Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hosting a Low Key, Thrifty, and Fun Toddler Birthday Party

I try to celebrate my little guy with lots of friends and family without all the stress that usually surrounds hosting birthday parties.

Here's a few quick tips on how to host a low key, budget friendly toddler party:

  • Schedule the event for a while after nap time so that your kiddo is refreshed and ready to party
Micah with his brand new high interest birthday present
  • Plan the party in between meal times (instantly you've erased half the stress of cooking and an added bonus is the cost) and just provide snacks and drinks. There are so many easy ways to corral your snacks in ways that fit the party theme like my veggie trains out of warming trays and toy trains. Or you might even grab a cookie cutter that goes with your theme and use it in unexpected places like my cheese trains (I attempted to use it for my no bake peanut butter balls too, but they were too crumbly).
Chew Chew, Chew up a veggie train or cheese train! ;-)

  • Skip the booze Shop at Costco (skipping booze is sooo not us, but we did try to go light by just buying beer and wine. This was important to me since we were also celebrating my dear hubby's birthday and good beer is pretty much synonymous with Phil, right?)
gift time

  • Delegate! Delegate! Delegate! If you fly in town to be a guest then you might as well help clean and craft! My mom helped with train table decorations, my sister-in-law crafted a last minute birthday crossing sign, and my husband helped with the pre-party clean up. The biggest delegation celebration (you like that rhyme?!) was having my amazingly talented mother-in-law bake a train themed fondant cake, Cake Boss style! 
So this photo makes our Birthday Crossing sign look like more of a pinterest fail than it really was, but even poorly executed decorations still make things more fun and festive.

my sister-in-law Cassie adding the final touches to the amazing cake her mother made

The final product along with our party favor table
  • Make a go-to party decoration that can be used every year and slightly updated. My mom made this fantastic felt pennant banner last year for Micah's Oh-Fishally One Birthday Party. I just rehung the banner and printed out one photo from each of the last twelve months and clipped them up with clothes pins. 
Interchangeable reusable birthday banner
  • Use what you already have! I dragged Micah's easel out the front yard to tie balloons to and to welcome guests. 
even the little train stenciled on our welcome sign adds to the theme

  • Take your own photos or ask a talented friend to help too.
my parents, Micah, and cousin Julien

Micah's Great Gramma Jacquie and our cousin Johanne

So much fun to have great friends and lots of little ones!

Susan and Cassie, who's help was all greatly appreciated!

Everyone should invite twins to a party! Anna and her beautiful baby boys. Talk about making it all look easy…!

My photographer friend Dannie @ Abeille Photography snapped this one for us! Check her out! She's amazing!
  • Skip the preplanned and organized games and activities for kids. Toddlers just want to run around and explore a new environment and especially play with someone else's toys. 
Free play for the kids is fun!

toddlers don't need organized games

  • Have the birthday boy open one gift the morning of the party in order to use it as a shared experience for kids. In our case the new train table was perfect, but something as simple as new blocks or legos could work too.
Don't stress about too many toys out or all over. With great guests, most will try to help clean up before they leave.

  • Strategically display books that tie to the parties theme around the room or on tables outside. Best case scenario, they provide entertainment to children and get read, worst case scenario, they act as cute decorations.
My little reader sat himself down to read one of the display books before guests arrived!
  •  Repurpose old party supplies. It's ok to break out mismatching napkins and solo cups over fancy glass wear. If you've invited the right people (you know, the fun kind that like to hang out with you and enjoy watching kids play…), then they shouldn't care about anything except good beer company anyway! 
Our cousin Mark had to be the oldest train conductor in attendance at the toddler party, but he wore the hat well!

  • Amazon is your friend! Order some fun little kid take home gift that says, "your parents are going to be so ticked they sent you to a party that gave out loud train whistles" "thank you for coming to my party" and don't worry about wrapping or bagging them. 
Have tables that serve multiple purposes like this Goody bag, book display, and games table.

  • Set out some of your child's games or toys that match the theme to provide decoration and/or entertainment.
these train themed dominoes added a little extra fun while people sat and chatted
  • Expect that people will cancel. When you have a party for a toddler and invite other parents and young children, expect that someone will get sick or have a hard time getting out the door on time. 
Proof that people had a good, relaxing time.

In the end, everyone will be happier with a stress free and relaxed hostess than with a pristine, perfectly executed, or expensive party…especially the birthday boy (or girl!)!

1 comment:

  1. Great party for Micah and all of the guests who had a fun time. Thanks Ali! Love, dad aka papa


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