Too old for musical chairs and too young to be left unoccupied, 11-year-olds can prove difficult to entertain. Though some may still enjoy traditional party games, few would be willing to admit so in the presence of their peers -- especially when some of those peers are of the opposite sex. Provide them with activities they can enjoy without feeling childish, so you can relax knowing they aren't engaged in ones that are too mature.
There's something about a photo booth that encourages people to act silly in front of the camera. Rent a photo booth -- or build your own -- and watch guests line up for their turn to document their funniest faces. Send the photos home as party favors. A photo station is an alternative to the actual booth. Provide a backdrop and fill the station with props and fashion accessories so guests can personalize their photo shoots. Design your backdrop and props to match your party theme.
Divide guests into two teams to play this game that puts a new twist on the traditional scavenger hunt. Instead of gathering several items, teams will start with one item and "trade up" as the game progresses. Give each team a small item such as a penny. Send them out to knock on one of your neighbor's doors and try to trade the penny for something bigger. Once they have traded the penny, they continue to go door-to-door and trade each item they receive for one that is larger. Set a specific time for teams to report back. The team that returns with the biggest item is the winner. Assign at least one adult to supervise each team as they walk through the neighborhood. Give each team a list of "safe" homes to visit (homes of friends and neighbors you are comfortable with) and instruct them to stay away from any homes that aren't listed.
Set up two stations, each one complete with two cakes, fillings, frostings, food colorings, gel icings and an assortment of edible sweets that can be used as decorations. Also provide utensils such as rubber spatulas and piping bags. Divide the guests into two teams. Send each team to a station and inform them that they are responsible to create a decorative layer cake with the supplies on hand. Set a timer and have each team race to decorate their cakes. To make the task more challenging, choose a theme for the decorating of the cakes. If the party already has a theme, go with that one or have the teams pick their theme from a selection of ideas you have placed inside a hat. Enlist the help of adults to serve as judges. Have them rate the completed cakes based on categories such as originality, creative use of supplies and overall design.
Gaming System Tournament
Most 11-year-olds enjoy some type of interactive video-gaming. Rent a home-gaming system and age-appropriate games that have multi-player capabilities. Divide guests into teams and have them compete in a sports-game tournament, a dance-off or a battle of the bands. Have an adult keep score and award bragging rights to the winners.
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