Two-year old birthday parties are an exercise in herding cats. You can hire an entertainer, serve an aesthetically pleasing and/or well-balanced meal, and provide hands-on activities for your little guests, but it doesn’t mean they will appreciate it. In fact, some may cry or scream “MINE!” for the better part of your event. That’s why we encourage you to take it easy.
These are some sanity-saving suggestions for planning a second birthday party.
Skip the meal. If you can get away with it, host your party when neither lunch nor dinner is expected. Serve fruit, crackers, pretzels, and finally cake or cupcakes. (I always feel compelled to serve a meal because we usually have out-of-town grandparents at our parties and I have to feed them anyhow, so if our party is at home, I order from a taqueria: everything you need for guests to make their own burritos, from tortillas, beans, and meat to cheese, salsa and guacamole.)
I like the snack line up below where the pretzels have been poured into a toy truck.
The rest of this construction-themed party is way too adorable, so proceed with caution.
Cupcake papers can hold individual snack portions and make them feel special. (This idea is from an amazing LEGO party.)
Simplify the theme or just don’t have one. If buying everything Dora is easy for you and makes you happy, go for it. If one key element will satisfy your toddler, such as Dora on the cake, do that, and free yourself from weeks of curating Nick Jr. merchandise. Other themes that offer flexibility, especially for the licensed character-adverse, are stripes, animals, or transportation. I usually have no theme at all, other than a color scheme — red and white for Scarlett who was born on the 4th of July; orange and black for Julian, born October 29th. I don’t think my kids have ever demanded a theme. This is not a Bar Mitzvah, guys.
Searching “rainbow party” on Pinterest may leave you feeling inadequate, but picking one simple point of focus for the rainbows could just be a 20-minute project.
Let them swing, bounce, dig or splash. Outdoors is ideal for two-year old parties. If at all possible, set up a sand table, water table, or trampoline. A playground party will do the trick as well. Winter birthday parents might consider children’s gyms or children’s museums where kids can roll up their sleeves and get involved. Remember when we hid plastic animals in the sand table at Scarlett’s fourth birthday party? Two-year olds are too young to socialize, share, or play cooperatively. Empower them to have a good time on their own terms and the party will be a success.