Is your child into anything military? Holding an army theme party is a fun way to celebrate and get all of the kids excited. You can take an army party in any direction. Hold one for Independence Day to express your patriotism. Help kids get their energy out by holding training activities and drills. There are lots of options for army theme party ideas. Choose from this list to make your next gathering a hit.
1. Craft the Invitations
An army theme party starts with amusing invitations. You can keep the theme going by creating requests that ask the “soldiers” to report for duty on the day of the party. Address the messages to “Private Sarah” and “Private Brayden.”
The copy inside can read something similar to the following:
“You have a mission. If you choose to accept it, you will report to basic training from 1400 to 1600 hours on 10 March 2020. That’s 2-4 p.m. civilian time. The training will take place at the Family Military Base at [address]. We will serve birthday rations in the Mess Hall. Uniforms are not required, but please feel free to wear your camo gear. RSVP to Base Commander [parent’s name and phone number].”
A cute idea would be to send the invitations in brown envelopes and stamp “Top Secret” on them. You could also print out the army seal and glue it to the invitation.
Another idea is to use a photo editing program to superimpose your child’s face on a picture of Uncle Sam. Include this on the front of the invitation, and write, “Uncle Sam wants YOU to come to a party!”
If you want to create a snappy rhyme, you can use the army chant as a basis for your invitation. On the front, write, “I don’t know what you’ve been told… John is turning nine years old.”
Some army terms that you can use in your invitations include:
- You’ve been deployed
- Reporting for duty
- Attention, Troops!
- Basic training
- Chow (party food)
2. Ask for Donations
One of the best ways to prepare for an army theme birthday party is to get authentic gear. At least one month before the party, call a local army recruit office. Ask if they have anything that they’d like to donate to the party. You might end up with mugs, shirts, hats, bags, and other items.
You can use these as prizes for games. If you have enough for each guest, you can send them home with goody bags filled with some of these items.
You might even be lucky enough to have a soldier come in uniform. If your recruiting office can’t provide this, find out if a friend would be willing to show up to answer kids’ questions.
3. Make a Care Package
A heartfelt activity that you can do at the party is to create a care package for a soldier. Organizations such as Operation Adopt a Soldier sends care packages overseas. For the party, you can ask guests to bring items that they can donate for the box. The Operation Adopt a Soldier website has suggestions for popular items.
At the party, put out markers and paper, and have kids write letters to the soldiers. The activity is an excellent way to show your appreciation for the people who serve in the armed forces. It also teaches children the value of giving instead of just receiving at a party.
4. Make Uniforms
A fun activity to do during the party would be to make uniforms. Buy a variety of T-shirts in drab colors, such as khaki, army green, and brown. Then, buy stick-on letters, numbers, and patches that children can use to decorate their shirts. They might put an American flag patch on their uniform or write their names across the back of their shirt.
If you are playing games with teams, consider buying just two colors of shirts. After the kids design their uniforms, they can wear them for “basic training” and to easily split up into teams. Team T-shirts are a great way to keep the party organized.
5. Set Up a Recruiting Station
When guests come in, have them leave their gifts and find their gear at a recruiting station. Set up a table with a poster of Uncle Sam that says, “I want YOU for U.S. Army.” Decorate the table with military gear, such as combat boots and helmets. A camouflage backdrop would work well here.
The recruiting station is also a great place to hand out any items that kids will wear during the party, such as T-shirts or dog tags. You can post the training schedule for the party, which will include meal times, activity times, and any other details that you want the guests to know about.
6. Make a Mess Hall
One of the most fun parts of this party to set up is the mess hall. That’s where the guests will get to chow down. You can serve everything on metal platters. Wooden crates also work well for decorating the mess hall.
If you’re having the party outside, you can set up the mess hall under a tent. If the party is indoors, use canvas drop cloths or camouflage tablecloths to create the right atmosphere.
Using plates and serving items with camo decorations would work well in the mess hall. If you can’t find those, use various shades of green, brown, gray, and black.
You can set out name tags for each child. Give each one a title, such as Major or Sergeant. Then, use only their last name on the tag.
Collect some plain tin cans to hold silverware. Place forks, knives, and spoons in separate containers.
You can dress up juice boxes to look like walkie-talkies. Cover them in black or camo paper. Stick the straw in, and surround it with aluminum foil so that it looks like an antenna. Glue a label that reads, “Walkie-talkie” on the front of the box.
7. Army Food
One way to make mealtime fun is to buy cheap plastic trays with dividers for the different types of food. Then, lay your meal out in a buffet style. Have the kids line up and move down the table as you slop the grub onto their plates.
