Are you fed up with the same old formula for kids’ birthday parties? GoMunkee’s been scouring Kent for unusual party themes, venues and activities, from chocolate making, tobogganing and den building, to pony riding, digger driving, pottery painting and everything in between. Tell us your birthday party ideas in the comments!
AMAZING ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS is based in Tonbridge and offers hands-on animal, amphibian and creepie crawly experiences with a range of creatures.
Talk to the animals: mini sheep, sugar gliders, a chinchilla, a tortoise, ducks, a tarantula, a python, chickens, a guinea pig to bearded dragon, hissing cockroaches, African land snails and more – the qualified and licensed business has won a number of awards for its interactive handling sessions at their smallholding.
The team, lead by head handler Maria Cooper Harle, has the knowledge, training and qualifications to ensure all of the animals are loved and are raised in an environment which can only be described as something close to Dr Doolittle! Birthday parties a speciality.
Try a pool party with and inflatable course, flumes, wave machines. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LEISURE CENTRE. When everyone’s dried off, they’ll be ravenously hungry. Some centres have catering, or they’ll hire you a room for self-catering.
BEWL WATER has just opened a ‘Total Wipeout’ style AQUA PARK for ages 6+. This is huge, outdoors and wetsuits can be hired. They have birthday party packages, or you can cater with a picnic.
Spring 2019 saw a new party facility open at ACTION WATERSPORTS in Lydd, with a huge inflatable assault course on the lake, fun rides on a banana boat, jet-skis (passengers) SUP, and inflatable donuts towed behind a speedboat. Wetsuits supplied.
DOVER SEA SAFARI On this his unforgettable trip for the kids, the super-fast safari rib blasts across the waves from Dover to Deal and beyond to Pegwell Bay, where there’s a large nature reserve and a colony on seals. Parties are catered for on a private hire of the boat that sits 12. Recommended age 10+.
Winter sports fun all year round - tobogganing, skiing, sno-tubing
For a children’s party with a difference GoMunkee recommends FOLKESTONE SPORTS CENTRE which lays on great birthday parties next to its ski slope. Skiing, tobogganing and sno-tubing for outdoor fun. Special events for under 5s too.
CHATHAM SKI CENTRE in Gllingham offers skiing and snowboarding and most of its party packages include snow tubing – where children slide down the slope on a big rubber ring – or tobogganing. The centre boasts the longest toboggan track in the UK. There’s food on hand too, with a choice of menus for younger or older groups of children.
GoMunkee says, ff you’re planning a birthday celebration for a group of young explorers then a Tree Top Adventure is the answer.
Release those little munkees onto a GO APE course at Bedgebury Pinetum or Leeds Castle designed just for them. They’ll enjoy an hour of canopy exploring, trail blazing and wobbly obstacles, all up to 6m off the forest floor. Return to Earth by descending an epic zip wire, then enjoy a picnic lunch in the Forest Shelter – it’s the perfect place for the children to exchange gifts and dig into their well-deserved Go Ape party bags.
Lewis Hamilton started his motor racing career at BAYFORD MEADOWS, (Sittingbourne) go-karting on the outdoor track. GoMunkee recommends gokarting parties. The package includes private use of the whole circuit followed by a winning photo on the podium and a meal in the diner for the birthday boy/girl with all their friends after they’ve crossed the line. From 9 years old.
Similar deals at BUCKMORE PARK (Chatham).
Take a group of friends to a picnic at BEDGEBURY PINETUM (near Hawkhurst) where there are fantastic, themed adventure lands to explore and climb on all around the park, forests and lakes. Bring bikes or walk. GoMunkee says this is perfect for a birthday picnic in a glade of giant redwoods. Entry is per car, so cram as many kids as you can into your vehicle.
Head down to THE HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM to celebrate your child’s birthday in true pirate style onboard Gannet.
The two hour, fun-packed pirate parties include, games, actives, songs and the group’s own special pirate!
