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5 Nongirly Birthday Party Ideas

by Hallie Richter

Sure, she might say she doesn’t want to make a big deal out of her birthday this year. Or maybe she’s not all that into being the center of attention. But the truth is that everyone needs to be celebrated, and birthdays really are just the perfect excuse to do just that. 

There’s a solid chance your daughter is telling you she doesn’t want a birthday party because the idea of a princess theme is simply too much to handle. She also might not want to branch out and do something different out of pure fear that it won’t be fun… or worse, it’ll be uncool. Gasp!

But have no fear. Up next, we have five original birthday party ideas that are perfect for any young lady. And, they’ll make her feel special on her big day without cramping her incredible spirit. 

Invention Convention

If you have a curious, science kinda gal, she’ll have a ton of fun with her pals at their very own Invention Convention. Start off with an episode or two of Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix for a little inspo. A little snack and movie are a great way to let everyone get comfy as they come into the party. Then, try a few simple at-home science experiments. 

Here are a few simple faves that don’t require a ton of ingredients but still leave plenty of room for fun:

  • Slime: I mean, is it even a party without slime?
  • Egg drop: use recyclables and let everyone make their own egg protection basket, then test them out to see which works best.
  • Rocket ships: use 2-liter bottles to make rocket ships and have a launch party.

If you have time, you can even collect random items from around your home or ask other parents to bring things they no longer need (we’re talking anything- shoe boxes, toilet paper rolls, fabric, old electronics… anything) and let the ladies have their own invention convention. They can think of a problem they deal with every day and come up with a creation to help solve it- homework robots, chore machines, you get the picture. 

Ya know… just a few girls solving the world’s problems at a birthday party. No big deal. 


Warning: this is not for the faint of heart or the people that don’t like to get dirty. This is a full-on mess, and goodness gracious, it’s a PARTY! Let your kiddo pick out a few of her besties to come over, wearing their worst clothes, to just get messy. With a purpose, of course. 

The goal here is to just look silly, laugh, and have fun. You might want to have everyone bring a change of clothes for the ride home. This probably goes without saying, but a Messtival is really only to be done outdoors when it’s warm. 

These are a few popular Messtival activities from parties past that got rave reviews from all of the big and little party animals that took part:

  • Shaving cream and Cheese-Ball catch: everyone gets a partner and a shower cap. Squirt shaving cream all over the shower caps (easier done when they’re in place on someone’s head, of course). Now have everyone stand across from their partner, equal distance apart, and toss cheese-balls onto the shower caps. The pair with the most “catches” wins.
  • Colored powder brawl: give everyone baggies of colored powder (I like this one) and give them a few minutes to spread out. Then turn on some music and let everyone go crazy! Tossing the bags and watching them explode with color is the ultimate mess, but it also makes for incredible photos. 
  • Cornhole with flour bombs: here’s a messy spin on a classic game that everyone enjoys. Fill water balloons with flour and play corn hole. It’s all fun and games until a flour bomb explodes.. actually, that’s when things get even more exciting.
  • Water balloon volleyball: break the group into two teams. Give each team a sheet or a big beach towel to hold. One team starts with the balloon on their sheet/towel and flings it to the other team, who must catch it in their towel. Make sure to have lots of balloons filled up and ready for action. Hint… overfilled ones pop easier if you really want to make a splash. 

A good old-fashioned water balloon fight is also the perfect addition to a Messtival. Just be sure everyone has enough time to semi-dry off before going home if they don’t have extra clothes. A Messtival is also adaptable for younger non-girly girls, as well as teens. 

Tiny Town

This is geared more toward the younger set, maybe 12 and under. But older siblings are welcome here. They just have to play along. You also might want to recruit parents or aunts/uncles to help.

Each grown-up, or big brother or sister, creates their own “building” as part of a little community. I just set up tables and signs in the backyard or garage. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. But of course, if you like to get crafty and carried away, by all means, go for it!

Party guests can roam the “town” and visit the shops. If you do this with older kiddos, you can make your own currency, preferably with the birthday girl’s face on it. 

Here are some ideas of what you can include in the town as part of your happy little community:

  • Donut shop
  • Smoothie café
  • Spa (manis, pedis, hair chalk)
  • Gym
  • Post office
  • Movie theater

Battle of the Foodies

This party suits the older crowd of non-girly girls, but you can certainly modify it to make it a little more safe for the littles, too. You can make this as simple or complex as you want. Once you know how many party people will be attending, you can start planning.

Game number one is inspired by Chopped on Food Network. Assemble enough “mystery boxes” so each mini-chef has the exact same ingredients. Layout all of the kitchen materials that you want the crew to have access to, with safety in mind, of course. Then, set a timer and let them go! 

Each cook can make their own creation within the time allowed. Of course, nobody’s actually getting chopped here, but it’s fun to sample all of the different dishes each person made. You can also simplify by giving everyone a little direction by doing with just pizza ingredients or just sandwich things. 

If you want to add another activity to the event, decorating aprons and chef’s hats are a fun way to keep everyone entertained, and they’ll have a favor to take home. 


Who doesn’t love a good crafternoon? If it’s nice outside, this can easily become an outdoor event, and you can save yourself a little cleanup. But it’s just as easy to pull-off inside, too. If your daughter is more of a free-spirited creator, you can simply lay out art supplies as a creation station and let everyone just dive in. 

When I do this, I like to print out pictures of different projects for “inspiration,” put them in fancy frames and leave them on the crafting station for subliminal hints. There’s most definitely going to be at least one party guest that’s completely overwhelmed by the open-endedness of this activity, so this will help keep it stress-free. 

If your crafty gal prefers more of a set project, you can just as easily sit down with everyone and lead them through the process of creating something unique and original. Here are a few crafternoon projects I’ve had success with in the past:

  • Painting planters: craft stores have no shortage of unique planters that are easy to paint. You can let each of the guests pot their own mini succulent, or if you have an extra green thumb, propagate spider plants for potting. 
  • Canvas pouches: if you plan on doing multiple projects, let the girls decorate their own canvas bags or pouches to carry home all of their loot.
  • Scrunchies: these take lots of measuring and a little sewing, along with patience on your part, but with the older set, these are a pretty simple project. It’s also a great way to use up any old t-shirts or fabric scraps you have lying around. 

And there you have it! Five of Nongirly‘s favorite tried and true party ideas that have been wildly successful with my very own non-girly girl. These are easy to build on, too. You can get as elaborate as you want. These are just to get the wheels turning. Each one is guaranteed to make your non-girly girl feel celebrated and special, even if she’s convinced you she doesn’t want a party.

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