View Full Version : Ideas for 3 yo birthday party
01-31-2010, 11:25 AM
I have decided to buck the trend at my son's daycare and rather than invite the entire class to his birthday party (20 kids), just invite a few of the kids he plays with the most and a couple of friends outside of daycare (total of 6 or 7 kids). We'll have them at our house and have lunch and cake.
Since the age range is 2-4, I expect the kids will be thrilled just to run around and play together and explore my son's toys. I'm looking for advice/suggestions on what I should plan for - I think we'll have about an hour before we eat and have cake (party lasting no longer than 2 hours, more like 1.5 depending on when people arrive).
Thoughts on organized activities? Or, as organized as they can be for kids this age?
01-31-2010, 11:27 AM
For DD#1's 3rd b-day, we had a magician come to our house, about the same # of kids.
For DD#2's 3rd b-day, we had a princess impersonator (Ariel) go to her daycare.
Same price, I would do either again, but preferred the princess at the daycare. Much easier for me! All I did was serve icecream -- no cake (allergies), no loot bags, no food for the parents. It rocked
01-31-2010, 11:50 AM
My DD just had her 2nd birthday party a couple of weeks ago. We had 4 2-year-olds and 3 5-year-old siblings.
Coloring was popular for all of them. They also seemed to enjoy the simple craft I had. Our theme was Minnie Mouse, so I printed out some Minnie pictures from the Internet and had paper ear headbands they could decorate with stickers. There are free coloring pages online for all kind of different characters. Last summer I found WALL*E for DS's 5th birthday, and the year before I found Nemo.
We played a simplified version of musical chairs. I bought a Memory-type Mickey Mouse Clubhouse game, with character cards about 12"x12". I put them on the floor in a circle. When the music stopped, everyone had to sit on a picture. That was perfect for 2 year olds. The 5 year olds seemed to enjoy it, too.
DD has animal hand puppets, so we used those to sing "Old MacDonald." That lasted for about 5 animals, and then the kids took all the puppets and took them over to the toy area. That was fine; they had a good time.
I also did a food craft. I cut pieces of bread into circles for a face and ears. They used (seedless) blackberry fruit spread for the ears. Cream cheese was the base for the face, with raisins, grapes, banana slices (for eyes), and Craisins (for tongue). They made a Minnie Mouse face. Then they ate it for a snack. Hummus would work instead of cream cheese, if you wanted something healthier.
Young children are happy with simple things. Coloring, craft, food, and toys. That usually keeps them happy. Music helps too, if you have access to power.
Since the age range is 2-4, I expect the kids will be thrilled just to run around and play together and explore my son's toys.
Yep, I agree with this. We just had some of DD's and DS's toys out in the room, and the kids played freely.
I rented a room at our community center, which was just a wide-open space. That would really well. I wouldn't have wanted to have 7 kids and their parents at my house. It was raining, so we couldn't go outside at all.
01-31-2010, 11:55 AM
One thing that probably doesn't need to be said but just in case...don't pass out invitations at school if you aren't inviting everyone. Mail them home or hand deliver. Tell those parents that the party will be small and you aren't inviting the whole class. It can be a problem if everyone thinks the whole class is invited and they bring it up to families that weren't invited. It's a small world at preschools so discretion is a good thing.
We did at home parties 1-4yo. I had really small parties. It worked to do free play, snack/ meal/ cake, activities, presents or play, activity, eat, activity, present.
We never hired entertainment. Some parties we went to did and others didn't. We played simple party games (Family Fun and BirthdayPartyIdeas.com have great ideas!) and had a pull string pinata. We also one year did a treasure hunt themed party and the kids followed a map to dig up their treasure (party favor). I went to the library and read lots of birthday party planning books. There is one that has a great breakdown on how to plan a great party depending on the kids' age (like whether to have winners/ prizes...). Very helpful:
The parties were low key and easy. Do you have any sort of theme in mind? I find that helps me to get the ball rolling on planning decorations and activities.
01-31-2010, 02:57 PM
With younger kids that might still be napping, I like doing at home parties in the morning. I have brunch food available for the adults. I've done cake, but I've also done sprinkled donuts stacked up on a platter with a candle.
Usually play for 45 minutes to an hour depending on how prompt arrivals are. Have treats, open gifts, send out the door.