Your child will get to be First Mate and raise The Jolly Roger before the fun begins – including a pirate picnic in the Captain’s cabin.
Pig out big time
For kids 9+, book them a table at CHOM CHOM in Canterbury. There’s a huge and delicious buffet including Chinese, Indian, Thai – plus pizza, stir fry, chips, noodles and self-serve Mr Whippy ice cream garnished with jelly beans. Price is per plate (drinks are extra) with a special rate for children, so they can eat as much as they like and keep going up for more. Chom Chom will also parade in a birthday cake with music for the birthday host.
Kids LOVE gooey, yummy, chocolate. TEMPER TEMPER in Tunbridge Wells is one of GoMunkee’s favourites. It hosts chocolate-making parties – glorious fun for children aged 4+ who love sweets and chocolate and who don’t mind getting their hands sticky!
During the 2 hour workshop party, children create a moulded chocolate teddy bear, chocolate lollipops, florentines and a delicious chocolate basket to carry all their goodies home. The difficulty level of the activities varies according to the ages of the children.
Drinks, fruit, biscuits and crisps are provided and you parents can bring a birthday cake. Children leave with a huge bag filled with everything they’ve made.
What could be more fun than a party where you can make a mess, create something yummy and eat it afterwards? At a pizza-making party, the PIZZA EXPRESS staff show how it’s done before the kids are let loose with the dough and toppings. Packages include party games, unlimited squash, ice cream, a balloon, certificate plus their home-made pizzas. 4+
Another established favourite, baking parties can involve anything from cupcakes and cookies to pizza. Plenty of choice across Kent with BAKE AND CRAFTHOUSE in Cranbrook being one of GoMunkee’s favourites. Based in a converted brewery, they offer two-hour children’s parties with a variety of packages to choose from. The guests get to take their tasty treats home with them as well as pick up a taste for cookery.
Diggerland - Buckets of fun for everyone
A birthday party at DIGGERLAND in Strood is a real treat. A two hour party includes unlimited rides and drives on real diggers and dumpers, unlimited use of bouncy castles, the digger sandpit and pedal power diggers. One of GoMunkee’s all-time favourites (and let’s face it, Mums and Dads will jump at the chance to drive a real digger too).
Kids love smoke, potions and slime and things that go bang, ooze gunk and fizz. A science party is packed with with excitement, surprises, interaction and magical (but safe) experiments. One of GoMunkee’s favourites is SCIENCE BOFFINS which will send a top scientist to your home or venue and provide an extraordinary amount of fun.
Lego animation party
Lego Animation Parties provide a perfect environment for children to explore their imaginations with six animation workstations, a large haul of Lego®, up to 18 friends and an experienced animator on hand.
Makeover and pampering experience
Fun and excitement with a pamper and makeover party at home. Chose from make up, festival face painting, nails, tattoos, hair braiding, massage, treatments, foot spas and full on pampering and facials for feeling good, looking good birthday fun.
emporium-parties.co.uk (Folkestone & Dover)
sparklegirlspamperparties.co.uk (South East)
For outdoorsy children, there’s that beats den building in the woods. Several of Kent County Council’s country parks offer ranger-led parties with activities like mini beast safaris, geocaching, bushcraft, hedgehog trails and den building. Parties can be held year-round, in any weather, at Shorne Woods near Gravesend, Manor Park in West Malling, Lullingstone Country Park, Trosley Country Park in Vigo Village and BROCKHILL COUNTRY PARK near Hythe.
For a special, never-to-be-forgotten adventure party, organise a visit to JACK RAVEN BUSHCRAFT in the forest at Westwell, near Ashford. They’ll get grubby, muddy, smokey and maybe a bit wet but will learn outdoor skills.
