Congratulations! Your toddler is about to turn 3 years old and it’s time to have a birthday party where you invite their friends, in addition to family members. There was some discussion about the third birthday. Do we invite his pre-K friends from school to this birthday or when they turn 4? We decided to do it when ours turned 3 and it turns out that the other parents had the same questions. Here’s a cheat sheet of what we learned.
My wife and I entertained the idea of having Toddler Mojo’s birthday party at one of those jump houses. Until we researched the costs and found out that it would cost upwards of $250! Once we found that out we decided to do a bit more work and have the party at our house. The down side is that there was some clean up before and afterwards, but it also saved us LOTS of money. In the end once we purchased the snacks and decorations it cost us around $90.
Our theme was horses. We had a horse on the cake, printed up ‘westnern’ themed posters, horse games and anything else we could get our hands on that was horse oriented for a cheap price. It could be an theme, cars, princesses, cats-or whatever strikes your child’s fancy.
Three-year olds have the attention span of a gnat. Introduce more than five of them into a room with presents and all control could be lost.
Our party lasted 90 minutes, here’s the schedule that we did:
11-11:15 Greet, go outside, play with bubbles
11:15-11:25 Played a game of Horsey Scramble. Horsey Scramble can be ‘any’ scramble in reality. Find something that you mix in with a bale of hay, put the hay in a contained area and tell the toddler to find them.
11:25-11:35 Random play outside, soccer, blow bubbles, tag, whatever.
11:35-12:05 The children eat the hamburgers or hotdogs inside.
12:05-12:25 Eat the cake and open presents. Eat the cake while you open presents so that all of the children are contained in the same room. Don’t worry about the mess. If you have a dog, just let them in afterwards to lick up any cake, find chips or rogue snacks.
12:25-12:35 Gracefully place the goodie bags for the children near the front door.
12:35 Clean up, put the birthday toddler to bed and relax for a bit.
Keep it at 90 minutes
Anything longer than 90 minutes and you’re asking for trouble, toddler meltdowns or crabby parents.
Where/what will they eat?
We had hot dogs and hamburgers, started the grill 30 minutes prior to guest’s arrival and fed everyone on time. Cook more hotdogs then you think you will need. We didn’t purchase enough of them and it was like Chicago’s Billygoat Tavern that John Belushi made famous by only having cheeseburgers to eat.
What’s in the goodie bag for your guests?
In our goodie bag the children received the horses that they found in the horsey scramble and a variety of candy.
We definitely made the correct decision in having our toddler’s birthday party at home instead of at a place that would’ve cost money. Another option was a local park, but given the time frame it made sense for us to have it at home. We saved money, it wasn’t that much work and all of the kids had a great time.