Toddler parties can be a lot of fun! The child is old enough to know what a party is, and actively looks forward to it. And toddler parties lend themselves to a lot of creativity and improvisation, so it is fun for an enthusiastic parent too!
1. Size of the party:
Many toddlers have friends and playmates that they prefer. Invite them. But keep it small. A toddler isn't yet ready for large groups, and they prefer to spend time with people they are familiar with. Think playmates from the park, nursery school or neighbouring houses. A general thumb rule for the number of invitees is – The age of the child + 1! When you are inviting children so young, you have to invite parents too, as the children might not be ready to stay on their own, or even eat on their own.
If you have small parties initially, the child will not expect you to throw extravagant parties in later years too!
• If you are having the party at your home, move the furniture around and clear up some space for the kids to run around in.
• A local party hall is advantageous in that you don't have to worry about things getting dirty or breaking.
• Many people opt for pizza parties at a pizza outlet, as children seem to universally love pizza!
• Ask for pre-planned party packages wherever you plan to have your party!
Toddlers might be too young for professional entertainers like magicians or clowns. They might not be ready to sit still for a long time.
• Family members willing to provide entertainment is a great idea.
• Another good option is to get a storyteller with props to tell a simple story and entertain the kids.
• Some peppy music for the little ones to dance to, or sing-along nursery rhymes can be fun too!
• Another good hands-on activity is a fun craft activity – something like pasting, or colouring, or hand-printing.
• Get a large sheet and ask all the children to colour on it!
• Or give the children their own cupcakes to frost and decorate!
• Plan some simple games like ring-a-ring-o-roses or running and catching to entertain the kids, and always plan for more activities than what you think you have time for!
This is a good age for parties with themes! Themes make it easier to plan the decorations, food and return gifts, as it can all be centered on the theme. The best option is to go with whatever the child is currently obsessed with. Here are some ideas that toddlers enjoy.
• A cartoon character
• A popular TV show
• A popular electronic game like Angry Birds
• A Storybook or fairytale setting
Don't plan different menus for the parents and kids. Make something that both can enjoy. Some popular party eats are
• Vegetable Sticks
• Cheese cubes
Make the decorations according to the party theme. There are several packages available in the market for different themes, but for a unique touch, try making it yourself. Simple, and bright paper cuttings, or origami wall-hangings are easy to make, and are much appreciated. It turns out to be less expensive too!
7. Return Gifts:
Toddlers appreciate an interesting goody bag that they can take home. Good return gifts for this age include
• Picture books
• Hand puppets or finger puppets
• Art/colouring material
• Soft toys
8. Involve the child:
Prepare the child for what to expect, and involve her / him in the planning and execution. If you are going in for DIY decorations, get her / him to help, or encourage sitting with you and watching while you do the decorations. You could ask her / him to call and invite friends, and help in preparation of food. It's nice when the child appreciates the effort that goes into throwing a party.
9. Enlist help:
Request friends, or parents of the other children to help with the activities, and in supervision of the children. Or get family members to get involved, so that it leaves you free to deal with last-minute issues, and to interact with the guests and ensure a smooth party.
A toddler party can be very enjoyable, but fine-tune the party for maximum fun! And make it something that you, your child and all the guests will think of for a long time. Remember, it need not be an expensive affair. A well-planned, well-put-together party is the most appreciated!