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Get ready to pull out the snacks and gear up for a fabulous time! Who’s ready to get creative and make a fun-loving birthday party that your toddler is sure to enjoy? We will go over a checklist of steps that will help you ensure your little one and their friends are having the time of their lives! We’ll also mention a few ways to make sure mom and dad are hanging in there and having some fun throughout the process as well. Let’s get our supply list in order and get ready to rumble with the toddlers!
Starting off on the right foot is important when it comes to party planning, especially when dealing with a bunch of energetic toddlers with short attention spans! Try following this list of suggested items to purchase, or tasks to complete, and you will find planning a toddler birthday or any party is going to be a piece of cake.
Checklist: Start Here
- Determine a theme and don’t be afraid to make it epic. Parties can be as much fun for you as they are for your toddler.
- Make a list of potential items to purchase that are needed for the party such as paper products, food, decorations, games, party favors. I recommend ordering them through Amazon for easy delivery right to your door, and so you can order extra if needed with 1-2 day shipping for last-minute RSVP responses adding to your guest list. Avoid ordering things that may pose a choking hazard if possible.
- Decide on a date and location to hold the party. Make sure the time frame will be short enough the kids won’t grow restless and that it doesn’t overlap into nap time.
- Make a list of responsible adults or teen volunteers you will contact to ask if they will commit to attending the party and helping at different stations during the event.
- Buy or create invitations and make a guest list. Mail out the invitations and be sure to include an RSVP date to respond by and a phone number or email. You’ll want to allow yourself a few days to order food from a caterer, or if preparing food yourself, especially when you are inviting a large number of guests.
- Anytime I can create party favor bags ahead of time, I recruit nieces, nephews, cousins, or neighbor’s kids to help me with the process of counting out the correct number of goody bags and adding one of each party favor or treat to the bag. I then collect all the finished party favor bags and place them in a container to keep them neatly in one place for an easy grab as parents are leaving with their child out the door at the end of the party.
- Plan ahead and ask one or two friends or family to help you with food prep, bringing necessary items to the party location in advance, assistance with decorating, greeting the guests, giving directions last minute to the party location if they need them, and guiding them to whichever station you are in at the time.
- Design an action plan for your party with a timeline of what happens first, GAME or CRAFT, third, CAKE or SNACKS, fifth, PRESENTS, seventh, ICE CREAM, ninth, PARTY FAVOR/THANK YOU FOR COMING. If you will be hiring entertainment, insert them somewhere near the beginning, so it buys you some time to finish prep for food or other activities for your party. Bounce houses are a huge hit, but be sure the attendant is staying to help you manage it safely, or have a friend or spouse commit to manning the bounce house for safety reasons.
- Plan to choose a bunch of pictures taken at the party and have the best ones made into a photo book as a final gift and keepsake to the birthday child (and maybe a grandparent or two). This would be a good time to hire a photographer if you don’t know a friend or relative who is good at photography that can be assigned to that duty at the party.
Secret Ninja Party
- Before the party, be sure to create a bunch of ninja stars out of foam sheets, about 3-4 inches in size. Split the stars into two piles with an even number of stars in each (about 12 -16 per pile).
- Also, before the party, make a line of colorful painter’s tape or masking tape along the floor in one room separating the room in half. Make sure there appears to be enough open floor space on each side of the line and nothing breakable near the open areas.
- Select two teams of kids and have each half of them stand at an equal distance apart from each other on separate sides of the line as if they were going to play dodgeball. Hand each child one side two ninja stars made from foam (one for each hand) and tell them to strike a ninja pose and freeze. The other side with kids is to be told to strike a pose holding their arms out in the form of an O whether is it beside them, under their legs, or over their head and then freeze in that position.
- On the count of three, tell the ninjas to throw their ninja stars at the frozen ninjas posing on the other side holding their arms in an O shape, and see if they can throw the ninja stars through their arms. You’ll be so busy laughing at the ridiculously cute positions and shenanigans of the ninjas holding their poses and their attempts to throw the stars, that you might miss some good picture taking moments. Be sure to assign at least one friend or family member to be in charge of photography at the party (just in case).
Larger Than Life Dinosaur Adventure
- In advance of the party, cut out giant dinosaur footprints and number them 1 to 6, and place them outside, or in a designated room for a fun activity involving math skills with number recognition and gross motor skills. Here are some wood cut-outs shaped as dinosaur footprints:
- You can choose to use a large die to roll to see which numbered dinosaur footprint the toddlers go to. Then call out an action they must do such as walk like a dinosaur using big footsteps like a Brontosaurus, jump up and down, turn in a circle, flap their wings like a Pteranodon, roar like a T-rex, and so on. This is your picture or video moment when the parents can capture a keepsake moment they will treasure for years to come.
- Another fun use of the dino footprints is to create the concept of a “cake walk” where the footprints are set up in a large circle and the kids have to walk around the circle while music plays, but when the music stops they must stand on a footprint. Instead of winning a cake, make it a cupcake walk or prize walk so you can give out a cupcake or a small wrapped gift or dinosaur themed party favor if they win. The winner is the one who is standing on the numbered footprint you call out when the music stops. You can do this multiple times, but let the kids know they only get to win once to make it fair to the other children playing.
You can read a short, engaging book about dinosaurs to the group of party-goers and then let the toddlers take turns sharing which dinosaur is their favorite. Include a plastic dinosaur (not choke size), various dinosaur stickers, dino-themed candy, or dinosaur temporary tattoos in their party favor bags to complete the theme.Here’s a sound book and pack of dinosaur figures as favors:
Dinosaur themed decor or props:
Dinosaur themed toddler safe toys or activities for transition time between games or eating cake:
and here’s a decor item and activity in one:
No matter whether it’s a girls or boys’ birthday party theme, a secret ninja party, or a larger-than-life dinosaur adventure, there’s bound to be loads of laughs, games, snacks, and fun for all to enjoy. Make memories you and your toddler will treasure forever while keeping things organized and easier to manage than ever before. Want to throw parties more often throughout the year? No problem! Just refer back to this post for the handy checklist and creative ideas that will enhance any party you want to hold. You can even apply most of the steps in the checklist whether your party is for toddlers, elementary, or teens. Now go out there and have a blast with your toddler and his friends on his birthday and make some amazing memories!
Does your kids love pajama parties? Check out this guide on how to host a pajama brunch party for snuggly, easy mornings.