Birthday parties for 2-year-olds are, frankly, a scam perpetrated by the 2-year-old birthday party industry: toddler birthday venues and Pinterest boards promote the notion that some fun, memorable, cool 2nd-birthday party idea is waiting to be put into action. But 2-year-old birthday parties are commemorations for adults — parents and relatives — not kids. And, in fact, they are probably more important to the 2-year-old birthday party places that are trying to attract parents who don’t know how to plan a party than they are for the actual 2-year-olds the party is supposedly for.
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But just because you’re crazy enough to let a squadron of toddlers into your home doesn’t mean you’re ready for the challenge. Here are some legit 2nd-birthday ideas to help you discover how to plan a party for a 2-year-old birthday that you’ll actually enjoy.
2-Year-Old Birthday Party Option 1: Don’t Have One
Seriously. What’s the point? There’s nothing that really makes a 2-year-old birthday party much different than a chaotic playdate. That’s because the kids don’t really get what’s going on. Sure, they’ll have fun. But they could have just as much fun next week, or next month, or (gasp) next year when they know what a birthday is.
That said, a small gathering of people who dearly love your kid is a fine thing. For you. You can still provide a smash cake. Even a balloon or 2. But a small gathering means less pressure, less chaos, and time to gather with people who actually do care about the second anniversary of your kid’s birth. Also, you still have pictures they can browse on their holodecks later in life.
2-Year-Old Birthday Party Option 2: Do It Right
If you insist on going all out for your kid’s big 2, then at least make sure you’re doing it as painlessly as possible. Because even though this will be happening again at least 15 more times, there are something extra bonkers about partying with toddlers.
2-Year-Old Birthday Party Logistics
- Throw the shindig in a toddler-proof area that’s protected from messes, breakage, and escapes.
- Don’t open presents until guests leave to avoid toy conflict meltdowns.
- A short guest list is preferable to a horde of screaming 2-year-olds.
- Don’t stress about goodie bags. The kids won’t care what’s in them. Neither will the parents as long as there are no choking hazards.
- Light and blow out candles safely and remember that hair is flammable.
Plan and Communicate With the Kids
Being a parent of a toddler, you understand the difficulty of going anywhere with a toddler. So make sure you give other parents plenty of notice about what’s going down. Honestly, the more detailed you are, the better.
So, yes, be extra careful about making sure everyone is on the same page. But also, don’t get overwhelmed with fitting into everyone’s schedule. All these kids will be napping and eating at wildly different times. That’s not your concern. Your kid not being thrown into chaos is your concern. As is your ability to sleep for the next week.
Keep the Birthday Party Short
Toddlers have no need for destination birthday romps that go on for hours and hours. They literally do not have the capacity to hang in for that long. So keep your party short and sweet. Get them in, get them cake, do an activity and get them out. Your kid will appreciate it. Your kid’s friend’s parents will appreciate it, and your sanity will appreciate it.
Plan Age-Appropriate Birthday Party Activities
Think about what toddlers are capable of and plan accordingly. Complicated games with a bunch of rules probably aren’t going to fly and will likely devolve into chaos. So, dance parties are cool. Big, messy, group “art” projects are fine. But pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey might be a tad complex. So is Cards Against Humanity.
Ignore the Adults at the Party
You don’t need to make the party fun for the parents. It is their job to figure it out among themselves. Leave out some things to snack on that isn’t totally sugar-filled and then do what you have to do to make things happen.
The caveat to the tip is if someone asks if they can help. Yes. They can. Always.