10 Unique Children’s Party Ideas in London
Hello! I’m George of Sharky & George, and I have LOVED being involved in planning parties ever since my 8th birthday, which was held at my dad’s chocolate factory! We were able to take chocolates off the machines as they went past and fill up tubs with molten chocolate to take home. My best friend Charlie ("Sharky") and I have been creating mischief and fun together since university. I hope that these ideas below give you some inspiration and ideas for the next children’s party you’re planning. Give us a call at S&G HQ if you’ve got any questions or would like a hand delivering any of them.
If you’re looking for ideas for the best children’s birthday parties in London, you have come to the right place. Whether it’s the first time you have organised a party for your child, or you are a seasoned professional, we have compiled the ultimate guide for original and amazing parties for kids in London. There are plenty of well-known options to choose from that are venue specific, so below are some more unusual children's party ideas that you can run yourself without being tied to a location.
- Children’s Treasure Hunt Party
- Children’s Movie-Making Party in London
- London Children’s Olympic Games Party
- London Landmark Party Quest for children
- Survival and Bushcraft Party
- Secret Agent Mission Party
- Children’s Science Adventure Quest Party
- Children’s Round the World Foodie Party in London
- London Silent Disco Party
- Sleepover Party
Children’s Treasure Hunt Party in London
There is not much that’s more exciting than a really great treasure hunt. The magic of a treasure hunt party is that you can design it for any age group and set it to any theme. It is also one of the most versatile party types, allowing for a broad range of ages to get involved in the same activity together.
Pirate Treasure Hunt Party for children:
- Why are pirates pirates? Because they AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!
- Ages: 4-9yrs
- Numbers: up to 30
1. Choose a fairly large but enclosed area. In London, we’d suggest a garden or a fenced-off bit of a park for example:
- The dog-free zone on Wandsworth Common.
- Park Sports in Hyde Park.
- The Bowling Green at Battersea Park.
- Just past the Walking Man statue in Holland Park.
- Paddington Recreation Ground.
- Little Wormwood Scrubs.
- Wimbledon Common, just near the Windmill.
- Any communal garden square.
- Inside, if the weather is dreadful!
2. Hand draw a pirate map of the area that you’ve chosen on brown paper, making it look like a treasure island. Include as many key locations as you can, marking things like:
- Skull Rock
- Sandy Cove
- Coconut Tree
- Shark Bay
- Eyepatch Isle
- Telescope Point
Then (carefully!) burn the edges of the map, scroll it up and tie it with a big red ribbon, or if you’re really getting into it, seal it with some red candle wax.
3. Either invite the children to come dressed as pirates, or have a dressing-up box for everyone to accessorize with, eyepatches, pirate hats, bandanas, parrots and the all-important black face paint for some proper pirate beards!
4. Once everyone has arrived, gather the pirates together and reveal the treasure map, asking the birthday girl or boy to open it up and show the route and the first clue on a small scroll, something along the lines of:
- “At your first challenge, you might need a hand, Take on the obstacle course at the Quicksand”
5. As a group, make your way to the first location on the map, to complete its pirate challenge, find a hidden treasure and then the clue to the next location on the map.
6. You could have skull mask making at Skull Rock, a game of shark attack at Shark Bay, water bomb battle and Eyepatch Isle and a coconut shy at Coconut Tree. Each time a challenge is completed, the clue to the next location is revealed.
7. After the final challenge has been completed, a clue to draw 2 lines on the map between for example Skull Rock and Shark Bay and then Coconut Tree and Sandy Cove will reveal an “X”. Depending on where you host the party, you could have a chest of actual treasure buried at the “X”, or a final scroll with instructions where to find the treasure chest filled with chocolate gold coins and gems.
Children’s Movie-Making Party in London
- Numbers: up to 20
- Ages: 8-16yrs
- You also need to decide if you want it to be a kid's music video-making party or more of a story-based children’s film-making party.
