5 Toddler Birthday Party Ideas Your Child Will Love

Child blowing out candles on colorful cake.

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  • Toddler birthday parties should be fun for toddlers and their families, but they often cause parents a lot of stress. 
  • Toddler birthdays should be simple events so they don’t overwhelm your toddler guests. 
  • You can put your own spin on many creative toddler party ideas with just a little imagination. 

Parents can feel so much pressure to throw the perfect birthday party for their toddler. The more kids’ birthday parties you attend, the more you may feel like an afternoon of musical chairs and homemade cake just won’t cut it.

The good news is, though, that’s not true. For a toddler, a birthday party is about their friends, family, and cake. That’s genuinely all they care about. Your toddler won’t notice or remember whether the napkins matched the balloons or what the party favors were.     

Whether they play in the mud all day or you hire the most expensive magician in town, a toddler really only cares about two things for their birthday: that they are special and that there’s cake!  

So take some pressure off yourself and check out these toddler birthday party ideas that your child will love.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Your Toddler’s Birthday

Some might think a toddler birthday party is an indulgence. After all, tiny toddlers probably won’t remember their second or third birthday party, so what’s the point? There are actually quite a few good reasons to make a birthday special for your child: 

Healthy Self-esteem 

A day of attention from family and friends makes a child feel noticed, loved, and worthy of celebration. 

Practicing Social Skills 

Parties with other children and adults teach kids about sharing, giving, and inclusion of others in our special moments. It’s an opportunity to experience and strengthen the bonds of first friendships. 

Making Memories 

Children may not remember the details of their party outfit or the games they played. They will, however, remember the positive feelings and happiness they had with family and friends. 

Learning About Time and Age

According to developmental psychologist Jacqueline Woolley, Ph.D, birthday celebrations help children understand the concepts of time, age, and getting older. The annual birthday party marks time for children, no matter how lavish or simple it is. It grounds their understanding of getting older and everything that means. 

Kids birthday party.

What Is the Best Time of the Day to Have a Birthday Party for Your Toddler?

Consider meal and nap times when choosing the time for your toddler’s birthday party. For your toddler guests to have a good time, they need to be well-fed and rested. 

Plan Around Meals

If you plan a party at lunchtime, be prepared to cater a meal for the children and adults. If you plan a party for the afternoon, for example, at 2 p.m., you’ll still need plenty of snacks available, but you won’t have to provide a whole meal. 

Plan Around Naps 

Remember that many toddlers still nap once a day. Consider having a party in the morning, for example, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Toddlers will still be alert in the morning but can go home for lunch and naps. 

Tips on How to Organize Your Toddler’s Birthday Party

Below is a checklist of the most important things to remember to get your toddler birthday party organized. Remember to plan in advance, especially if renting a venue or hiring an entertainer. 

Party Components 
What to Remember 
Number of Guests
  • Make a list of important party guests, like grandparents.
  • Make a list of toddler guests.
  • Remember that for each toddler you invite there will be at least one adult.
  • Will your total number of guests and be manageable? Or too overwhelming?
  • For a party at home, do you have a large room indoors or a big enough back yard for all the toddlers to run around safely with enough wiggle room?
  • For a party at a venue, is there an enclosed, secure space for the kids to play?
  • Plan for a two hour party max for this age group.
  • Schedule with meal and nap times in mind.
Be Clear With Guests 
  • Tell guests start and end times so they can plan around meals, naps, other kids, etc.
  • Ask about food allergies and cater accordingly.
  • Tell guests what to bring: costumes, art aprons, etc.
Food and Drinks 
  • Ask guests to bring a water bottle for each child to cut down on waste.
  • Remember snacks and drinks for adults who are staying.
  • If you’re ordering from a bakery, do so well in advance.
  • Think about birthday cake alternatives that are easier to serve and eat, like cupcake towers or donut cakes.
  • Entertainers, bounce houses, and petting zoos require advance booking.
  • For party games at home, set up stations and get someone to help you run things on party day.
Party Favors 
  • Think about party favor alternatives to breakable plastic toys.
  • Parents appreciate favors like board books, play dough, or bubbles.
Children celebrate with colorful cake and gifts.

How Do You Keep the Kids and Guests Entertained at a Toddler’s Birthday Party?

Now that you’ve decided who to invite and when, what will you do with all those toddlers? Keeping little ones entertained at toddler parties is often the most stressful part. Of course, you want your toddler’s guests to have fun and stay safe, but you also don’t want to go overboard on your budget. 

Hire an Entertainer 

Hiring an entertainer for toddler birthday parties is often the most expensive option. However, many parents feel it’s worth the money to take the pressure off. Kids’ entertainers are good at engaging the short attention span of toddlers, and their job is to create fun. They also give the party direction and a leader, which keeps small children involved. 

If the cost of an entertainer is out of reach, but the concept is appealing, sharing a birthday party with a friend from pre-school is always a good option to split the cost.

Create Stations 

If you’ve decided on a do-it-yourself party at home, there are many easy and inexpensive ways to keep kids entertained. 

Split your space into stations where your toddler’s little friends can take turns to keep the free play from descending into toddler chaos.  Check out these great ideas for stations:

  • Mini ball pit: Fill your blow-up pool with soft balls or invest in a ball pit.
  • Sand and water table: Stock your sand table with water, extra pails, and buckets for a sand station.
  • Dress-up station: Set up a trunk with costumes and accessories, and get an adult to do some face painting. 
  • Bubble station: Set up a bubble machine and play some music; provide enough bubble wands for everyone to take home as a favor. 
  • Obstacle course: Set up an obstacle course featuring cones, a crawling tunnel, and a ball to kick into a goal. 

