A first birthday is more of a celebration for mummy and daddy than anything else: “Yey, we survived!” But by the time your toddler is 3 years old, he’s probably having fewer naps, his attention span is much longer and he’ll have been busy developing his social skills. Now is the time parents can put some birthday-planning skills to work but keep it simple for their 3rd birthday.
Party activities: let ‘em play
As far as your three-year old is concerned you don’t need to hire out the Albert Hall for the day! One to two hours is more than enough and an exclusive handful of friends at home will be fine. Three-year olds bless ‘em are not yet bored of the simple stuff like Playdoh and Sticklebricks. Have enough activities and games for each guest to get busy at the same time to avoid tantrums; kids this age don’t do sharing and don’t always play together either.
Save the party games for next year
If you do try a game or two, keep them brief and basic, as three-year olds are not big on rules, standing still or taking turns. Expect to have little guests wandering off if they have to form a queue or sit still! Age-appropriate games include Pass the Parcel, Follow My Leader and Musical Statues. A moving toddler is a happy toddler, so no pre-schooler birthday party is complete without a disco. It’s easy to set up a CD player and move the furniture; even better if you can do it outside and shower them with bubbles as they dance.
Preschooler party food
No need to worry about the seating plan and canapés for this one. Even the best-behaved toddler just cannot sit still for long. Go for yummy finger food that’s safe for them to nibble as they play. Nor do most three-year olds expect to see a table full of crisps and sweets at parties so have fun with a colourful array of fruit slices, veggie wedges, cheese cubes, sandwiches and juices. Save the birthday cake and candles for last so everyone can sing Happy Birthday. This is likely to be the highlight of the day for your little one so at this point mummy and daddy can give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done!
Finding the perfect pre-school toy
Remember – kids parties only get more complicated so this is the one you might just enjoy the most! The same goes for toys; 3-year olds are fairly easy to please so don’t break the bank. The best toys at this age are ones that match their developmental milestones and their personalities at the same time. Ideas include:
- Bikes, trikes or scooters to develop gross motor skills.
- Creative toys to practise their fine motor skills.
- Role-play toys and costumes to stimulate imaginative play.
- Language learning toys to encourage sound/letter recognition.
- Board Games that help with colours, numbers and vocabulary.