Music Video Party
If you go for a music video, choose your favourite song, get some inspiration from the official music video both for costumes, props and choreography and then get filming. London is the most perfect place to host a music video-making party, either making use of one of the many amazing recording studios across the capital or better still using iconic London landmarks as backdrops to your singing and dance moves. Some of our favourites are Victoria Embankment Gardens, Southbank, Chiswick House, Victoria Park, Battersea Power Station and HMS Belfast. The best way is to print out the lyrics, have a speaker to hand and film one line at a time, ensuring that whoever is in each shot is lip-synching or better still, belting out the words whilst filming. The camera on your phone is likely to be excellent quality, so use your phone, and shoot in landscape all the time. Editing is quite fiddly, but iMovie is pretty easy, and once you’ve laid down the audio of the song, you just need to match up the shots for each lyric.
Movie Making Party
A movie-making party in London is really fun, especially if you choose a great location and are not too ambitious with the number of scenes you want to cover. Approach it with the view of making a trailer rather than a full-length feature! You also want to choose a film that has plenty of good characters, costumes and props. The Best Movie Making Party themes in London that we like to make are:
- Harry Potter
- James Bond
- Alice in Wonderland
- Peter Pan/Hook
Avoid writing a script, instead, sketch out 5 or 6 scenes that you’re hoping to shoot, with a few key lines and themes. That way you won’t have children trying to remember lines or reading off a piece of paper. Spend the first part of the party choosing who’s going to play which character, and sort out costumes and props, it is worth having a decent amount of random fancy dresses and props on hand, for example, a wig can very easily double as Blofeld’s cat in a Bond movie!
The important balance to strike is between making sure you capture all the footage you need to be able to stitch together a decent film and ensuring that all the children have a brilliant time at the party. So make sure that there is at least one scene with everyone involved, doing something really fun, either a big fight scene with water pistols or Nerf guns, or a mad hatters tea party, school feast or dance scene.
London Children’s Mini Olympics Party
- Numbers: up to 30
- Ages: 4-12yrs
Either link this to a current Olympic Games or Winter Olympics or tailor it specifically to the birthday boy or girl. Then choose somewhere with plenty of space to allow for running, jumping, throwing and competing at the highest level! We would advise having two teams, each representing a country, ideally, you’d have or make a flag for each. If you really want to go the whole hog, then you could get everyone a plain T-shirt to decorate at the start with their team logo and athlete name as a really good going-home present at the end (with a medal as well of course).
Make sure you have a decent outdoor speaker so that each team can select their opening ceremony tune to parade around the ‘stadium’ before the games begin. Then each team takes part in a series of highly competitive disciplines to battle it out for Olympic glory.
It’s important to avoid too many relay races, as they tend to involve two people being engaged and busy whilst the remaining 23 children are standing around waiting for their turn, so contests that involve everyone throughout tend to work better. Also, the more energetic and vocal the umpire/referee is, the more exciting the games will be. It’s a good idea to have a leaderboard to keep a tally of the scores which means that you can keep things close.
Choose your sporting disciplines based on the overriding theme you go for, we tend to find that keeping it lighthearted and focusing on the fun rather than actually sporting ability works best. Some of our favourites include: Tug-of-war, Shoe Shot Put, Dizzy Slalom, Space Hopper Derby, Cup of Water sack races and After Eight Races
You’ll be amazed at how many games you need to have prepared for a two-hour party, always make sure you have four or five more than you think you’ll need. Then once you’ve tallied up all the scores, get everyone ready for the all-important medal ceremony. If there’s time, get each team to prepare a short celebration to go with their team tune. Then issue the medals, with special mentions for notable performances.
London Landmark Adventure Race Party for children
- Numbers: up to 10
- Ages: 8-14yrs
This will require a bit of preparation but is totally worth it. The aim is to explore some of the most iconic landmarks of London in a really fun and competitive race to complete photo and video challenges around the capital. Each challenge completed is worth a certain number of points and the team with the most points wins.
