Basketball is the fastest growing sport in the world and it’s easy to see why. Boys and girls of all ages love the fancy footwork, amazing moves and non-stop action. If your child is the next NBA superstar, what better way to celebrate than with a basketball themed birthday party? Simply follow these helpful suggestions and your party sure to be a slam dunk!
Basketball Party Invitations
Spread the word with the perfect basketball birthday party invitation. There are plenty of great basketball and sports themed kids’ birthday invitations to choose from. Cute basketball players and die-cut basketballs and basketball hoops are popular options, or send a personalized photo invitation featuring a picture of your basketball hero posing in their uniform or on the court scoring an amazing three-point shot!
Compose the birthday party invitation text as if it were a ticket to an actual basketball game. For example, call your house the “arena” or “center” (named after your child), the birthday party start time the “tip-off” and instruct your guests to R.S.V.P. the “referee” or “coach.”
Basketball Party Favors and Decorations
Basketball orange and black or all-American red, white and blue are good color choices for birthday party decorations like balloons and streamers. If your child has a favorite pro team or is in a youth league, why not base the decorations on the team’s colors? No matter what color scheme you choose, you can’t go wrong, as long as you stick with it!
Hang posters of popular basketball players on the walls. Borrow basketball trophies, shirts, hats and other memorabilia you might be able to find from family and friends. You can find toy basketball hoops that attach with suction cups for safe indoor games and little kids will love to toss around inflatable basketballs or orange balloons with basketball lines drawn in marker.
Large cardboard or posterboard paintings of basketballs, basketball jerseys and team mascots are wonderful birthday party decorations that you can make yourself, along with theme-appropriate pennants and banners like “(your child’s name) M.V.P.” and “We’re #1!”
Hang a sign “Welcome to (your name) Arena” or “Center” outside the door to welcome guests as they arrive along with bouquets of balloons and streamers. Decorate your outdoor basketball hoop if you have one… But remember, you’ll be probably be using it later!
Use fabric-safe paint or colorful masking tape to add basketball court lines to the party table cloth. Cups, plates, napkins and utensils can be found with NBA or basketball themes at party stores or simply use your favorite team colors. Toy basketballs, cheerleader pom-poms, noisemakers, hats, whistles and “We’re #1” foam fingers are fun and creative ideas for centerpieces.
If you’ll be playing basketball games or activities you can purchase T-shirts in two colors to give to the children when you divide them into teams. You can even add team names or a party logo to the shirts with iron-ons using specialty paper made for computer printers. These make great souvenirs the children can take home later! If your guests are on a youth basketball team you can also encourage them to wear their uniforms, or make a theme of wearing the colors and jerseys of their favorite NBA or college team.
Basketball Party Activities
The birthday party games and activities at a basketball birthday party depend on the venue. If you’ll be playing at home, you’ll probably want an outdoor basketball hoop and a flat concrete surface. You may also consider having the party (or just the games) at a community center, YMCA or park with outdoor basketball courts. Toddlers will have fun with balloon or Nerf ball games that can be played inside, but older children will want the real thing.
Start the day with “Basketball Training Camp.” Run through a through a series of drills where the kids shoot baskets, do jumping jacks and practice their fancy footwork. Set up an obstacle course with objects from the house or yard that the basketball players have to dribble the ball around without stopping. This will give them a good workout and burn off some excess energy!
Follow this with basketball contests. See how many free throws each child can score in two minutes or with a set amount of shots. Challenge them to dribble the ball the longest or from one end of a court to the other the fastest. Add some silly games as well, such as who can spin a basketball on their finger the longest, dribble a ball the slowest or shoot the most baskets blindfolded. Award prizes for every event, and try to make sure every guest walks away a winner.
And of course, play a game of basketball! If you’re playing on a driveway, play a game of half court or “HORSE” instead of a full game. You may want to set a time or point limit as well, if you’re worried about the party running too long.
As an added attraction, why not hire a basketball player for your party, such as a local high school or college player to come and give the children lessons on their game? Build up their arrival and kids will think a real celebrity is at the party! If you don’t have a friend or relative who fits the bill, you can contact your local high school or college.
After the game, set up an autograph station! If the children play together on a youth league, blow up a team photo to poster size ahead of time, or simply take a group photograph and print it as large as your computer printer will allow. Let all of the basketball players sign it as a souvenir of the party. You may even want to print a photo for each guest so that everyone can take a signed photograph home.
You may also want to center the basketball birthday party on a big NBA or college basketball game! Turn your living room into a home theater by setting up chairs around the TV to cheer your favorite team on. If the party is not during basketball season, then hold a basketball video game tournament or watch a kid’s basketball movie like “Space Jam.”
Basketball Party Refreshments
Set out snacks to keep your guests fueled through the games, like bowls of sporty trail mix, granola bars and goldfish crackers. Keep them hydrated with ice chests filled with Gatorade and bottles of water.
If you’d like to be creative with your basketball birthday party menu, try to come up with a list of “round” foods such as sandwiches on round buns and a salad of fruit scooped in round shapes with a melon baller. Or try serving orange food and drinks, like cheddar cheese balls, carrots and dip and orange cream soda or Orange Julius-style smoothies. Pizza fits both themes nicely!
Or, serve food associated with sports events like submarine sandwiches, nachos, French fries, and chicken wings. Hot dogs are always a hit at children’s parties, and you can set up a toppings bar so they can load them up with whatever they’d like. Beware, this will get messy!
Bake a round cake and frost it orange with stripes of black decorating gel to look like a basketball. Of course, you can do the same in miniature to make basketball cupcakes. You can also frost a sheet cake with tan icing and decorate with the markings of a basketball court and basketball player toppers, or bake a cake in the shape of a basketball jersey with the birthday child’s name and age as the number.
After the Basketball Party
Party favor bags are a great way to tell your guests “thank you for coming.” Find bags in your favorite team’s colors, or decorate orange bags with black lines like a basketball. Large plastic stadium cups with basketball team logos are an excellent choice as well.
Fill with whistles, stopwatches, wristbands and sweatbands, basketball trading cards, mini basketballs and hoops and basketball themed stickers and sticker books. If you want to splurge, you can buy bulk merchandise like keychains and hats with the logos of favorite team from sporting goods or sports memorabilia stores to hand out.
As your guests leave the birthday party, set a basketball by the exit for them to sign in honor of the birthday child. This will be a memorable souvenir they will treasure for a long time to come!