Throwing a party for toddlers is easy. The trick is to keep them occupied while providing interactive activities or games. Anything colourful, happy, artistic, and fun. Once you have a theme, you can easily build on that. Take into consideration your child’s interests or go on a general theme.
If you are stuck for theme ideas, try anything that appeals to kids fun with a sense of magic. Try unicorns, bubbles, or bugs. Try not to gender the party too much. It’s likely you’ll have more than one gender at the party, and most parents aren’t into gender-specific stuff these days. Toddlers are kids ages 3-5 years of age. A good number of guests would be 8-10 kids. Ideally the party will be two hours in length and take place earlier in the day, like 11am-1pm, when parents and kids alike have energy.
#1 – Unicorn Theme
Ok, the picture above might be going a bit overboard. Well, maybe. 🙂 To make it a bit more low key, you can just get some silver tinsel and hang it as a skirt around a table. Get a bunch of party hats that kids can decorate themselves and wear on their foreheads. Be sure to include lots of glitter and rainbow paraphernalia. You can even find costumes and magic wands at party or dollar stores. Give unicorn bracelets or unicorn-shaped cookies as party favours. You can get pink, blue and silver (or gold) ribbon to make unicorn tails and string them in a line. Use pastel colours. Set up a photobooth with clouds made of cotton and hang tinsel from them. Don’t forget the unicorn cake!
#2 – Bubbles
Who doesn’t like blowing bubbles? This will be fun for kids and parents alike, and make for some really great photos! Fill the yard with balloons and provide all kinds of bubble solution and wand sizes. You can even make your own bubble solution like this: Measure 6 cups of water into one container, then pour 1 cup of dish soap into the water and slowly stir it until the soap is mixed in. Measure 1 tablespoon of glycerin or 1/4 cup of corn syrup and add it to the container. Stir the solution. Make your own bubble garland by cutting out circles from pastel or metallic papers and string them around the party.
#3 – Princess Party
Can’t say no to a princess theme. Throw on a princess movie on an inflatable outdoor screen. For decoration, string balloons to pairs of princess shoes. Get some crowns from the dollar store for each guest to wear and take home. You can also find foam crowns and get kids to make and glue their own jewels (using paper, or stickers or real gems from the dollar store).
#4 – Puppet Party
You can provide felt and popsicle sticks so kids can make their own puppets and put on a show at the end of it. You can easily build a little stage out of cardboard boxes make curtains out of excess material you have lying around.
#5 – Musical Hoops
Grab some hula hoops from the dollar store and lay them on the ground. Instead of musical chairs, use hoops. Kids will get a kick out of running and jumping around. Then they can hula hoop as an activity and take them home as party favours!
#6 – Treasure Hunt
Kids love to hunt and be rewarded. Since this is geared toward toddlers, you can provide visual clues on where to find the items (for example, a picture of the tree that an item is hidden around).
#7 – Dunkin Anything
Kids love food and they love finding hidden treats. Try a fun idea like hiding a smartie in a pile of whipped cream and let them dig for it!
#8 – Animal Theme
Kids love animals. Don’t take them to the zoo or a place of captivity: just theme the party around different animals! What is your child’s favourite animal? Select colour scheme and snacks based on this. You can find plastic animals at dollar stores to give as party favours. You can even get kids to dress up as their favourite animal and they can play pin-the-tail-on-the_______. You can also provide animal shaped hats.
Be sure to offer familiar foods like sandwich triangles, veggies or crackers with dip, juice boxes, and of course, cake. Kids will gravitate to what is familiar and tasty to them. You can set up a yard-wide picnic with sheets/blankets, or borrow a bunch of little picnic tables from the neighbours. Kids love candy. Be sure to provide lots of gummy things for them to chew on, like gummy worms.
Kids also really like ice cream, so be sure to dole out some scoops with the cake! For gift opening, draw names from a hat. Try to give one larger party favour instead of a bunch of little things. Sidewalk chalk or take-home items (like hula hoops mentioned, for example) are best, and kids are more likely to get use of them. Bubbles are also a great party favour.