At a glance:
- What to do at a Toddler’s Birthday Party
- Best Birthday Games for 2 & 3 Year Olds
- Activity Station Ideas
Toddler Birthday Party Activities
What do you do at a toddlers birthday party?
Toddlers birthday parties are similar to big kid parties, but are different in a few ways:
1. They should be shorter. 1.5-2 hours should be enough time to have fun, but also keeps naps in mind for the party goers and host two year old.
2. Parents will stay. Most toddler parties also include the parents. While you don’t have to entertain the adults, you do need to feed them.
When it comes to party activities, toddlers are pretty amused with just playing with toys and eating cake at a party. However, once the novelty of the toys wears off you will need to entertain your group of two and three year olds somehow.
Simplicity and fast set-up are key. Toddlers have very short attention spans so you will lose them if you ask them to wait while you set up your games or if the games aren’t easy enough for them to understand the rules.
Don’t play competitive games. Keep everyone happy by playing group games where everyone has fun or “wins”.
Have enough for everyone. Whether you set up a craft or play a game with prizes ensure you have enough for all the toddlers – who are notorious for not sharing well. Buy extra crayons, etc.
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Toddler Birthday Party Games
1. Simon Says – this classic game never goes out of style and is simple enough for toddlers. The closer to two most of them are the less “simon didn’t say” you can skip so there aren’t “losers”. They will just like doing all the actions together.
2. Pass the Parcel – this game is in one of my favorite Peppa Pig episodes. Not common in North America, but it should be!
You need one “main prize” and a bunch of smaller prizes (1 for every child playing is ideal so they all win). As well as a variety of wrapping paper.
Wrap the main gift in one color of wrapping paper then add a smaller prize on top and wrap again enclosing the smaller prize in the “parcel”. Use a different color wrapping paper for each layer. Keep going until you have multiple layers and prizes.
How to play:
Get your toddlers in a circle and play music as they pass the parcel to each other. Whoever is holding the parcel when the music stops gets to unwrap one layer and keep the prize. Keep going until the main prize is won.
Tip: Make sure to stop the music for each child so they each get a prize and you can let the birthday boy or girl “win” the big prize.
If you want all the prep work taken care of you can buy premade pass the parcels from Etsy!
3. Red Light Green Light – this is an old school-yard game, best for 3 year olds and up.
4. Animal Walks – A great energy burn.
Great for the backyard or a large room. Similar to follow the leader, one person (an adult to start) names an animal and shows all the kids how to walk like that animal.
For example: “Walk like a penguin” then walk from one end of the room to the other like a penguin (toes pointed out, arms out by your side and hands pointing out).
The two year olds have to follow. Once they get the concept you can start asking the kids what animal they want to walk like.
5. Freeze Dance: A little bit of screen time at a party is ok in my books if it gets kids moving.
This is the most popular video you can find on YouTube.
But they also have an animal dance one too. They will probably ask for you to replay it a million times!
You can easily do it without the screen if you have an adult lead the way.
Board Games for 2 year olds.
Two year olds are a little too young for traditional board games.
The one that we are just starting to get into is this one….
You shake the giant colored “dice” and pick a card that matches that card. My daughter just turned 2.5 and likes shaking and throwing the dice and picking out a card that matches the color.
Prior to this she just liked shaking the dice – but we used it to work on her colors. 3 year olds and up will like this simple game.
Toddler Birthday Party Activities – Activity Stations
Setting up stations that the two year olds can migrate to depending on their interests will also keep them amused and happy…our goal of course!
Before the Party: Consider picking up some folding toddler sized chairs (like these from Amazon) for the party to set up at the stations.
1. Playdoh or Clay station:
Grab this massive Playdoh set and create a destination. Add lots of “tools” their little hands can hold and play with.
2. Coloring station:
When my friend hosted a teddy bear picnic themed party she set up coloring stations with printed out paper with teddy bears and crayons. If your party has a theme, find coloring pages to match and pick up a big pack of crayons.
3. Sensory bins
Another activity that can also be tailored for your party’s theme!
For example if you were hosting a dinosaur party you could pick up a large bin (like this one on Amazon) and fill it with plastic dinosaurs, dried colored green rice or water beads, etc.
Tip: the messier the base (ex. rice, pasta, sand, etc) in your sensory box, the bigger the table cloth you should put under the bin. This will be a messy activity – if you can do it on tiled floor or outside that’s best.
Toddler Birthday Party Activities – Conclusion
With a few planned games and activities you can throw a great toddler birthday party that the little ones will enjoy.
Send them home with a little goodie bag of toddler-friendly treats (think low sugar and toys that won’t pose a choking hazard) and the day will be complete.
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