Typically a children’s bushcraft party will involve den-building and fire lighting. The children will be introduced to the importance of shelter and teach them how to build their own. For the fire-lighting element, the children get to try out different ways to light a fire, from matches and lighters, batteries and wire wool, mirrors, lenses through to flint and steel and fire steels. They will then gather firewood, light a fire and use it to cook hot dogs and marshmallows. Supervised and safe.
Bowling is fun, competitive, weatherproof and you don’t need to do any catering, but you can still make the cake. Various packages available for young children through to pre-teens. Most party packages include bowling, mocktail, wristband, food plus a team photo. Watch out for the ‘extras’ which can ramp up the costs – addictive video games, table football and air hockey. Ages 4+ Bowling centres in East Kent.
A huge number of trampoline centres have opened in Kent over the last few years so there is bound to be one near you. Centres like GRAVITY, GO JUMP IN, SOAR and FLIP OUT provide everything you need to throw a bouncing party, including the party food. Activities range from time loose on the trampolines to party games like dodgeball and there are a range of themes available.
gravity-uk.com (Maidstone and Bluewater)
THE RARE BREEDS CENTRE near Ashford offers the perfect party venue for little ones without any of the clearing up. Kids can get up close to the farm animals – pigs, goats, lambs, chickens, rabbits and run around in the indoor and outdoor play areas. There’s a hot or cold party tea and decorated party table, including masks and a party bag for each child.
Dreamland sea theme
There’s much party fun to be had at DREAMLAND in Margate for little ones. The Octopus’s Garden is a special soft play area with sand for themed parties: Under the Sea, Pirates, Mermaids anyone? For older children there’s a Roller Disco, or you can get special party rates for the Dreamland rides. Children can also see a show at Teddy and Betty Land within the amusement park.
Aimed mainly at older children, country sports, like archery and falconry are ideal for those with a love of the outdoors. JOE’S BOWS, located near Faversham, provides a mobile party service, either bringing their experiences to a venue near you or to Shorne Woods Country Park (near Gravesend). Joe’s Bows can organise field target parties and also arrange owl-encounter experiences.
Pottery painting creative fun
MUDPIE in Sandgate, near Folkestone, is just one of many venues offering pottery painting parties across Kent. A great choice for creative children aged five and upwards, who can choose a plain piece of pottery and decorate it while enjoying a special celebration tea. At the end of the event the pieces are left for firing and can usually be picked up within a week. Why not get even messier with a clay modelling party, also provided by Mudpie.
Pop star recording
This is a party which will be remembered for a lifetime, and child each receive their own high quality recording to treasure forever.
Kids get to choose which songs they would like to sing and RIGHT TRACK MUSIC in Ashford will source high quality backing tracks in advance for practice. There’s rehearsal, performance in a recording studio, mixing, sound editing and sampling using the latest music technology to make the recordings worthy of The Voice. Songs are emailed in MP3 to all guests.
Self-catering space for birthday cake and nibbles.
Book a party bus
GAMES ON WHEELS CHILDREN’S PARTIES takes the stress out of organising children’s party at home by rolling up to your door and fully hosting a gaming party for up to 16 kids! The gaming bus is the same length as two cars parked behind each other, and the normal width of any van – so parking is easy
For smaller children, there’s double decker fun on KRAZY KIDZ PARTY BUS which will come to your home or a venue of your choice and lay on a soft play party downstairs, with the party food and colouring/craft space on the top deck.
Adult paintballing can get pretty rough so a child-friendly option like RW PAINTBALL in Canterbury and Longfield near Dartford, ensures they can have fun without the high impact.
Suitable for children 8-11, their low impact paintball games are a series of missions set across several woodland zones. No impact laser tag parties are also available for children 8+.
Staying at home? Pirates, Frozen, Superheroes – browse loads of children’s party ideas – themes, decorating, fancy dress, party food, facepainting, games and more.
BBC GOOD FOOD is rammed with great party food ideas for children’s parties. At GoMunkee, we hope we’ve given you some inspiration. If we’ve missed anything, please let us know in the comments section.
Check out Amazon for party book ideas.