Throwing a party for your toddler on their birthday is not rocket science. But it can induce a migraine for some parents. Read on as we dive into the ultimate party-planning checklist without exhausting your savings.  

Kids love their birthdays. That one day of the year when all the attention is on them for all good reasons: a cool party with your favourite people, birthday cake, fun games, gifts, and whatnot. While your child has no idea what goes into organising a birthday party for them, it is often an anxiety-inducing affair for parents. 

In this article, we reveal the behind-the-scenes for an easy-on-your-bank, simple toddler birthday party. 

Here’s everything you need to do to organise a successful birthday party:

  • Set a monetary limit

  • Finalise the venue

  • Prepare the guest list

  • Choose a theme

  • Arrange food

  • Make plans about the birthday cake

  • Prepare games and activities

  • Purchase party favours


Set the Budget

This has to be the first order of business. Setting an upper limit for expenses helps you identify what you need for the party. 

A month or two before the birthday, make a list of the things you need for the party. 

  • Is there going to be a special birthday outfit?

  • Where is the party going to be held?

  • How are you planning to decorate the party venue? 

  • Are you going to bake the cake on your own or seek the service of a professional? 

  • What kind of entertainment do you have in mind? 

  • How are you going to feed the guests?

  • Will there be party favours? 

Assign realistic budgets for each point on the list. By the time the budget is allocated, you would also have a skeletal idea of the party.    

Who & Where?

Guest list: The next thing to do is finalise the guests for the party. This should be done at least four weeks prior to the party. Keep in mind that children will be accompanied by at least an adult since it is a kids’ birthday party. There are a few benefits in creating a guest list early on in the planning process: it’ll give you an idea of the hosting space, decide on the catering, and plan return gifts accordingly. 

Invites: Once the guest list is ready, go ahead with designing invitations. No, you don’t need extravagant cards; you can find free templates for birthday invitations on Canva. And make sure to send them to the guests well in advance. 

Soon after you send the invitations, reach out to the parents to see who will accompany their child so that you can make preparations accordingly. 

Venue: Will you be hosting the party in your home or somewhere else? Children’s parties are best set in spacious areas, especially if you are planning different games and activities. Ensure the venue is booked for the time of the party. 

Breathe Life into the Party 

Theme: The most difficult decision to make for a birthday party is finalising the theme. 

You know your child best. Choose a theme close to what they love. Or better yet, ask them; you may be surprised by what they pick. For instance, if your child loves dinosaurs, you can choose a dino-themed party. Or if they love the movie Frozen, go for an ice-themed party.

Here are some popular themes you can choose from:

  • Superhero costume party

  • Unicorn and rainbows 

  • Fairies and princesses

  • Cars

  • Dinosaurs

  • Farm animals or safari theme

Birthday outfit: Once you have the theme down, ask your child what they want to wear for the party. Depending on the theme and your child’s desire, you might need to put in some effort into your child’s birthday outfit. For instance, if you are having a Frozen-themed party, they might want to dress up as Princess Elsa. Or as Spiderman for a superhero costume party. 

See if the outfit idea is realistic and temper your child’s expectations accordingly. 

Decor: Make purchases such as balloons, buntings, birthday banners, ribbons, confetti, and decor items related to your theme. Get them early so you don’t need to worry about shipping and returns if ordering online.  

Where’s the Food?

Party treats: If you’re planning a kids’ party without food in mind, we pray that you change your mind now. An integral element to kids’ parties, the food table is where all the young guests will be crowding at. 

Create a menu and decide what you want to serve. The food can match the theme, but this is not necessary. Some go-to party food ideas are: sandwiches in different shapes, french fries, potato smilies, mini samosas, and cheese pizza. 

Stock up on ready-to-eat snacks for the snack table. Some options are Yumearth candies, cookies, chocolates, and popcorn. 

Don’t forget beverages either. Natural fruit juices or lemonades in tetra packs are some options. 

Birthday cake: Is there such a thing as a birthday party without cake? Don’t answer this pointless question. The real question is: Will you be baking it or will you have a professional baker do it? 

Here is an idea that could be an annual family tradition: Try baking the cake with the birthday girl/boy. Even if the result may not be entirely perfect, the activity guarantees quality parent-child bonding. You could bake a day in advance; frosting and decorating can be done on the day of. Use these decorations for your cake: Party Animals Cake Bunting, Make A Wish Acrylic Topper, Ziggy The Tiger Party Candles

On the other hand, if the party is heavily influenced by a theme, it may be best to take the service of a professional baker. Make sure the baker is clear about the theme, has enough time to work on the cake, and deliver it to the venue. This should be done at least a month before the party.

Party Favours

Kids love it when they get gifts. That’s also how you make a party memorable: return gifts. Thank the young guests for their attendance with a memento. 

A few ideas for party favours are:

Let’s Entertain Some Kids

Now that the major checkpoints have been covered, you would need to finalise how the kids will be engaged and entertained at the party. No parent wants their young guests to be bored out of their minds. Plan different games and activities for them to have fun. 

  • Photo station: Set up one or two photo stations with theme-related backdrops. You could either keep a Polaroid camera which would generate the pictures instantly. Or you could assign an adult to take pictures of the guests approaching the photo station. 

  • Treasure hunt: Hide goodies with clues in different parts of the venue. The birthday boy/girl and their guests could search the premises to get the final bumper prize. Make sure to purchase gifts in advance and hide all clues before the party.  

  • Musical chairs: Arrange two rows of chairs with their backs touching. Start the music and let kids run around the chairs. Ask the kids to sit on a chair when the music stops. Whoever remains standing is out of the game. Take a chair out each time. The last kid sitting is the winner.  

  • Face painting: With The Usborne Book of Face Painting as a guide, assign an adult to paint the face of young guests. Let the guests choose their favourite design from the book. Make sure to have a good stock of non-toxic body paint for the activity.   

  • Pin the tail: Have a picture of a donkey or any other animal ready; the tail of the animal should be made on a separate piece of paper. Blindfold the participants and let them pin the tail on the animal. Whoever pins closest to where the tail should be wins the game. 

  • Art station: Set up a table for different art and craft activities such as painting the mug, tie-dyeing T-shirts, and watercolour painting. Guests can take their artworks home. 

  • Pinata: This is an absolute must at kids’ birthday parties. You could either create a pinata or buy one. Hang the pinata; instruct the guests to wait for their turn at least a few metres from it. If the participants are older, you could blindfold them. One by one, give them the chance to hit the pinata with a wooden stick. Make sure there are at least two other volunteers to make sure other kids don’t get hurt during this activity. When the pinata is broken, ensure the participants don’t swing for it again, giving everyone the opportunity to gather the sweets and candies. 

Whatever game is being played, assign the duty of running the games and keeping peace at the party to a responsible adult well before the party starts. 

Ensure gifts for all the games are ready. A few suggestions for prizes are:

What Happens at the Party   

It takes good planning to successfully organise a kids’ party. 

Prepare a checklist for the day of the party. For instance, it should include points such as: 

  • do the last bit of decoration, 

  • call the baker to confirm the time of delivery of cake, 

  • check party favours, 

  • order more beverages for everyone, etc.  

Follow the checklist to the T. If you haven’t already done it, decorate the venue. Make sure all the volunteering adults are at the venue at least an hour before guests arrive. Encourage the guests and your child to have fun. 

Don’t beat yourself up if an element of the party doesn’t go as planned. Be present in the moment. Enjoy those little moments and cherish the look of happiness on your child’s face. Let them know that it’s their special day and they are loved. And all will be well.

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