Separate boys and girls: During the pre-teen years, maturity level and interests are noticeably different between the sexes. With some exceptions, most children will prefer to socialize with those of their own sex at this age. If you want a coed party, choose a structured activity such as bowling or Laser tag to allow them to interact with less awkwardness.
Involve your child in the planning: Children at this age are starting to be aware of what activities, music or other party elements their friends will think are “cool” or “lame.” By planning the party in the company with your child and possibly a friend or two, you can avoid embarrassing your child more than you’re starting to do just by existing.
Plan a single strong activity to make the party special: For girls, you could hire a photographer and provide dress up clothes such as boas, hats and jewelry for “glamour” shots. Boys and girls would appreciate a chance to practice skills at favorite sports with a local coach who knows how to work well with tweens. Or you could schedule a contest using a WII or some similar game console with prizes for good performance at the various games.
Keep snacks simple: Food takes second place to doing things, but the guests will get hungry. Pizza, hot dogs, and a combination of easy snacks such as nuts or chips will work well. Be sure to include one or two more healthful options as a good example at least.
This is a great age for socializing. They’re starting to want to act like adults but they will still relax and have fun if you find things that engage them. Create the right party environment, and they will have a great time!