I've always been jealous of parents whose kids have summer birthdays. My girls' birthdays in late fall and early winter, ensuring that an outdoor party is only wishful thinking. We have to limit the guest list and activities to those that we can handle indoors. But for folks those celebrating summer birthdays, the sky is (literally) the limit.
Garden party: A garden theme is a lovely idea for celebrating a birthday and the planet. Cut flower-shape invitations from recycled paper or attach a silk or dried flower to standard invites. For placecards, take a small flower pot and plant seedlings. Label the pot with the name of the seedling and the guest's name. Play games like stick the bee on the flower (think pin the tail on the donkey) or get the kids moving with a watering can relay race.
Summer Olympics: Celebrate a sports lover's birthday with Olympic games that get the whole party moving. For the invites, cut out medal shapes or flags for different countries. At the party, challenge guests to events that range in difficulty to accomodate everybody. Ideas include a bean-bag toss, obstacle course, standing long jump (no running starts!), recycling relay or a hula hoop contest. Enlist your child's help in making score cards and badges for the contests out of scrap paper from the recycling box. Party favors include a handmade ribbon and a homemade granola bar for each guest.
Pool party: For the ultimate in summer fun, throw a pool party that's sure to thrill everyone at the party. Cut out flip-flops for the invitations. At the party, host a rubber duckie or ice cube race (kid have to swim laps without the cube melting) in the pool, silly water aerobics or Simon sez, or a flip-flop decorating activity (where the flip-flop does double duty as the party favor!) Other favor ideas: a reusable water bottle filled with reusable plastic ice cubes to keep kids cool all summer long.