How to Have A “Cool” Birthday Party Outside in the Summer!


Summer is upon us and if you’re like me, the thought and reality of triple digit temperatures makes you want to escape to a cool, dark place until it’s over (see you in October!). Add a summer birthday party to the mix and it can be a completely daunting endeavor. When a heat wave approached my daughter’s birthday weekend, we got creative about addressing the high temps.

Here are 5 Tips to Have A “Cool” Birthday Party Outside in the Summer!

Tip #1: Pick a “cool” theme

When the temps are hot – bring on the cool! Choose a theme that offers some relief from the heat with refreshing goodies like fruit, popsicles, and/or ice cream. We chose to have an ice cream social at the park. Even though it was much hotter than we’d have liked, our treats offered a bit of relief from the heat!

Summer Birthday Party

How to Successfully Plan a Kid's Summer Birthday Party

Tip #2: Shade is your friend

So this is probably a given, but it’s so important! You don’t have to sacrifice location simply because you won’t be indoors. We found this brand new RV awning on OfferUp for $150. WAY cheaper than renting one and we were able to turn around and sell it for the same price when we were done!

Summer Birthday PartyI’d been wanting to get a teepee for my daughter to use in her bedroom as a fun hideaway/book nook, so in the interest of saving money and embracing my inner DIYer, I made one! It was cheaper, so much more satisfying than buying one online, and we were able to utilize it as another fun way to provide shade at her birthday party!

Tip #3: Activities

Nothing is worse than sitting around in the heat twiddling your thumbs. If you plan to brave the outdoors in the high temps, incorporate some fun activities to help you keep your mind off the heat! Try having water activities like mini play pools, water balloons, or squirt guns. Anything to keep those little cuties occupied and having fun! We wanted to make ice cream an activity – so we had an ice cream sundae bar with all kinds of ways for guests to dress up or down their sweet treat. 

How to Successfully Plan a Kid's Summer Birthday Party

Tip #4: Enlist help

Our birthday party was all hands on deck. My sister is an event designer and was the creative brain and planner for our entire party. She was essential the day of the party, too! From planning to and setting up the entire event, everything was literally done for us! I was nervous even thinking about arriving early to set up the party while navigating how to keep our one year old occupied and happy, but with my sister in charge of everything… all we had to do was show up! Everything was ready and waiting for us. Talk about a serious weight being lifted! At the end of the party, we enlisted help from all our family members to pack up and load the car. It made such a huge difference to have so much help, especially with an exhausted baby in tow!

How to Successfully Plan a Kid's Summer Birthday Party

Tip #5: Hire a photographer.

This isn’t specific to summer but was definitely one of the best investments we made. It’s a growing trend to have someone photograph your little one doing a cake smash and most families love having up-to-date family shots. We didn’t want to have to worry about taking photos of the party or coordinating photographs to ensure we weren’t just taking them but were in them ourselves; we just wanted to enjoy the party with our little girl. We hired a photographer to come 30 minutes before the party to capture some family shots, then she stuck around to take pictures of the party. From the details at the sweet table to the cake smash and everything in between – it’s all there! It was so much fun to relive all the details and love that was shared on her special day.

How to Successfully Plan a Kid's Summer Birthday Party

How to Successfully Plan a Kid's Summer Birthday Party

Have a summer birthday party coming up? Have you planned an amazing party in the past? Share your ideas with us!

Event Planning: Board & Fireside

Photography: Elizabeth Lawlor Photography


  1. Love this! My baby’s 1st birthday party is this weekend. It is penguin themed. We will do some ice play outside, but stay indoors mostly.

    • That’s such a perfect theme to bring on the feelings of cooler weather! Hope it turns out exactly as you hope! And a very happy birthday to your little one!


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