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Birthdays al fresco – come on summer!

Yay! The weather is warmer, and summer is upon us! It's my favorite time of year and every summer I vow to spend as much time outside as humanly possible. This includes birthdays! As a June baby, I've had most of my birthdays outside, either just playing in a park, at a beach or just enjoying our own backyard.

My mom always had a theme for my birthdays, which made them so special no matter what the outdoor location.

As I hope celebrations are coming back with a vengeance, here are some fun birthday themes for your summertime birthdays!

How does your garden grow?

This theme is fantastic for everyone, and they’ll learn something, too! A garden theme has so many options for decorations, food, goodie bags and activities. You can focus on vegetables, fruit, flowers, or all of the above. Decorate with bunches of carrots, lettuce, eggplants or radishes. Decorating with flowers is an obvious one, but adding clusters of grapes or pineapples would make it more interesting.

If none of the kids attending are very picky eaters, your menu could feature lots of fruits and vegetables or even be plant-based, which should make navigating food sensitivities easier. Make fruit kabobs and veggies and dip, or why not follow the trend of making “disguised food”? Use different fruits and vegetables to create things like burger patties (mushroom, rice, beans or tofu), fries (sweet potato, zucchini or squash) and cakes (watermelons make a great cake). 

Let kids plant seeds in individual containers that they can take home as their goodie bag. They can plant a flower, a vegetable, or both and decorate their container. If you’re lucky enough to have fruits or vegetables growing in your garden, a fun activity could be harvesting (if the timing of the birthday works with the harvest of your crop).

Olympic Games

If you don’t have a big backyard, head to your local park so you have lots of room for this party theme. You can utilize an existing playground to create activities and the kids can compete against the course, or you can set up sprints, hurdles, shot put, discus, gymnastics or an obstacle course. Each activity would be modified to be kid-friendly, with rolled up towels as hurdles, oranges as shot puts, frisbees as discus, or ribbons tied to sticks for rhythmic gymnastics. Each child can compete in all the activities to the best of their ability (being mindful of mobility and coordination differences) and throughout the party there can be snacks themed to each activity – cheese and pepperoni sticks as the relay batons, oranges for shot put, crackers or cookies for discus, and maybe fruit ribbons for rhythmic gymnastics. 

A medal ceremony can cap off the party with each child receiving an edible medal. You could use chocolate money, suckers or even cookies as the medals that would be tied to a ribbon they can wear around their neck.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

A great theme to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors! Explore a local natural park like Nose Hill or Fish Creek. Kids can head out in teams (with supervision) to find a number of items on their list, like pine cones, a perfectly round rock, a wild flower or a feather (not attached to a bird, of course!). It can be a timed event or a point system for each item they find, with more points for the harder-to-find items. After the hunt, you can have an outdoor lunch or barbeque at one of the firepits and do a little show-and-tell with all the items before putting them back where you found them.

The best part of these outdoor themes is you don’t need a lot of prep and planning. Simple objects that can be found at your local grocery or dollar store are all you will need. Double bonus, you don’t have to clean up your house afterwards! So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather while celebrating your little one’s special day!

Tanya is the Head Curator at Menagerie Parties & Cakes, handcrafting boutique party experiences through custom décor, engaging activities, and show-stopping sweets for people living full, productive lives wanting to celebrate life to its fullest. It’s a Party in a Box! For more information, call 403-890-4803, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit Follow on Facebook and Instagram @menageriepartiesandcakes.

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