Sloppy joes are a great idea for an army theme party. So are baked beans, mashed potatoes, chips, veggies, and dip.
You can make any type of food more fun by putting up signs that indicate what you’re serving. Play around with puns here. For example, corn on the cob can become grenades. Ravioli with red sauce can look like bandages. Meatballs can be tiny bombs.
Some other creative ideas for food for an army theme party include:
- Cannonballs – Whopper candies
- Green and brown “camo” M&Ms
- Large pretzel sticks tied with red string – TNT
- Red licorice – rescue rope
- Doritos or tortilla chips – battle chips
- Round brownies – brownie bombs
- Spiral tortilla wraps – ration wraps
- Green lollipops – ammo
- Warhead candies
- Pixie Sticks – gunpowder
- Pop Rocks – explosive devices
- Gum balls – bullets
If you’re holding the party outside, consider turning it into an army camp. Make a fire, and roast hot dogs on sticks. Have the kids toast marshmallows for dessert.
8. Cake Ideas
There are so many options for army cakes that the sky is the limit. One easy way to decorate a cake is to buy small toys, such as army figures and tanks, to place on the cake. That way, you don’t need any special skills to decorate the cake. Just make sure that you wash any plastic toys thoroughly before they come into contact with the food.
Cupcakes are easy to make for an army party. Use green icing on top to look like grass, and press a small, plastic army soldier into each one.
If you’re not good at decorating cakes, but you want to make something special, consider dyeing the batter to make it look like camouflage. To make these camouflage cupcakes, start with a box of chocolate cake mix and a box of white cake mix.
Mix up the batter separately. Then, divide it into four bowls as follows:
- White batter in one bowl
- White batter with green food dye and a dollop of chocolate batter in one bowl
- An equal mixture of chocolate and white batter in one bowl
- Chocolate batter in one bowl
Use a spoon or pastry bag to fill cupcake liners with the various colors of batter. Place all four colors into each liner, but don’t mix them together. As they bake, they’ll come together and look like camouflage.
You don’t even have to ice these cupcakes because they look so good. If you do want to ice the cupcakes, you can swirl white, brown, and green frosting to match the camo look.
If you want to get a little more creative, you can build a tank out of different cake sizes and shapes. Use a large rectangle for the bottom. Then, make a smaller rectangle cake to place on top of that. Bake a small, round cake for the top.
Frost the whole thing with green icing. Then, break up a Hershey’s chocolate bar into small rectangles, and line them up along both sides of the bottom rectangle to look like treads. Press round, chocolate cookies, such as Oreos, into the sides to look like wheels. You can stick an army man into the top, round cake to make it look as though he’s coming up out of the tank.
9. Build a Firing Range
At some point during the party, you’ll probably want to line up some activities to keep everyone busy. A firing range is an excellent army theme party idea.
To create it, gather a bunch of Nerf guns. Buy some helium balloons, and attach the ends of the strings to golf tees. Then, drive them into the ground. Use a pool noodle or tape to create a line on the ground where the soldiers will stand. Then, have them test their skills by firing at the balloons.
There are several other ways to create a firing range for a party. You could stack plastic cups into pyramids and place army figures on them. Place them on a table, and kids can stand up to shoot at them. Alternatively, you can set them up on the ground so that kids have to lie on their bellies to shoot at the cups.
Another idea is to place ping pong balls on top of open disposable water bottles. Fill the bottles with water or sand to help them stay in place. Kids can try shooting the balls without toppling over the bottles.
Spinning Nerf targets are also fun to make and play with. Buy a trifold cardboard display. Cut rectangular openings in the center of the cardboard. Then, wrap the cut edges with duct tape to help them hold up.
Cut some circles out of cardboard. They should be small enough to fit within the rectangular openings in the cardboard. Cut straws into 3-inch segments, and tape a segment to the back of each circle. You can decorate the front of the circles to look like targets.
Next, thread a bamboo skewer through the straw. The skewer should be long enough that you can tape it to the back of the rectangular opening.
You’ll notice that when you set this up, the targets are heavy. They may hang so that they face down instead of forward. If this is happening, tape a penny to the bottom of each target. The extra weight will help it hang straight and spin properly when you hit it with a foam dart.
10. Have Training Games
One of the most entertaining things to do at an army theme party is to hold various training games. A tug-of-war is an easy activity to get everyone involved. Place a long rope on the ground. You can knot it at various sections to make it easier for the kids to hold onto. Put a cone a fair distance away from each end of the rope.