Adventure Race Setup:
- Decide where you’re going to start and finish the race, Canada Gate in Green Park next to Buckingham Palace is a pretty good start point, and depending on the distance you want to travel, perhaps Victoria Embankment Gardens, or a restaurant for lunch as the finish point.
- Then create your challenges. You’ll need around 15 photos, 2-3 videos and then if you’d like to add some items to gather, that is quite a fun addition.
- Example photos:
- Your whole team inside a red phone box
- One of your team saluting in front of St. James’ Palace
- Posing like a lion in Trafalgar Square
- Example videos:
- A 30-second news report about doughnuts outside The Palace of Westminster
- A 30 second Attenborough style wildlife documentary focussed exclusively on pigeons
- Example items:
- Dress one of your whole team for a smart job interview from a charity shop for less than £8
- The smartest piece of hotel-branded stationery
Once you’ve typed out all the challenges and allocated maximum points for each, print them out for each team. When guests arrive at the start point, split into teams, with an adult in each. Hand out the challenge cards and explain that they have exactly 2 hours to score as many points as possible, then meet at the finish point. They lose a point for every minute they’re late to the finish.
One of the best things about this party is that you’ll end up with a very funny collection of photos and videos to make into a collage or slideshow to share with all the guests afterwards.
Survival and Bushcraft Party in London
If you want to go to town with this theme, then there is a certain amount of specialist kit that would help, however, it’s very possible to run an amazing children’s bushcraft and survival party with very little equipment at all. The key really is to choose a good place to host it. A large garden is perfect, or better still some woodland or rough parkland that has plenty of trees, bushes and undergrowth. In London, Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park are probably the best options.
The important balance to strike is between keeping the focus on the fun whilst also learning a few genuine survival skills, our advice is to always err towards the fun side of the balance!
Ideally, you want to frame games around survival skills, so for example:
1. Shelter building is an important bit of survival, but on its own is not terribly exciting. So if you split into two teams, give a fixed time to build a shelter and then use it as a base for a water bomb fight, the whole thing becomes a lot more fun. Alternatively get everyone under their team shelter and pour water on top to test how waterproof it is!
2. Likewise if you’re going to do a fire lighting session (make sure you check if this is allowed where you’re partying, probably best to stick to private gardens for this), then learning to make fire safely and effectively is made so much better if it’s to then toast marshmallows around.
3. Camouflage is a great basis for lots of games, but my particular favourite is Sniper Search, which is effectively an elaborate version of hide and seek with two teams. Each team chooses a sniper, who they camouflage as best as they can, if you don’t have ghillie suits, then putting large elastic bands around arms and legs and stuffing them with foliage makes for excellent camo. Also plenty of streaks of mud on the cheeks, hands and forehead are essential! The two snipers are carefully hidden by their team in an allocated zone, then when the hunt begins, it’s a race to be the first team to find their opposition’s sniper.
Secret Agent Mission Party in London
- Numbers: up to 20
- Ages: 8-14yrs
Being recruited by the secret service to undertake a spy mission for a birthday party is always going to be an absolute winner! Start with an exciting invitation in a Top Secret envelope, or perhaps a WhatsApp voice note that will ‘self-destruct’ once you’ve listened to it.
You’ll need to come up with a good mission brief and loose storyline for the action and then a route and locations. To give you an example, the mission could be to recover the Crown Jewels that have been stolen. Mi5 has received some intelligence that points towards the jewels being helicoptered out of London from a pre-arranged extraction point at a specific time and date (that happens to coincide with your spy party). The service needs to recruit a group of sharp minds to go undercover and infiltrate the criminal gang, gain their trust, gather enough information to identify who has the jewels and where they’ll be extracted from, all before they disappear forever.
