7 Toddler Birthday Party Ideas That Will Make Your Little One Smile
Your child’s first birthday might have been a mellow celebration with close family and friends, but now that they are getting older and more social, you might be looking for some more creative and fun toddler birthday party ideas.
How to organize a great party while keeping it within your budget?
How to make it fun for everybody without making it overwhelming?
And most importantly, how to listen to your child’s preferences and needs to make sure they have a great time?
Let’s begin with a few basic tips.
Get Your Toddler’s Input
Make the big decisions for the party yourself, but make sure you ask your little one for their input. They might mention a character they love from a cartoon show, a game they learned at their nursery, or some suggestions for the party decoration. This is a great way to empower your toddler and give them a sense of ownership and excitement about their party!
Get the Time Right
According to Danielle Walker, author of Against All Grain: Celebrations, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. is the easiest time to plan your party, since guests don’t expect a full meal, and it works well with most toddler nap schedules. Make sure you keep the party short: an hour to an hour and a half is usually more than enough fun for two-year-olds (add an extra half hour to three- to five-year-olds).
Paper invitations are pretty, but in today’s busy digital world, they can be impractical if you want simplicity and timely confirmations. The solution? Go digital. Check out how you can create and send unique, personalized invitations in only a few minutes.
Say No To Useless Gifts
By receiving big amounts of gifts every birthday, children stop valuing the gifts themselves, and instead find excitement in the act of unwrapping and seeing “what’s next”. As a result, they enjoy the gift for a few minutes, but most of them get forgotten as the child doesn’t engage with all the toys over time.
So, how to focus less on quantity and more on quality? Online platforms like Fig & Wally give parents the option to share with guests a list of gift ideas based on their toddler’s preferences or on their own knowledge as their caregivers.
This way, instead of being left to guess, guests and friends can contribute towards one or two more expensive gifts that the toddler-of-honor really wants, or an investment fund for a vacation or their future education. This not only gives guests an opportunity to get to know more about their birthday friend, but also to align with their unique developmental needs and personality and make gift-giving more meaningful and special.
Say Yes To Healthy Snacks
We all know that toddlers love candy and snacks. But did you know you can have delicious cake and birthday foods that are also super healthy for your toddler and friends? There are plenty of online recipes and toddler birthday party food ideas (like this one and this one) that children love, that are easy to make, and that come without a sugar overload!
Best Games and Activities for Toddler Birthday Parties
Here are some budget-friendly, educational, conscious, and super fun toddler birthday party ideas, games, and themes to give your little one an unforgettable day.
1. DRESSING UP
What’s so great about dressing up? First, children get an opportunity to play out their favorite characters, stories, and shows. What can be more exciting than that? Second, it can be super cheap and easy: you can make simple costumes and props using materials such as old clothes, paper hats and masks, cardboard, or face paint. The possibilities are endless!
2. BLOWING BUBBLES
There is something so soothing and magical about soap bubbles… and toddlers love it! There are lots of games you can play with the kids with nothing but a bottle of soap water and a few different bubble wands (for the younger ones, simply watching the bubbles will be entertaining enough!)
3. FREEZE DANCING
Toddlers love to dance and this game brings a new level of fun to this activity. It’s super simple: play some dancing music, have the kids start dancing, and tell them to freeze when the music stops and not move until it starts playing again. Play the music and then stop it, and keep doing it again and again. Sometimes, really simple games like this one are can bring out the most laughter and joy!
4. ART PARTY
Toddlers are extremely creative—and it’s great to encourage their creativity from an early age! There are endless toddler birthday party ideas that involve arts and crafts: coloring, finger painting, chalk drawing on the patio, or simply covering the walls with crayon-painted papers. Let their imagination fly!
5. FACE PAINTING
Whether you make it the main attraction of the party or simply an add-on, face painting is guaranteed to add lots of fun to any party. Worried that you have zero artistic skills and you don’t feel like hiring someone who has? Don’t worry: some cat whiskers, tiger stripes, or even a few colorful dots and patterns will be lots of fun for a 3-year-old!
6. TREASURE HUNT!
Choose a few items (such as balloons, sweets, balls, or toys) and hide them around the house. Show everyone one item like the ones you have hidden and instruct them to find the remaining ones. At the end of the party, they can take them home as a souvenir.
7. WATER PLAY
Remember how much fun it was to splash around in the water when you were a child? From baby pools and sprinklers to water balloons and playing with toys at a water table, toddlers love getting wet—especially in warm summer days!
Make It Count For Your Toddler
Toddler birthday party ideas don’t have to be complex: at this age, children are quite easy to impress and even the simplest activities can be a lot of fun.
Much more important than that is how you show up for them and the love you put into the celebration. Therefore, when thinking about your toddler birthday party ideas, focus on communicating important values with every little detail, such as fun, generosity, non-materialism, companionship, and investing into what’s important for their present and future joy.