Divide the party into teams, and have each one line up at the rope. On the count of three, everyone picks up the rope and begins tugging. The first team to knock over their cone wins.
Another idea is to create an obstacle course. Get some used tires and place them on the ground so that kids can jog through them. They’ll have to make sure that their feet end up in the center of each tire so that they don’t fall.
Hang a net or cloth horizontally, about three feet from the ground. Have kids army crawl through it. If you’re up for them getting dirty, wet the ground below them to make it muddy. You can also do this across a sandbox o that they have to crawl across the dirt.
You can make a laser passageway by stringing yarn across the yard. Encourage kids to make their way through without touching any of the yarn. You can put bells on various strings of yarn so that you can hear whether a child brushed against it.
Another obstacle course idea is to tie a rope over a kiddie pool. Have kids swing across the water hazard.
If you have a sandbox, hide some army men in it. Kids can dig around to find as many as possible.
11. Detonate Some Bombs
When the kids are getting antsy, and it’s time to make some noise, set off some bombs. To do this activity, blow up lots of black balloons ahead of time. You can even buy a balloon drop kit to contain the balloons against the ceiling if you’re doing this activity indoors.
Drop all of the balloons at once, and encourage kids to pop them by stomping or sitting on them. This is a raucous activity that gets kids laughing. Just make sure that the sounds of popping balloons won’t scare any little ones.
12. Make Paper Airplanes
Have kids “train” for the air force by creating paper airplanes. Provide plenty of stiff, lightweight paper for making the planes. Put out some instructions, if necessary. There are plenty of instructions for making paper airplanes online. These provide the basic structure.
Then, have kids design their own paper airplanes. Provide markers so that the kids can make the airplanes colorful. You can hold a contest to see whose flies the furthest or which one creates the most loops in the air. Give the winners a prize.
13. Play Drill Sergeant Simon Says
Most people know how to play Simon Says. The leader gets to stand in front of the group and shout out commands. The group needs to follow those commands, but only if the leader starts with “Simon Says.”
You can put a twist on this by making the leader a sergeant. That person must start each command with “Sergeant says.” The leader may also instruct the others to do army drills, like marching in place or push-ups. Play it up by having the guests yell back, “Yes sir!” or “Yes, ma’am!” before they perform the move. But only if the leader says, “Sergeant says.”
14. Capture the Enemy
Hold a scavenger hunt at your party by hiding several army toys around the room or yard. Tell the kids that these are the enemy, and they’ll need to be captured.
This is an excellent time to encourage the kids to dress up in their costumes or the T-shirts that they made. Have the kids find as many of the toys as they can.
You can do this individually or split the player up into teams. Award a certificate to the winner.
15. Rescue the Injured Soldier
This game is fun and will get the kids laughing. Split them up into two teams. Each team will have two “injured” players. These players must stand or lie down while the other kids wrap them in toilet paper. Then, the medics should lay one player onto a beach towel.
Everyone carefully grabs an edge of the towel and transports the injured player to a finish line. They must head back quickly to take care of the other injured soldier, though. Once both of the wounded soldiers are across the finish line, the game is over. The first team to carry both of their battered mates to the hospital is the winner. Award each member of that team with a Soldier’s Medal.
16. Other Army Theme Party Activities
If you want to keep the kids busy but don’t want to referee games, give them some activities that they can work on by themselves. If you’re holding the party outdoors, you can have them make tents to play in for the duration of the party.
Each tent requires five sticks. Drive two sticks into the ground at angles that form a triangle for the front of the tent. Do the same for the back of the tent. Then, lay a stick across the two triangles, nestling it into the spot where the sticks cross. Drape a drop cloth over the sticks, and secure it to the ground with stakes.
Another crafty activity involves making ID tags. Set out card stock or cardboard rectangles that have holes punched in one end. Have the kids wrap those in aluminum foil. Then, use smaller rectangles to write their names, and glue those to the foil. Encourage the guests to come up with nicknames, such as Turbo, Sniper, and Bazooka. String them with yarn to make them into necklaces.
17. Make Goody Bags
There are plenty of options for items to include in the treat bags that kids take home with them. Dog tags are a great idea. So are aviator sunglasses, koozies, foam dart guns, and bubbles.
A fun play on party favors is to offer a survival kit for each soldier who leaves the party. Fill bags with nourishing food to keep them alive on the battlefield. Granola bars and trail mix work well.
Then, include binoculars, a whistle, a flashlight, a compass, and a water bottle. You can use a camo bandanna instead of tissue paper to dress up the goody bag.