You will need at least three characters to put this on and a route that takes you to some interesting parts of London:
- Outside Mi6 in Vauxhall by the river
- The Bridge of Spies over the lake in St. James’ Park
- Mi5 at Thames House, Millbank
- Brompton Oratory
- Waterloo Bridge
- The graffiti railway arches by Leake Street
- St. Paul’s Church Garden in Covent Garden
Then as far as kit goes, it depends a little on the narrative that you go for, but the following are always going to be useful:
- Top Secret envelopes and documents
- Stick on moustaches
- Newspapers with eye holes cut into them
- Combination locked briefcase
- Jewels, rolls of fake cash
- Invisible ink
Children’s Science Party in London
- Numbers: up to 20 (if you have enough adults to help!)
- Ages: 8-14yrs
At Sharky & George, we have some awesome scientists who perform the most amazing and explosive experiments whilst getting all the children to have a go themselves. Whilst having a blast, they also learn a bit of science.
If you’d like to organise something yourself, then London is a pretty amazing place for it. We’d recommend combining a short and focussed museum trip with some experiments in the park and a picnic afterwards. Go for one of the following museums and choose a very specific exhibit to go to, that you can link with a fun few experiments in the park:
- The Science Museum, South Kensington
- The Natural History Museum, South Kensington
- The Horniman Museum, Dulwich
- The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
To give you an idea of an example that would work well, head to the science museum with a plan to focus on anything to do with space and specifically rockets, there are lots of relevant exhibits on the first floor, as well some great interactive ones at The Wonderlab section of the museum. It would be well worth doing a recce before the party to ensure you plan your route and check that the exhibits you want to go to are going to be open. Then at the party, once you’ve visited the museum, head to Hyde Park and crack open your rocket experiments for everyone to have a go with:
1. Stomp Rockets - run competitions for distance, height, number of launches per minute and even a stomp rocket battle between two teams.
2. Film Canister Rockets - get an ‘old school’ analogue photography film canister for each child and a good stash of effervescent tablets (Berocca, redoxin, alka-seltzer) and a large bottle of water. Then give a demonstration by half filling a canister with water, dropping in half a tablet, firmly putting the lid on and placing the canister on the ground upside down. Once the pressure builds up in the canister, the water becomes the rocket fuel (propellant) and the main body of the rocket will launch into the air! To increase aerodynamics, give the children coloured cards, scissors and tape to create nose cones and fins to add to their rocket before the launch.
3. Water Pressure Rockets. You’ll need to buy a couple of “Rokit” kits online and bring a bike pump and a couple of 2L fizzy drink bottles and a couple of smaller plastic drinks bottles. Using the kit, you can then launch water-pressure rockets 150ft into the air. They’re seriously good fun and depending on timing, you can get the children to make parachutes for them with light material, string and tape and even send small teddys up on the rockets.
Children’s Round the World Foodie Party in London
Numbers: up to 20
You could run this party at home, but the real fun of doing it in London is making the most of the incredible international offering of food right on the doorstep. Think of this as a round-the-world edible treasure hunt in which players need to tick off food, drink and experiences from around the globe in a fixed time. Each player is given a map of the world, with an ‘x’ marked on a certain number of countries. Split into small groups, with an adult leading each one, and try to score as many points as you can in a fixed time by getting photo/video evidence of eating or drinking something from each country.
To ensure that everyone comes together a couple of times during the party, we would suggest booking a larger space at the halfway point and one at the end, that would work as an additional country on the map as well as a fun way for teams to compare notes along the way. Depending on what area you’re going to be in, it would be fun for the large group meet-ups to be at places like The Ice Bar for Antarctica, Hoppers for Sri Lanka or Jungle Cave (nee Rainforest Cafe) for Brazil.
Kids Silent Disco Party
- Ages: 4-16yrs
- Numbers: More the merrier
Whether you would rather not disturb the neighbours, have a particularly sensitive cat or are hoping to avoid actually hearing “Gummy Bear” on repeat for two hours, a silent disco is an excellent option for a slightly more peaceful children’s birthday party!
It’s fairly easy and inexpensive to hire a kit that comes with a 2-channel mixer and as many headsets as you require. If you’re running it yourself, it’s worth preparing a first-rate playlist of absolute bangers to plug into the mixer, but also being open to requests on the day.
