The smaller the child, the more a birthday party needs to stick to the rule of three S’s – short, simple and stimulating. For toddlers, the party will need to be held around sleep times, either early morning or late afternoon.
Keep guest numbers down – the general rule of thumb is that the amount of children invited should correspond to your birthday child’s age e.g two guests for a two year old.
Of course, a first birthday party isn’t much fun with one guest, but consider where you will host the party and how well your child gets on with other kids before inviting the whole world. Stick to three or four little friends as guessts for your child and insist that a parent remains with the invited child for the duration of the party.
Wherever you host the party, make sure the entry and exits are secured as toddlers can turn into mini Houdinis in the over-excitement of a party and no-one wants a missing guest to spoil the day. Make sure the grandparents or some good friends will be on hand to help you during the day!
The weather isn’t always kind when it comes to birthday parties, so even though you may want to host it outside, make sure you have an indoor option as a back up.
Children under the age of two have no concept of structured party games, so don’t even bother setting up a-pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. You could try playing musical chairs or cushions but the real fun will be playing some great kids’ music and watching them dance around.
Party theme ideas for under threes
Going all-out on a party theme will be wasted on very young children, but you can still have fun by choosing a simple party theme (which the adults may appreciate as much as the official birthday party guests! This will save your strength for the birthday parties to come in future years. Simple party themes include:
- Teddy bears picnic: Who hasn’t at one stage or another been besotted by a teddy bear? Ask each guest to BYO teddy and then hold the party outside sitting on the lawn on a picnic rug (where all mess and food scraps can stay outside!).
- Colour themes: Choose your child’s favourite colour and base the theme around that. You just need to devise the menu, invitations and decorations around a colour and off you go for some fun that will colour their world. Think pink, get some yellow fever or go true blue!
- Balloons – up, up and away: Littlies love a balloon and adorning a party with plenty of colourful balloons can make it fun – try and choose balloons that come in a variety of shapes and colours. Be warned though! Smaller kids often hate the sound of a balloon popping.
- Sandpit fun: Sand play is fun and so is the beach. When it comes to tiny tots and a party, a sandpit party is perfect for those with a backyard that comes fitted with one. Otherwise see if there is a local park with a sandpit where you can set up a party picnic. Give each guest their own bucket and spade, and let them have fun.
- Hat party: Most little kids hate wearing hats when they go out to play, but how about some crazy sparkly hats? A mad hatter’s tea party theme can work well – you can beg borrow or steal as many hats as possible for each child to choose and play with.