Unlike the one year old, the toddler knows what’s going down when it comes to his or her birthday and can actually communicate excitement about the impending event. “My birthday? For me? On Saturday? For me?” said little Isha for the entire week prior to her Big Two Extravaganza. When the day finally arrived, a million toddlers helped Isha celebrate in style. (Then again, perhaps there were only a dozen of them, scurrying around in one big, blurry circle.) With some planning and a lot of flexibility, parents can find huge rewards in the inevitable chaos of a toddler’s birthday party.
The best way to identify a winning theme is to ask your toddler. Most toddlers have defined interests that can be incorporated into a birthday party. From trains to space travel, an opinionated toddler will inform you exactly what he or she wants.
No matter what theme you choose, keep the event simple and short. A toddler party should last no more than three hours, as the excitement can be wearing on a small child. And save complicated themes, such as circus, for a few years down the road. An in-your-face clown may frighten a toddler, who can’t always differentiate between reality and imagination.
Still themeless? From invitations to appetizers, the bubble theme is a popular choice for the toddler set. All it takes is an unlimited, creative mastermind — you! From bubbly punch to bubble art, all the babies will be talking about the Big Bubble Birthday Bash.
Here are some ideas to help you create unforgettable invitations, using a bubble theme for your toddler’s birthday party.
Bubble art: Experiment with making different bubble solutions. After printing out the invitation, have your toddler blow various colored bubbles right on to the paper. As they land and pop, your invites will metamorphose into beautiful works of bubble art.
Bubbly invitation: After you print out the invitations, trace several small round circles onto the paper and cut them out. Flip the invitation over and place a same-size piece of plastic wrap on top. Anchor it to the paper by using glue in all corners. Tape or glue a sheet of pale pink paper on top of the plastic wrap. When you flip back to the front, beautiful, pink bubbles will adorn your invitation.
Activities and Games
Toddlers love activities and games, but make sure you don’t wear them out. Just the concept of a birthday party — and the anticipation — can be exhausting to your toddler. Here are some easy and quick ideas to help you entertain the crowd:
Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere: Go outside and give each parent different bubble wands and solution. Count to three and begin the chorus of
bubbles. Toddlers below will have a wonderful time scrambling after the bubbles.
The bubble magician: It’s Dad’s turn to impress the group. The key is to use a straw to blow bubbles, making certain that the straw is thoroughly wet before attempting the trick. Using a small, plastic butter lid filled to the rim with solution, blow up a big bubble. Without removing the straw, slowly poke it through the bubble and out. The liquid on the straw becomes a part of the liquid surface of the bubble and, with practice, it will not pop!
More bubble magician: All good magicians need an encore, but this one requires a few rehearsals. Inside the butter lid, put a smaller plastic lid. Blow a large bubble from the outside lid, being sure to use the wet straw. Carefully maneuver the straw into the solution in the smaller lid. Blow a second bubble inside the larger one.
Swimming bubbles: fill a wading pool with bubble solution. Let the kids play with a number of different bubble tools. Or place a hula-hoop in the pool and have the birthday guest of honor stand in the center. Slowly lift the hoop up and everybody will enjoy seeing the birthday babe in a bubble!
Food and Favors
Favors for a bubble party might include — what else? — bubbles! Instead of buying the prepackaged stuff, have fun collecting interesting containers and fill them with a homemade bubble concoction. Your toddler can help decorate the labels. You will find many recipes for extraordinary bubble solutions right here. Also, fancy bubble wands, bubble toys, even Bubblicious chewing gum make great departing gifts for guests.
For easy appetizers, try some of these delectable treats:
Toasted ravioli: You can serve these with a tomato sauce. Buy frozen ravioli and dip into raw egg. Roll ravioli into bread crumbs or flour and fry.
When done, pop them in a 350 degree oven until warm and bubbly.
Make your own cupcake: Give each child a cupcake and instruct them to create “bubbles.” Toddlers are very visual, so provide them with heaping amounts of colorful icing and sprinkles. Place them all on a platter, marvel at the beauty, and then let them dig in. A piece of advice: Grownups, have your own cake!
Punchy bubbles: Look around the house for something small and round that you can use to making ice cubes. (In my house, I have large baby
Legos with round undersides that are perfect for making ice bubbles.) Next, dump the ice cubes into the punch, and voila, a bowl full of floating
For other innovative and yummy food ideas, visit this Cookbook.
Keep in mind your toddler’s stage of development, and you can’t go wrong. Here are some appropriate and fun suggestions:
Toddlers enjoy stories, particularly when they involve animals with human traits such as Curious George or The Berenstain Bears. During this next
year, two- and three-year-olds will be exploring language and developing a keen sense of humor. There’s no better time for Dr. Seuss books.
Toddlers love to dance and musical tapes are always welcome. Try and find one that includes songs from different nations, as this is the perfect ageto expose their small ears to the cadence and rhythm of different languages.
In the year ahead, toddlers will begin to show a distinct preference for make-believe games. Feed this newfound creativity. If your daughter adores horses, give her a cowgirl costume to nudge her imagination along.
A new jungle gym will be much appreciated by a toddler who will spend the next year perfecting motor skills.