My middle daughter turned 13 this past week and we celebrated with a Secret Garden inspired Planty Party. My girl is slightly obsessed with succulents...growing them, drawing them, and enjoying them. Every time we go to a garden store, we have to stroll slowly down the succulent aisle to see what's new.
We don't do parties every year for every kid, but thirteen is a big year, so I gave in to a party this time. I'm so thankful I did. We had so much fun, and I really enjoyed watching my daughter love her friends through their time together. I thought I'd share some of our fun party ideas to inspire more garden parties!
We decorated the table with ivy and paper roses made from pages of old Secret Garden books. My friend had just used all of these materials to decorate a table at a fund raising event. She was so generous to let us borrow them!
Start Off With An Icebreaker Game
I'm the first to say that I hate those icebreaker games that make you embarrass yourself right as you enter a room of strangers. Even when you know most of the people in the room, it can still be intimidating for a introvert to have all eyes on them.
A friend recently introduced us to a clever game that works great as an icebreaker: Disruptus. In the game, there is one judge, and the rest of the participants are players. When you are the judge, you roll a dice to see what category you'll be judging: disrupt, create 2, or improve. In each of these categories, the participants must come up with an idea to reinvent or recreate something from a sample picture given. They have one minute to come up with their idea, and then each player pitches their crazy idea. The judge decides their favorite for the round, and then another player becomes the judge.
We didn't play a super strict version of the game, and my daughter provided prizes for all participants. This helped both break the ice and engage her friends in the party. It was really fun to hear all of the creative things they came up with!
Each judge and the winner picked their pot and succulent to plant (their party favor), and then they picked a runner up who would be the next judge. This offered a fun way to allow her friends to pick their pot while still being fair to everyone.
Garden Activities for Teens
We split the friends up into two groups and created stations for activities. The first activity was potting their succulent. My mother-in-law is an amazing gardener, so she manned this station and helped all of the girls pot their new plants. We purchased all of the pots at Daiso - a Japanese $1.50 store, but you could always gather these from thrift stores.
The important part of potting in little tea cups is to make sure that you have enough little rocks at the bottom of your container to offer your plant appropriate drainage. My daughter's favorite thing about this station was the cute succulent table cloth she found!
This project went quickly, so the girls enjoyed my 80's and 90's play list by the fire pit while they waited for the indoor station to open up!
Inside, we worked on making some paper roses out of old books. My friend had showed us how to make these beautiful paper roses. The girls enjoyed learning to make them!
We hid all of the supplies for our craft in these cute book boxes that I borrowed from my friend. I loved how all of the decorations followed all of the things my girl loves: gardening, books, and food.
Garden Inspired Menu
We posted the party menu on my fun Kraft paper roll board.
While we transitioned the craft table into the food serving table, my mother-in-law set up a parfait station outside. You know teens...must keep feeding them to save your life. In all of the hustle and bustle, and because the food disappeared so quickly, I have no pictures of this event happening!
It was super simple. We had small clear cups, and the kids used vanilla yogurt and various berries to design their own parfaits. Another great kid food trick - if they make it, they'll love it!
Our main menu item was Chicken Kabobs, which were AMAZING! This also kept my husband and father-in-law happy and busy. Between that and the fire pit, they were content to enjoy the outdoors.
We served it with Jasmine rice and veggies. It was a light and tasty meal! My father-in-law artfully put together these tulip tomatoes which were a hit. They didn't last long! (The recipe is in Polish, but Google translate does a great job of making it understandable).
My mother-in-law is also an amazing cake artist. My daughter sent her the design idea, and then she brought it to life.
Topped with frosted fruit, this cake was the perfect ending to a perfect party.
We finished off the evening with presents, hang out time, and roasting marshmallows on the fire pit.
Teenagers provide a whole new realm of opportunities for entertaining and parties. This fun garden party was simple enough that I might just be willing do do it again sooner rather than later.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.