5 Tips for a Fun & Easy Toddler Birthday Party

How to Simplify Your Toddler’s Celebration

If you’re a fan of Pinterest, you know that birthday parties for young children can get out of hand. In fact, if you have a toddler with a birthday looming, you might feel pressure to deliver on an over-the-top celebration, complete with homemade everything. 

But most parents don’t have the time to take on party planning as a part-time job. Go easy on yourself and know that there’s no reason to go completely overboard for a 1- or 2-year-old child’s birthday party. 

In fact, keeping your child’s birthday party under control and not adding excessive to-do list items to your already full parenting plate will just make the process less stressful and more fun for you. Here are a few ways to simplify your toddler's birthday party, while still making it a special day. 

Create a reasonable guest list.

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A smaller party can mean a simpler party. If you are anxious about hosting a crowd or unsure of where to draw the line on the guest list, consider making your toddler's party family only. A more intimate guest list will likely mean a lower price tag, more manageable prep and (even better) less clean up. 

But inviting a large group doesn’t mean you have to over-complicate. For bigger parties, make a point of simplifying other aspects of the celebration. Consider offering guests snacks and cake, instead of a meal. Use a low-cost community space like a park or YMCA instead of your home and save yourself from clean-up duty.

Choose an easy theme.

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While a theme may not be necessary, sometimes it provides much-needed direction and makes the planning, purchasing and prepping easier for parents. 

How do you choose an easy theme? Think outside the princess box. Try going with a color theme — rainbows or sunshine should make buying decorations and party favors a breeze. Or, think about choosing a theme based on your one-year-old's or two-year-old's favorite animal at the zoo or even his favorite bed time story. 

Use electronic invitations.

Feeling overwhelmed by the legwork involved with printed invitations? Then don’t use them! While it’s fun to send invitations the old-fashioned way, it’s certainly not expected, and using an electronic invitation can save time and money. Evite and Paperless Post both offer a variety of designs to choose from. 

Simplify the menu.

Yes, it’s adorable when creative moms and dads come up with theme-centric names for every homemade dish at a toddler’s birthday partym but you do not have to do this. 

Opt instead for easy, crowd-pleasing and prep-light favorites, like salad, fruit, pizza and cake. Or, skip a main dish all together and offer guests snacks, like dip, veggies, pretzels, chips and salsa along with cake. 

Outsource the party.

If the devil is in the details for you, have someone else manage them. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a party planner; plenty of community spaces and businesses offer toddler birthday party services and will happily manage everything from the food to the entertainment and activities to the party favors. All you have to do is show up. 

While these parties can cost more, sometimes it’s worth it to take the planning and preparation off your plate. And it is possible to find reasonably-priced options — park districts, YMCAs, ice cream parlors, play spaces and even boutique toy stores often offer different party packages at different price points. 

Whatever you plan for your toddler’s birthday party, know that there’s nothing wrong with ignoring the latest Pinterest trends and simplifying. What’s most important is that you, your child, and your friends and family have a chance to celebrate your little one’s milestone together.

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