The younger the children, the more planning you’ll need to do for games and activities, as the novelty of the headphones will not keep them all dancing independently for two hours. So for 4-9-year-olds, we would recommend a number of dance games combined with classic party games that require music. It is particularly funny for anyone watching, to see a totally silent game of musical bumps or statues. Games that work well for a silent disco are:
Disco Twister: Dancing to the music and then when it stops, whoever is in charge gets on the mic to say ‘left foot carpet’, ‘right foot sofa’, ‘forehead cushion’ etc. You get the idea.
- Musical Statues
- Musical Bumps
- Dance Master: Make a circle and one person goes into the middle for a short stint and everyone copies their moves.
- Break Dancing contest.
- Britain’s Got Talent with parents as the judging panel.
- Memory Dance: take turns to make up a dance move to add to a string of moves that each player has to repeat in turn as the string gets longer.
- Conga through the whole house
- Ages: 8-14yrs
- Numbers: up to 10
There’s something quite special about children being able to host a sleepover at home, or better still in tents in the garden if you have space. The secret to the success of a sleepover party is to have a good plan in place with plenty for the children to do, as well as a ‘published’ bedtime and an ‘actual’ bedtime! The children definitely want to feel like they’ve stayed up much later than usual and have sneaked in a ‘midnight’ feast and got away with it, so it’s up to you to make that possible!
If you have the sleepover party in your house, whatever happens, they’re all going to want to sleep in the same room, so you may need to supplement your beds with some inflatable mattresses unless you hire the full kit. Here are a few ideas for things to do and extra kit that it might be fun to include:
- Cinema projector set-up with bean bags and popcorn (pop your own)
- Adventure race challenge (split into teams and set a series of photo and video challenges)
- Music video making (see above)
- Pillow cases and eye mask tie dye station
- Pamper session with cucumber eye masks, child-friendly facial products, nail varnish and a footbath. Ideally with personalised dressing gowns, slippers and towels.
- Night games - enemy spotlight, animal game, mafia and wink murder.
- Kitchen Disco
- Pizza making
- Campfire cooking (or at least marshmallows and S’mores)
- Minute to win it games
- Night Laser or Nerf battles through the house and garden
- Prank workshop
- Secret midnight feast drawer (setup to raid later)
- Pj fashion show
- Candy floss machine
- Sweetie table
- Light up the dance floor
- Goodie bag on each bed with hot chocolate kit, eye mask, pillow mist and QR code to a relaxing bedtime playlist.
What can I do for my child’s birthday instead of a party in London?
Not all children (or parents!) love a party, but it’s important to mark a birthday with something, even if it doesn’t involve lots of people. In London you are spoilt for choice, between a theatre or cinema trip, a museum visit, the zoo or going out for an amazing family lunch. However, if you want to do something a little more original in London for a small group, here are our favourites:
- A jet boat trip on the Thames
- DIY Great British Bake Off at home
- Changing of the guard followed by a picnic
- Swimming at Hampstead Ponds or Brockwell Lido/Tooting Bec Lido
- A day trip on the train to get fish and chips in Brighton
Bike ride around Battersea Park, doing everything it has to offer (Go Ape, Mini Golf, Zoo, Pear Tree Cafe, Rowing on the Lake, Tennis and checking out the river).
Luxury Children’s Party Planners in London
Since 2007, Sharky and George have been running luxury parties and events in London and around the world. So far we’ve organised over 30,000 events and entertained almost 1,000,000 people! We hope that by sharing some of our experience and creative ideas, you will be able to put on something really special for your children.
Here at Sharky & George, we know how to throw a first-class children’s party! Whether you’re looking to host a fairy tale fete or swashbuckling soiree, we’re here to make sure your next party is one your child will never forget. We would love to help out planning your child’s perfect party, read more about our children’s parties or get in touch and we’ll take care of it.
Posted on: 5 May 2023
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