Planning a toddlers party doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think. There might be a lot of planning that goes into it especially if it’s a big party, but there are ways to simplify the process if you know what to do and if you start early. Attending a toddler party with your kid is so much easier, as all you have to do is show in a killer outfit and Baby Shoes that Get Noticed. It’s different when you are the one doing the planning. Do you host it at home? in school? at at a park? In chuck e cheese? The questions are endless. Here’s how you can get started and make the process easier.
In a Parents survey of nearly 1,500 parents, 73 percent of parents still send paper invites sometimes handcrafted. Save yourself the stress and send digital invites next time. The environment will thank you for it.
If your kid’s birthday falls close to a buddy’s, consider a dual party. You and the other child’s parents will split the cost—and responsibilities. Just make sure each kid baby shoes that get noticed and will make them stand out.
Avoid Party-Store Traps
Don’t pay a markup for party-store items that you could find elsewhere for less. For example, chocolates may be sold five for $1 (20 cents each) at party shops, but a bag of minis from a big-box store can be half as much. Also, plan what you need and make a list before going to the store so you don’t get distracted or side-tracked.
Use Your Network
For entertainment, think about your personal connections and community resources.. For example, the couple once asked a friend who is a police officer to come to one of their son’s parties in uniform; likewise, their local college has bowling lanes where rounds were less than half the price of the commercial bowling alley. Also maybe your office magician will want to take his otherwise annoying skills to the weekend and come perform.
When kids are still little, consider skipping a traditional birthday party altogether. Just have a family dinner or picnic and take a picture with a small cake you made or bought from the store
Make Themed Party Favors
Try a personalized craft activity; it eliminates the need for hired entertainment and takes the place of a costly goody bag. “I type ‘blank’ or ‘DIY’ on party-supply sites, to see what comes up and pick something related to your theme. This is for if you are a DIY type of person and you appreciate the stress.
The Cake Can Be a Game, Too
Make a tray of mini cupcakes, regular cupcakes, or muffins. Frost cupcakes with icing or muffins with cream cheese. Put out bowls of sprinkles, colored sugar, and mini chocolate chips and let the kids dip in to make their own creations. Also, have a more traditional cake for pictures if you prefer.
Kids love goody bags and they really don’t care what’s in them—they just want to get something! Don’t make yourself go crazy or go looking for kites or T-shirts or other big-ticket items (except you are in competition with other moms lol). Just buy a box of sidewalk chalk, and for each bag, tie sticks together with a bright ribbon. Throw in a bottle of bubbles. Done! We put them in cute pails, but decorated paper bags do just as well. For 4-year-olds, you may not get away with a bag that doesn’t include candy. But for younger kids, if you want to include food, try adding bags of Teddy Grahams or Goldfish crackers. Don’t forget to make a goody bag for the birthday child, too! And please add candy!
Prepping the Birthday Child
Being the star of the party can be hard. A 1- or 2-year-old is overwhelmed by the event even if you discuss it beforehand. A 3- or 4-year-old is tightly wound with anticipation. Either way, talk to your child the evening before the party about what’s going to happen: Other kids will see his room, play with his toys, etc. Hide special toys that your child can’t bear to share. And remind him there’s a reward when the whole thing’s over: presents!
Let the Games Begin
By your child’s second birthday party, you’re going to need organized activities. You may even need them for his first birthday if the guests include, for instance, a bunch of preschool-age cousins. Some suggestions:
Have an activity to do immediately to warm up the kids. Try coloring birthday hats or putting stickers on a “Happy Birthday” sign. Decorate the children with face painting, washable tattoos, or hand-stamps. Not all toddlers like this, but some love it. Ideally, you know a friend or teenager who’s good at it—she can set up in a corner and let kids come to her.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Kids can search for cheap little favors or something seasonal in the yard. In the winter, each child could get a mitten and look for the matching one.
Music always works. Some parents shell out $100 to $200 for a local kids’ performer to come over and do a rousing circle time. For less expensive fun, try Noncompetitive musical chairs. Set several children’s chairs in a row with enough toy instruments on them so that each kid can have one. Put in a CD and play music as each child marches around the chairs, playing the instruments. When you stop the music, each child puts his or her instrument down and picks up a different one. Start the music and marching again. Stop, switch. You can also try freeze dancing. Play music and have the kids dance. When the music stops, the kids have to freeze. No one has to be “out.” Just play until the kids get bored. Lastly but not least, musical hot potato. The kids sit in a circle and pass a stuffed toy around while the music plays. When the music stops, the child left holding the toy is out (but gets to go somewhere fun). The last one holding the toy wins.