Some "themes" to our home based play -
PJs - kids come in their jammies
Trains - brought out every train set we had and already had them set up in different rooms on the first floor
Coloring - lots of craft stations
Snow - little old for your crowd, but snowmen crafts, cutting tissue paper
Even if the toys are all readily available, it's sometimes nice to have pulled out bigger pieces and have them set up in different areas of your house so the kids aren't dragging everything everywhere - yes, that will still happen, but it seems to spread things out more when every kid isn't in the playroom dragging stuff out.
01-31-2010, 03:48 PM
For my DS 3rd birthday we had a Diego party, with a little Dora thrown in there.
1. Save the animals and bring them to them back to the animal rescue center. I took pictures of 12 different stuffed animals and put them on a poster board, so the kids knew what they were looking for. They then ran around the yard finding the finding the animals hidden in the yard. I decorated a storage container with Diego cut outs from the Nick Jr. website and that was the animal rescue center.
2. The kids then saved the tree frogs that I had swimming in my DS water play table. They scooped them out with a fish net and eared their rescue pack (goodie bag). I decorated plain orange gift bags with a rescue badge (again printed from Nick Jr. website).
3. The kids then had to follow a map to help Dora find the Pirate pigs treasure box. Swiper had swiped it and hid it in the park across the street from our house, conveniently next to the playground. I filled the cardboard treasure chest with candy for their goodie bags. The kids loved the map and they all bought into all the activities. They all have watched both of the shows at some point.
The activities we planned in an effort to prevent our house from being totally destroyed. We invited around 13 kids and I was worried they might all show up. We had around 6 kids and their parents. The kids did have free rein of the play room while we waited for everyone to arrive. I was seriously praying for good weather and we had a nice non-rainy day.
This year DS is into Toystory. So, I guess we are having a Toy Story theme this year. I am starting to scheme some games already. Defeat Zurg. Pin Buzz on his Space ship. I need a Woody game. Still have plenty of time to plan.
02-01-2010, 10:32 AM
WOW! These ideas are amazing!!! Since posting, we have decided on a theme (fire trucks) and I have looked at several sites thanks to your links here and previous threads about fire truck parties. I have a million ideas, now I just need to pick a few and plan this party!
I am going to attempt the fire truck cake on Family Fun - we'll have a family party the week before the party with kids, so I can get a practice round in. I'll have a few designated play areas (to keep things contained and will put away all sorts of small toys with a million pieces) and love the idea of musical chairs with large images on cards. I also love the scavenger hunt idea - would be ideal if we have a nice day so the kids can go outside. And, the pinata (see, already I want to do so many things...must...edit!)
Huge thanks for all the great ideas. :bighand: I am getting excited about this party now!
02-01-2010, 11:09 AM
:bag OMG you guys put me to shame. For DD's 3rd we had it at a local park and did themed cake, decorations and goody (construction- actually just excavators. Her favorite thing on earth at the time) and the kids ran around and played at the playground.
But I'm getting inspirations for next year!! So keep them coming.
02-01-2010, 11:21 AM
DD's birthday is near Halloween, so we had a costume party, they decorated each decorated a small pumpkin using foam stickers, yarn, googly eyes, etc. (no paint or markers since in costume), played freeze dance (big hit), pin the stickers on the spooky house, and we were going to do a pumpkin pinata, but it was pouring rain, so the night before, I made up clues and had them do a scavenger hunt around the downstairs together to find the pinata. One of the moms read the very easy clues, and all 12 of the kids would go tearing off to figure it out. When they found it, they just ripped at it to get the treats out (very Lord of the Flies, but I digress...). I did not have candy inside, it had mini bags of pretzels, stickers, temporary tattoos, dollar store kazoos, etc.
DD did not invite her entire daycare/preschool class. We have 9 children on our court that all play together, and she wanted to invite them, so we had the 9 of them, her best friend from school, and my two godsons.
Party was 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. My oven died the day before her party (yes, you read that right), so we ended up serving a Chik-Fil-A nugget platter, fruit tray, veggies and dip, pretzels and goldfish, and cupcakes that my sister made for me since I couldn't. They had a great time and it was pretty low-key.
02-01-2010, 01:03 PM
My DS just had his 3rd birthday. We did a dump truck theme. For an activity, I got construction hard hats from oriental trading and the kids decorated them with foam stickers (I got transportation, letter, and jewel stickers). That was a definite hit. Other than that the kids just played. For a cake I modified the family fun cake you are making and did a dump truck. I also made cupcakes since the dump truck cake was just sara lee frozen pound cakes (so easy to carve and frost). For food I did sliders, pigs in a blanket, fries, and grapes. We had 10 kids and 10 adults total (us and 4 other families).
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