I have decided that 2018 is going to be a year of celebration, my New Year’s Resolution is to not miss an opportunity to mark an occasion of have a celebration. I have 15 days marked out this year to celebrate and the second one was this last Saturday where we threw a party for Orla’s second birthday.
Orla is our only child and as she is still fairly new, Rob and I are most inexperienced at throwing children’s parties. I wasn’t sure what is the done thing for children’s parties, especially for toddler’s parties. A few conversations with more experienced parents and a little internet research revealed that an ideal’s two year old’s birthday:
- is short – 2 hours is plenty
- has plenty of finger food
- is not too structured
Here is how we did it;
Time: 10:30-12:30 on a Saturday morning. This time fitted in with Orla’s nap and meant that everyone still has the rest of the day. It also meant that the party could easily include lunch.
Guests: We invited the children that Orla plays with in her creche group on a Sunday and their family. Plus my parents and a couple of friends who are very close to us and Orla. This ended up being about 11 children and fifteen adults, which was a bit bigger than I originally intended. I did mean for it to be a small intimate do but a crowd was also fun to have around. Especially as all the children played together.
Theme: Woodland. I think we appreciated it much more than Orla did but we did a loose woodland theme. We ordered a few bits of fake ivy from Amazon to drape around the room, I made a crepe paper doorway and we used dark green goody bags with fox stickers. We also made two ‘Bear Caves’, or blanket forts with some teddy bears in to have a picnic with Orla’s tea set. The Bear Caves were a big hit with the little ones and they loved crawling in and out of them.
Party Dress: I let Orla pick out a party dress to wear and she was adamant that the dress she wanted was the red, sparkly Christmas dress that has “jolly xmas” embroidered on the front. I tried to point out other dresses she could wear but her mind was made up and it was her party so the Christmas dress is what she wore.
Food: Rob is a great husband and father and among his many talents, is laying out a good table! We know that at some parties there is only food on for the kids but we know we always like to eat so we tried to do enough food for the adults too. We served three pizzas, sweet potato fries, sausage rolls, bread sticks, hummas, fruit sticks, cheese, tomatoes, chocolate fingers and chocolate rolls and of course; Birthday cake! Your classic party food spread. We re-used the tree-slice cake stand from our wedding and some of the ivy and some toy animals to decorate the table.
Cake: Rob made the birthday cake and he kept it simple using a Victoria Sponge box mix and a tub of vanilla icing. He topped it with some fruit and some toy deers, with a slight shimmering of edible glitter. It looked beautiful and tasted great, and there was just enough for everyone to get a slice.
Games: The only party game we played was pass the parcel, which was quite funny playing with children between 18 months and 6. Once the younger ones won sweeties in their layer they were very distracted and weren’t that fussed about passing the parcel along! They just sat there eating sweets ignoring the game going on around them. Mostly, the children were happy playing with Orla’s toys and in the bear caves.
Biggest surprise hit: I ordered 20 cheap Amazon party blowers for party bags and left the spares out on the table. When the children discovered them there was a mad scramble for everyone to get one from the goody bags, and for ten minutes there was a solid chorus of enthusiastic trumpet noises. I was surprised at how much they loved them! There is a reason they are a party bag classic.
Wasted effort: I had a plan for party prep leading up to Saturday. On Wednesday, Rob and I would make animal masks, On Thursday I would prep the party bags and pass the parcel, On Friday, Rob would do the food shop and we would set up the decorations. On Saturday morning we would prep the food before the party. In reality we did nothing on Wednesday or Thursday and did everything on Friday. Rob started making the animal masks but never finished them and they weren’t missed. We could have just not bothered with them.
Final word: Orla’s party was a lot of fun for us. It was nice to be able to spend time with other families and to see the children playing together. I loved putting the table together and employing a few ideas I’d seen on pinterest, like the fruit arrows!
Now, on the other side of the party I can say my big tips are for throwing a toddler birthday party are:
- Keep it short
- Have lots of toys available
- Feed the adults – it makes everyone happier
- Take a group photo of everyone who was there. It doesn;t have to be perfect but it is a nice way to remember the day and the people who are a part of our lives right now. (we did this but I won’t post it online as it is just for our family photo album)
- Have a really chilled out day planned for the day after. We spent SUnday afternoon watching children’s movies and playing with Orla’s new toys. Taking it very easy!
What are your tips for a good toddler party? Any that I have missed?