If you dread the thought of your baby's next big occasion, take a moment to look over our ideas for simple birthday party ideas for toddlers. All too often, we make toddler parties too elaborate and invite too many people; in the end, both parents and guests (and the guest of honor) are exhausted to the point of tears. Most experts suggest limiting the number of guests to match your child's age: for example, if your kid is 3, limit your invites to 3 guests. If this seems impossible, try selecting an easily crafted, simple party with an appealing theme. The following suggestions readily lend themselves to "theme parties," making it easy for you to create invitations, decorations, and activities.
1. Camping Out
Set up tents in your backyard, tell stories (around a campfire if you can manage it), and serve camp-out food: hot dogs and s'mores!
Ride em cowboy! This party easily lends itself to a bunch of activity ideas: stick pony races, horseshoes, and pin the tail on the donkey, for starters. Serve authentic cowboy food (beans and cornbread is a good start), and sing cowboy songs.
3. Birthday at the Barnyard
If your child adores life on the farm, bring it to life for his birthday. You can have animal puppet shows, play Duck, Duck, Goose, and sing endless choruses of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." A special circle time featuring barnyard stories adds a nice touch.
4. Garden Party
If your little one loves the great outdoors, make her party a gardening extravaganza. Have a teenager on hand to do flower face painting. You can also have each guest decorate a plant stake or even plant a small flower in a pot to take home.
5. Dinosaur Party
If your child is obsessed with dinosaurs, make your home an excavation site. You can create a sandbox in the backyard filled with fossils (recipes for making fossils are easily found online), or other treasures, and let the kids go on a dig. Tailor traditional party games to match the theme; for example, play Pin the Tail on the T-Rex!
6. Pirate Treasure Hunt
Arrrrgh, mateys! A pirate party means fun for everyone. Have a pirate scavenger hunt, or create a treasure map and have a buried box of treasure at the "X"; chocolate gold coins make excellent pirate booty.
7. Swimming Party
If you have a pool, or have access to one, all you need are some pool toys, sunscreen and ice cream (and obviously someone who can watch them at all times). That's it--simple and fun!
8. Princess Tea Party
If your little girl loves playing princess, a tea party is ideal. Serve tiny sandwiches and petit fours on nice plates, brew decaffeinated tea and mix with a little fruit juice. The activities can be as simple as the tea party itself, or you can add a few craft projects. Needless to say, each guest dresses up in her finest princess outfit.
These parties can be made into something quite elaborate, but by keeping things simple, you will save yourself and your guests a lot of stress. These themes are flexible enough to accomodate toddlers of any age and are fun for everyone!