Keep that first boy-girl tween-age party under control by having a games night for the kids. A bit like a casino night for the adults, but without the gambling. Everybody enjoys good games, so just make sure you’ve got good ones, and plenty of them.
Checkers, Parcheesi, Backgammon- they’ve been around for centuries because they ARE good games that people, tweens included, enjoy playing. If you just play to win instead of for money, Black Jack is good fun too. Chess maybe takes too long for a party atmosphere.
Add in some newer games like Pictionary, Mancala (new to us in the US, anyways) and one or two active games like Darts or Twister, and you’ve got a good selection to make into a party.
Upon arrival, give everyone 5* tokens– poker chips, round pieces of posterboard that say ‘token’, anything at all they can put in their pocket or carry around easily. Everytime they sit down to play a game, the tokens go in a pile for that game, and the winner takes the pile, and moves on to another game. *choose the number of tokens based on the length of your party, and the number of games you’ve got: if someone loses them all too soon, have extras to give them.
Clearly, the kid with the most tokens is the winner, and you can play this up with a gift or down by basically ignoring it. The fun is in the playing.
Have different snacks available at each different game table just to add interest and keep the hungry tweens satisfied. Keep the music going too. If dancing breaks out, good!
You needn’t buy all the different games– friends and relatives will be happy to lend you their games for your tween party night.