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GUIDE to planning a KIDS SPORTS birthday party

So your kid loves sport? Well, there is no better plan than throwing them a sport-themed birthday party! There are so many great sports activities, team games, and fun sporty challenges, that this is a perfect theme for children of all ages. 

I’m Zoe, and before founding Parties Universe, I worked professionally in the children’s party industry! I have years of experience with kids’ parties, what works and what doesn’t and I love sharing all my best ideas and tips here on this site.

We hope we get all the inspiration here to help your plan an epic sporting event for you child’s next birthday party!

Home or sport centre party?

Firstly you can decide does your birthday boy of birthday girl want to have a whole party themed around their favorite sports, or would they prefer a sporty party theme with a range of challenges, games and sports activities? (we have plenty ideas for both coming up!)

Secondly, there are options to hold a birthday party in a specific sports venue, or to host a DIY backyard style party (either at home or in a local park or hire-hall in a community center). 

Sometimes sport centres hold sports-themed parties with package prices and pre-set activities, whether that’s running a mini- football tournament or giving the kids an hour of activities around a trampoline park with snacks afterwards in a private party room.

This can be a great option because it outsources a lot of the planning and hosting and you know your kids will have a great time playing the sports they love.

However, these can be more expensive, and they are often number-limited. They might also be less well suited to younger siblings joining in, or less inclusive for those party guests less keen on traditional sports.

Other great options are to host your child’s birthday yourself, by choosing a sports theme and making your own tournament, festival or games challenges. This takes a little more organizing but gives you the opportunity to totally tailor the experience to your child, your space, your budget and all of the party guests!

If your child LOVES sports, then playing sports at home with all their friends with be the best day and a super fun way to celebrate their birthday!

Sports Venue Birthday Party Ideas:

If your birthday child loves a particular sport, booking a venue based party is a great idea. Here are our suggestions for a bunch of sport theme options for your kids party!

Summer/fair weather:

  1. Baseball
  2. Softball
  3. Soccer
  4. Tennis
  5. Golf
  6. Swimming
  7. Surfing
  8. Volleyball
  9. Beach volleyball
  10. Ultimate Frisbee
  11. Cricket
  12. Cycling
  13. Running
  14. Triathlon
  15. Basketball
  16. Skateboarding
  17. Rollerblading
  18. Water polo
  19. Canoeing
  20. Kayaking
  21. Sailing
  22. Windsurfing
  23. Beach soccer
  24. Beach tennis
  25. Beach rugby
  26. Beach handball
  27. Paddleboarding
  28. Rowing
  29. Softball
  30. Track and field
  31. Archery
  32. Horseback riding
  33. Disc golf
  34. Hiking
  35. Rock climbing
  36. Kiteboarding
  37. Inline skating
  38. Lacrosse
  39. Badminton
  40. Orienteering

Winter sports:

And in the winter time, there are even more ideas that your kid’s might love!

  1. Ice hockey
  2. Skiing
  3. Snowboarding
  4. Ice skating
  5. Curling
  6. Bobsleigh
  7. Cross-country skiing
  8. Figure skating (on an ice rink or outdoors with an instructor if possible)
  9. Speed skating
  10. Ice fishing
  11. Sledding
  12. Snowshoeing
  13. Freestyle skiing
  14. Ski jumping

Backyard set up sports party ideas

Here are some great ideas for sport themes for at home birthday parties! These are all ideas for which you can set up a party area in a garden or at your local park and let the kids have a great time playing games or tournaments. Hopefully these will suit your little sports fan perfectly!

  1. Volleyball
  2. Badminton
  3. Cornhole
  4. Bocce ball
  5. Horseshoes
  6. Croquet
  7. Lawn bowling
  8. Mini golf
  9. Relay races
  10. Frisbee
  11. Tug of war
  12. Giant Jenga
  13. Water balloon fight
  14. Soccer
  15. Basketball
  16. DIY obstacle course
  17. Dodgeball
  18. Slip ‘n Slide
  19. Ring toss
  20. Spikeball
  21. Giant Twister
  22. Kubb
  23. Hula hoop
  24. Kickball
  25. Water gun fight
  26. Sack race
  27. Capture the flag
  28. Mini basketball shootout
  29. DIY mini-golf course
  30. Trampoline activities
  31. Three-legged race
  32. Egg and spoon race

Sport theme back yard party ideas:

  • Olympic games (obstacle course, tug of war, ring toss, mini basketball shoot out)
  • Super hero try-outs (water gun fights, water balloon dart practice, tug of war)
  • Sports festival theme (three-legged race, giant twister, mini basket ball shoot out, water balloon toss, giant Jenga, slip and slide)
  • Classic school sports day theme (sack race, egg and spoon race, three-legged race)

Fun activities for a kid’s sports party

Opening ceremony/victory lap: Like at the Olympics, play the national anthem or a sports team anthem and let the kids parade around in a circle as an opening ceremony or inaugural victory lap!

Medal Ceremonies: Have a medal ceremony at the end of the Mini Olympics where each child receives a medal for participating

Learn a Cheerleader Dance: Get the group to learn and rehearse a quick cheerleading routine together to initiate the play!

Halftime Snacks: Set up a halftime snack station with classic half time game snacks (see IDEAS FOR THIS BELOW)

DIY Team Flags: Provide materials for the kids to create their own team flags with markers, stickers, and colored paper.

Face Painting: Hire a face painter to create sports-themed designs on the kids’ faces, such as baseballs, basketballs, or soccer balls.

Sports Trivia: Organize a sports trivia game with questions tailored to the kids’ age group.

