Your son, daughter, family member or friend’s 16th birthday is certainly one worth celebrating, but it can be tricky to know exactly how. At 16 you aren’t a child anymore, but you also aren’t old enough to legally vote, drive a car in most countries or head out on the town and drink alcohol.
For some 16-year-olds, a more grown-up present and party would be their idea of a good time, while others may prefer to enjoy their youth as long as they can and get gifts to reflect that. If you are looking for inspiration for an upcoming 16th birthday, have a look at some of our top tips and suggestions below.
16th Birthday Present Ideas for him/a boy/young man
What present you give to your 16-year-old can say a lot. You don’t want to offend a budding young man with something deemed childish on the one hand, while on the other there are plenty of fully grown men that would enjoy nothing more for their birthday than a Lego set or action figure.
The key is to really think about the birthday boy, any hints or signs that he has been giving off, and then go from there. If his dream is to head to a casino or drive a sports car he may still have to wait a few years, but you still might be able to incorporate some of these ideas or give an approximation, such as going go-karting instead.
Here are a few birthday present ideas for a young man to help get you started:
Maybe a little obvious but still one of the top choices for 16-year-olds, there are so many games out there featuring different sports, scenarios and skills that it can be relatively easy to avoid the kind of games you don’t want and find the perfect fit for your 16-year-old.
Beyond the games themselves, there are all kinds of unique gifts that you can find alongside them such as interesting lights, gaming chairs, headphones and memorabilia that would go great in a 16-year-old’s room.
As well as online and video games, a good old-fashioned board game can be a wonderful gift. Some popular games include themes such as Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, and you can find something to suit everyone from escape room or code breaker games to Twister.
With the increase in popularity of murder mystery movies and games, this is a great time to buy one for your 16-year-old and the perfect way to bring the family or group of friends together to spend some quality time.
Murder mystery games by Sisters Grimm include a space theme, a poker night and a 1920s prohibition party to name a few, all of which involve dressing up and solving a murder. What better way to straddle the line between childhood birthdays and adult ones than with a good old ‘who dunnit?’
While clothes can seem a little uninspired, many people actually really like getting an item of clothing that they want for their birthday as long as it is something that they would wear. T-shirts and hoodies from certain brands, or with characters or slogans that you know your 16-year-old likes can be a great choice.
Similarly, your birthday is the perfect time to receive that pair of trainers you have had your eye on but can’t really justify getting. Shoes can be easier than buying clothes as people tend to have one fixed shoe size so you can just sneak a peek at their existing shoes, while clothes can vary slightly from shop to shop and in how they actually fit.
Along with clothes like joggers or a top from a certain team, you could also get your 16-year-old a gift relating to their favourite sport or even a sport they haven’t tried yet but often talk about. You could opt for a badminton set, golf clubs, a surfboard and so on, and maybe even arrange a few lessons or a day out.
16th Birthday Present Ideas for her/a girl/young woman
Much like with a young man, 16 can mean something different for many young women. One 16-year-old may be looking very much to the future and would prefer new clothes, make-up and other gifts that would reflect that, while others are still more than happy to embrace being a child for another year.
Here are a few ideas to help you decide where your 16-year-old lies, or even if they might enjoy a mix of gifts to go along with this formative birthday:
This can come in many forms, from a friendship bracelet to your bestie, a charm bracelet that can be added to each year going forward or even a new piercing and the jewellery to go with it. There are a range of items, prices and styles so you can find the right one for your 16-year-old to wear.
Again whether your 16-year-old wants a Harry Potter backpack or a designer label handbag, you can find something to suit everyone here. A monogrammed satchel may be the perfect gift for one 16-year-old while the next would far prefer a backpack in the shape of a teddy bear.
There is no end of games available to help make your soon to be 16-year-old’s day from Halo to Wii Party, Karaoke and dance games. You can also pick a board game like Articulate or Clue, or even try and solve a murder in a roleplaying murder mystery game complete with fancy dress and fun.
Some murder mystery games by Sister Grimm include a Grease-style sing-along game, a celebrity filled 60s mystery and a 90s house party, ideal to play with friends and really get into character.
One of the best ways to create a fabulous gift is to take something that the birthday girl may want or need, such as a t-shirt, mug, wash bag or calendar and make it personal. You can use a special photo of the two of you or a larger group, think of a particular quote or slogan and make a gift that is truly unique.
16th Birthday Party Ideas for him/a boy/young man
Your 16th birthday should be tons of fun and be spent doing whatever it is you most enjoy. Whether that is spending the day with your family and friends, heading out to partake in your favourite activity or chilling with a few close people, it is really up to you. With so many great parties to choose from, here are a few top ideas to get you started:
Take a trip
Just because you can’t go clubbing or to a bar doesn’t mean you have to spend your 16th birthday at home. It can be a perfect time to head out camping with your friends or take a family trip, see a new city or revisit somewhere that you love.
Plan an activity
For a 16-year-old desperate to get behind the wheel, think about hitting up a go-kart track or even rent out some ATVs as many places let you ride one solo at 16. You could arrange to go paintballing, rock climbing, ice-skating do an escape room or pretty much whatever you think your 16-year-old would like best.
Have a classic birthday party
Just because you are 16 doesn’t mean you can’t have your friends around, eat some cake, play silly and fun games and just enjoy yourself. Some people would love a BBQ or you could choose a theme for a fancy dress party that can then provide ideas for food and games as well.
16th Birthday Party Ideas for her/a girl/young woman
When planning a party for a 16-year-old the best policy can often be to ask them what they would like. Some 16 year old girls would adore a surprise party, and know that whatever you planned, they would love. Others may have a specific set of plans that they want to be met, so a conversation can be key.
Before you get too involved in the party planning process, check out these ideas for birthday parties for young women and see if anything seems right for your 16-year-old:
Pick a fun location
Again just because your 16-year-old is still too young to head out on the town and party with their friends at a bar, it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of unforgettable 16th birthday party locations to choose from. You could hold the party on a boat, at a theme park, on the beach or in the woods if the weather permits, and this can also help inspire a theme.
Pick a theme
This can be one of the best ways to start planning your party. Think about the sort of theme you might like, and what outfits you want to wear, and then go from there. If you want a Harry Potter party then that would look very different from a 90s theme, which would be different from a sports theme. Once you know what themes you like, this can impact the location, food, games and so on.
Do what you like best
16 year old girls come in all shapes and sizes, and what is a dream for one could be a nightmare for another. Really think about what it is your soon to be 16 year old likes best, and then try and build a party around it. This could be singing and dancing, an activity like surfing or football, watching movies or seeing their favourite band live.
Whatever you go for, make sure it is what your 16-year-old wants and you can be sure that they will have an incredible birthday they will remember for the rest of their life.
Your 16th birthday is a real turning point for many young men and women, so make sure that you really consider what would make the day special for your family member or friend and try and find the gift or party theme to help make it happen.
There are nearly endless options for presents and parties both varying on the suggestions above and entirely different, but hopefully, you have now got a good starting point to help you think about your soon to be 16-year-old and get started working on their ideal birthday today.