark..Someone came 4 hours late..well you're home anyway... tsk tsk


Pump It Up is fantastic. They have several rooms of huge inflatable jumping houses and slides and kids of all ages LOVE it. (My friend even had her 40th birthday party there.) My son has had his last 2 bday parties there. http://www.pumpitupparty.com/ you can search for locations on the website. - mom who likes fun and easy bday parties
The Exploratorium is a great venue for that age, and they have a choice of 45-minute classes, then another 45 min in the room. Also, any of the gymnastics places, plus Oakland Zoo, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, etc janet
Thought of more indoor party options: ice skating ... pizza & movie - attended a party at a restaurant in Alameda that had a separate party room with video games and big screen tv ... rock climbing ... Bladium sports club in Alameda - www.bladium.com
Ellen

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


2003 & Earlier


Sleepover "away" party for 8-year-old girls

Sept 2003

Hi - We're considering a sleepover for an 8 year old's party this year (girl). Has anyone done this recently (saw the older post on the website), and could you recommend a place to stay? Hotel with a pool, and then videos in the room? (or, a hotel adjacent to a movie theater). Our house is simply too small, so this would have to be an ''away'' sleepover. Any ideas? Ideas other than a hotel? (not camping; this is a winter birthday; but any indoor ideas?) Thanks for any & all recommendations. Seeking Overnight party ideas
Recommended:

  • Marin Highlands Youth Hostel

    Horse enthusiast 9 year old

    2001

    I am having a birthday party for my horse enthusiast 9 year old. We are having it a a local stable where she takes lessons and will offer rides. Any creative, fun ideas for other activities besides rides and food? Terry


    I don't know about games and activities but I have an idea for party favors. My daughter at 9 also wanted an outdoor type party. In her case we went hiking from the big meadow in Tilden to Lake Anza where we had games and a picnic. As a party favor everyone got a different colored bandana (from REI) and a water bottle. The bandanas sort of sound horsy. Janet
    How about a horse-theme craft? Our pony club camp in the summer makes t-shirts using horse stencils and fabric paint. Or a build-your-dream barn project with graham crackers and baking (powder?) cement, a la gingerbread houses. You can buy Breyer Stablemates, very tiny Breyer Horse models for a couple dollars apiece as favors to go with these, and use little plastic trees, etc. from a craft store to decorate. And maybe paints. Or set up a "cross-country" or show-jumping course in the party area with miniature jumps and have the each kid jump the course and award ribbons and medals Nancy
    See additional recommendations here: Horseriding Trails & Stables
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