Toddler Birthday Party Games 

Try out these indoor party games that you probably played and that little kids still love today:

  • Musical chairs
  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Duck, duck, goose

Parachute Games 

Toddlers love a giant parachute to run under and climb over. Regardless of your birthday party theme, ending the day while you play music and sing songs with dancing toddlers around the parachute is always a winner. It gets the other adults at the party involved as well. 

Parachute for Kids
  • Kids Parachute: this 8-foot rainbow parachute is made with durability in mind, so that kids can play endless outdoor games for many sunny seasons!
  • 12 Handles: twelve woven handles make it easy to fit 6 to 12 kids around the parachute. Grab a handle and make wind waves!
  • 15 Colorful Balls: this play parachute includes 15 brightly colored balls. Toss ‘em into the parachute and try your best to keep them from falling out!
  • Outdoor Games: the Woo-Hue Parachute! comes with a ton of fun play ideas for backyard games and park activities.

5 Toddler Birthday Party Ideas Kids Will Enjoy

You can throw a great toddler birthday party on any budget. Here are some of our favorite fun ideas: 

Bounce House 

The great thing about a bounce house for this age group is that this is literally the only thing you need to have at the party. They generally cost less than hiring an entertainer and keep kids’ attention for longer. 

If you have the space for one of these in your backyard, your toddler’s little friends will be happy to go in and bounce for hours. Then, finish the day with cake, and your toddler party is done! 

Bubble Party 

Bubble Machine
  • 【Amazing Atmosphere Maker】- BestJay Bubble Machine, rigged with two spinning wands, a total of 16 bubble wands. Can produce more colorful bubbles of different sizes than other bubble machines. A better happy experience for you, your kids and pets.
  • 【Stepless Speed Adjustment】- Unlike other bubble machines, two speeds mode will produce too much or too few bubbles. For this reason, we have configured the step-less speed regulation function, and you can adjust it according to the number of bubbles you want. Bring you a better experience!
  • 【420ml/14.2oz Large Capacity】- Holds up to 14.2oz of bubble solution. Large capacity, no need to add bubble solution frequently (60-90 minutes continuous use, depending on speed). And designed with a leaking mouth, recycling is more convenient. Tip: We do not include bubble solution, you need to buy them separately.
  • 【Dual Power Supply Modes】- The bubble maker is powered by plug-in USB charging or 6 AA batteries (batteries not included). This gives you maximum convenience and allows you to enjoy the bubble machine both indoors and outdoors.

Toddlers are fascinated by bubbles, and there’s so much you can do for a bubble party. Try a bubble disco by turning on a bubble machine and some music. Give each child a giant bubble wand to blow their own bubbles. 

If mom and dad are willing to practice with it, an inexpensive giant bubble kit will also help you wow your toddler guests.  

Giant Bubble Powder Kit
  • Unimaginably Giant Bubbles: These giant bubble wands create long, GIANT bubbles thanks to a 2-handle design, which has been used to set every big bubble world record in the last 30 years. Passers-by will be sure to say “WOW… Amazing”!
  • Bubble Powder Made in the USA! The WOWmazing Giant Bubble Powder is made right here in America so you can trust you’re getting a high-quality, reliable product.
  • Complete Kit with 3-pack Bubble Powder: Contains everything you need to create bubbles that are big, colorful, and fun: a set of giant bubble maker and 3 packets of WOWmazing Giant Bubble Powder. Each will make an entire 1 gallon of WOWmazing Bubble Solution. Use one packet at a time and simply add 1 packet powder to 1 cup of detergent (Dawn, Joy, Fairy, Palmolive, 7th Generation, Method, or Mrs. Meyer’s) and 16 cups of tap water.
  • Best Quality Giant Bubble Blower: Designed to last for kids and families alike, this big bubble maker is a lightweight, durable, colorful outdoor toy for boys and girls that is easy to use even for young preschool children.

Art Party 

Little kids love a messy arty party, and it’s easy to organize. Set up finger painting stations with giant poster boards or butcher paper. Get a few salad spinners together for spin art. A chalk drawing station on your patio or concrete walkway is always a hit. Add a rock painting station or a play dough station for some sculpting fun. 

Remind your toddler guests to bring an apron or wear clothes they don’t mind getting messy! 

Rainbow Party 

A rainbow theme has tons of possibilities. Set up a cupcake decorating station with lots of rainbow sprinkles to shake. Have all the kids and grown-ups make a giant rainbow together with different colored handprints on a big piece of poster board. 

Encourage guests to wear outfits in their favorite rainbow colors. You can go all out with every color of decorations, and don’t forget the seven-layer rainbow birthday cake!   

Teddy Bear Picnic 

Invite each guest to bring their favorite stuffed animal to a Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Set little toy-size plates next to each child’s plate for their buddies’ snacks. Have party hats ready for all the animal guests. Turn on some music so all the plush friends can dance together. Have a parachute on hand so all the animals can go in the middle and be bounced out. 

With a little imagination, your teddy bears’ picnic can be a great birthday party.

Toddler Birthday Party Ideas Your Child Will Love

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