Photo Booth: Create an epic sports theme photo arena where they can take epic pictures together or with cardboard players! (MORE IDESF OR THIS BELOW)

Pass the football: Classic party games with a sports theme twist, rather than pass the parcel, pass the football, and each person holding the ball when the music stops has to either do a silly challenge or gets a little prize! There are loads of different games you can add a sporting theme to like this!

Team Spirit Tattoos: Temporary tattoos with team logos or sporty designs for the kids to apply during the party.

Sports-themed Piñata: End the party with a sports-themed piñata filled with candies and small toys.

Great sports party decoration ideas:

Here are some suggestions of simple, impactful decorations for a sports-themed birthday party. At the party entrance is a great place to decorate, as is around any food table or music station for maximum effect.

Our advice at Parties Universe is always to pick or two main things, and only take on more if you have the means. It’s all about creating an atmosphere and that is easy to do with bold and simple decorations.

  1. Sports-themed banners
  2. Balloon bouquets in team colors
  3. Tablecloths with favorite team colours
  4. Foam fingers as table centrepieces
  5. Sports-team-themed party hats
  6. Chalkboard signs for labeling food stations
  7. Concession stand-style snack table
  8. Sports-themed cupcake toppers

Cute party invitations ideas:

Here are some cute ideas for sports event themed invitations! Depending on the number of children, you can use paper version or e-invites. Do whatever is easier for you!

  • Ticket Style Invitations
  • Jersey-Shaped Invitations
  • VIP Pass Invitations
  • Scoreboard Invitations
  • Team Logo Invitations
  • Foam Finger Invitations
  • Baseball Card Invitations
  • Sports Ticket Lanyard Invitations
  • Game Day Program Invitations
  • Trophy or Medal-Shaped Invitations

Half-time, snack-time! (party food ideas!)

Theme-ing the party food as a half time snack is a super cute idea (and the best part is, these foods are often simple and well-loved as well –  perfect for the entire party group!)

Here are some classic half-time food ideas:

  1. Hot Dogs
  2. Soft Pretzels
  3. Nachos with Cheese
  4. Popcorn
  5. Cracker Jacks
  6. Mini Pizzas
  7. Chicken Wings
  8. Sliders
  9. Mini Tacos
  10. Cheese and Veggie Platter
  11. Fruit Skewers
  12. Chili with Cornbread
  13. Mozzarella Sticks
  14. Potato Skins
  15. Quesadillas
  16. Veggie Spring Rolls
  17. Buffalo Chicken Dip with Tortilla Chips
  18. Sausage Rolls
  19. Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  20. Mini Sandwiches (sub, sliders, etc.)

Ideas for sporty party favors:

Here are some super cute party favor ideas for a sports-themed party.

  1. Mini sports equipment keychains
  2. Personalized water bottles
  3. Sports-themed stickers
  4. Team logo wristbands
  5. Whistle party favors
  6. Mini trophies
  7. Sports-themed notebooks
  8. Athletic socks
  9. Mini sports balls
  10. Temporary tattoos with sports motifs
  11. Team-colored sunglasses
  12. Athletic-themed candy or snacks
  13. Sports-themed magnets
  14. Customized sports-themed cookies
  15. Medal-shaped chocolate favors
  16. Team logo or player trading cards
  17. Sports-themed bookmarks
  18. Mini first aid kits
  19. Customized sports-themed coasters
  20. Sports-themed phone grips
  1. Sports-themed bouncy balls
  2. Cartoon character sports masks
  3. Miniature sports figurines
  4. Kid-sized sports visors or hats
  5. Sports-themed temporary tattoos
  6. Mini foam fingers
  7. Sports-themed finger puppets
  8. Colorful sports-themed shoelaces
  9. Kid-friendly sports-themed playing cards
  10. Glow sticks or bracelets in team colors
  11. Sports-themed cookie cutters
  12. Mini sports-themed notebooks with crayons
  13. Athletic-themed coloring sheets
  14. Customized sports-themed juice boxes
  15. Sports-themed bubble wands
  16. Kid-sized sports-themed t-shirts or hats

Photo both, memory capture ideas:

A lovely thing to consider if a fun way to capture photos and memories. For a sports party, there are loads fo brilliant ways to do this! You can set up inveterview backdrops, in those in front of which real starts get interviewed. Rather than advert branding you could recreate this with your child’s favourite team logo, or favourite candy!

These ideas are super cute for older kids and younger kids alike, and in taking these photos, they are not only having fun but you are capturing these memories. 

Fun idea: take photos on a polariod so give the kid’s a copy to take home on the spot!

Here are some cute photo booth props:

  1. Sports-themed backdrop (interview backdrop, NFL logo, Olympic ages logo podium, major league baseball backdrop…. so many possibilities!)
  2. Athlete props (jerseys, helmets, etc.)
  3. Giant foam fingers, a great idea especially when you have ones signifying your kid’s favourite teams!
  4. Cardboard cut-out player figures
  5. Sports equipment (balls, bats, rackets)
  6. Gold, silver, and bronze medals (these will be so much fun to post with!)
  7. Cheerleader pom-poms (great way to engage kids with less direct sporty interests!)
  8. Chalkboard speech bubbles
  9. Scoreboard signs (The best part is kids can put their own scores up for a bit of fun!)
  10. Whistle props
  11. Megaphones
  12. Sports-themed signs
  13. Team-colored balloons

Good luck!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post packed full of sports-themes birthday party ideas and that you’ve been inspired by some of the options listed in this post!

There are loads of different activities and sports games to play so above all, make sure you’ve picked something that suits your child and that they are set up to have the best time! That’s al that really matters.

Best of louck,

Zoe xx

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