With so many trendy options for children’s birthday parties, it can be difficult to throw a party that will satisfy a backyard full of pint-sized, potty-training toddlers and won’t break the bank. The first rule to any Toddler Birthday Party is to remember: all kids that age are more excited about the plastic spoons than they are the extravagant five-tier cake you spent two days making. So before you turn your backyard into the Taj Mahal (with a price tag to match) let us help you find budget-friendly alternatives.
Princess/Super Hero Parties
There is no doubt that you have glass slippers and capes haunting your dreams right now. That is one of the many perks of toddler parenting. Even though you’re well aware that they may not remember their early years, you still want to make their birthday special. Cut your budget by making your own crafts.
For a princess party, craft a paper stone walkway using construction paper, leading to a billowing tower you made from painting and securing cardboard boxes. One box high should be tall enough. (I mean c’mon, they’re only two feet tall.) Give the tower double windows for them to look out onto their kingdom and await their prince (a seemingly shy boy hanging out by the juice boxes).
If your little super-hero has a birthday coming up, make a cardboard city for him to protect! Fashion capes out of materials from your local craft store for all of the guests. Creating these crafts on your own instead of spending hundreds of dollars on them will not only give you lasting memories and a sense of accomplishment, it will save you so much money that you can afford to have a Princess or Super-Hero make a surprise guest appearance at your party!
Have a Circus
There is no need to bring elephants and acrobats to this party. Think small scale entertainment. Don’t worry about spending money on expensive, themed decorations with lions and batons in front of circus tents. Your child won’t know what that means. Instead, opt for a simple red, white, and yellow theme. Frost your cupcakes with red and white icing and arrange them into coordinating stripes, top them off with tiny yellow flags made from toothpicks and card stock. Create your own Kissing Booth and Puppet Show stage using cardboard boxes and craft paint. There will be so much to do that toddlers can run free and have a good time. Hire a Face Painter to make it an extra special event, just be sure to keep the wet wipes handy.
It is a well-known, undisputed fact that toddlers love to dance and parents love to watch. Hire a Children’s Musician for a birthday celebration that will keep a smile on everyone’s face. Since it’s a Dance Party and the center of the party is music, you don’t really need a theme. So go to your local super store and grab whatever mix-matched party supplies are on clearance and arrange all your colorful supplies on a white table cloth to bring it all together. Give your cake a music theme and congratulations, you’ve totally nailed this party. As a sweet little bonus, those party animals are going to crash for the best nap they’ve ever had, leaving you plenty of quiet time to clean up and respond to the many “Best Party Ever” texts you will undoubtedly get.
If your tiny guests are in the early stages of exploring, consider throwing a party centered around helping them explore. Find large, shallow clear bins at your local supply store. Fill them with different textures and colors. Shaving cream, sand, water, marbles, anything you can think of. Station them in an area that will be easy to clean, hand out plastic art jackets and let them go to town. After all the sensory exploring has been explored, the cake has been eaten, and the presents have been opened, hire a Story Teller to surprise them with a few books about what they’ve learned.
If your child has an excitement for a multitude of activities and interests, create a Variety Show party. Find a location that you can set up a homemade stage, complete with curtains you fashioned with fabric found on sale (score!) and nylon rope strung from trees in the back yard. Make it a grand stage by putting out an area rug (that’s right, an area rug in your yard), then make a popcorn snack to pass out to all the guests in decorated, rolled down, brown paper bags. Hire your very own Variety Entertainer to put on a skit and let those toddlers laugh the day away at their very own live show.
No matter what your budget is, it is always possible to have an extra special party. With a little hard work and some creativity, use your budget savvy to make the best party of the year and still have enough left over to treat yourself. You’ll need it! Make your child’s birthday one you will all remember and include some birthday traditions. To see a few of our favorite traditions, see our First Birthday Traditions.