Toddler Birthday Party Ideas & Food – ModernMom

From trying to get your child to decide on a party theme to finalizing the party menu, planning a toddler birthday party can be a lot of work. Fortunately, once the party begins, the smile on your toddler’s face will make all the work seem worthwhile. Although there are several party and food ideas to consider when planning your toddler’s party, keeping things simple can help you to create a successful birthday party for your toddler that he’ll remember for years to come.

Toddler Birthday Party Themes

There are several fun themes that work perfectly for toddler birthday parties. Toddlers who watch television may have a favorite character, and having a character-themed party can be a great idea. Curious George, Thomas the Train, Elmo and Winnie the Pooh are all popular characters that toddlers love. Sports, firetrucks, bugs, construction zone and princess themes are other great options for a toddler’s party. If your child has a favorite color, you can keep the theme simple by choosing party items that reflect the color of her choice.

Toddler Birthday Party Activities

When gathering a group of toddlers together for a birthday party, it’s important to have something for them to do. An arts and crafts project, such as a coloring page, can be a fun activity, especially if you’re able to find a page that reflects the party theme. If you’re indoors, games such as a beanbag toss or bowling with empty soda bottles can be fun. If you’re outdoors, chasing bubbles or simply allowing the kids to play in the backyard can be fun.

Toddler Birthday Party Food

As any parent knows, toddlers can be picky eaters. Simple and familiar foods are the best options for serving at toddler birthday parties. Pizza or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good main meal options. Fruit salad and raw veggies are good side options. Be sure to consider the ages of your guests so that you don’t serve any foods such as popcorn or hot dogs that pose a high choking risk. You may also want to consult with the guests’ parents prior to the party to see whether anyone has any food allergies.

Toddler Birthday Party Cakes

Serving cake at a toddler’s birthday party seems to always be the highlight of the event. Consider choosing a cake that coordinates with the theme of your toddler’s party. Cupcakes are an attractive option for toddler birthday parties because they can be more easily eaten with little hands and tend to create less of a mess. If you’re considering serving ice cream, proportioned individual cups of ice cream are a good choice.

Toddler Birthday Party Drinks

When it comes to serving drinks at a toddler’s birthday party, 100 percent fruit juice boxes and bottled waters are good choices. Be sure to have straws for the water and a few additional sippy cups on hand should a child who needs one forget his. You may also wish to consider having milk available as some parents don’t allow their toddlers to drink juice.

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Birthday Party Ideas for a 14-Year-Old – ModernMom

By the time your child hits the early teenage years, you can count on more input and advice from her regarding what she wants at her birthday party. Listen to what she wants, but don’t be afraid to put your foot down if anything seems too wild or beyond your budget. A 14th birthday party is a great time for your teenager to display some of her newly earned maturity.

Focus on an Activity

Think of what your teenager enjoys doing when she has time off from school. If she’s constantly asking to go to the mall, plan a mall-centered party. A teenager who enjoys time ice skating may enjoy a party at the local rink. Other activities could be a dance contest, a party at a bowling alley or a trip to a local ball game. Picking one activity to highlight during the party will make it simpler to organize, plan and keep under control.

Food and Drink

Although a birthday cake shaped like his favorite cartoon character was a hit a few years ago, stick with slightly more sophisticated fare for your child’s 14th birthday party. Make a layer cake, frost with his favorite frosting and keep the cake decoration minimal. Select one or two flavors of ice cream or serve small, prepackaged ice cream cups. Bite-size appetizers, such as pizza bites or mini hot dogs, are popular with teenagers. Have small cans of soda and bottled water available to drink.


Decorations for a 14-year-old’s birthday party should be fun and vibrant. You don’t want your child to deem the decorations corny, though. Consult with her about ways to decorate. You may want to skip plates and napkins that shout “Happy Birthday!” and go with a solid color or fun print instead. A centerpiece that focuses on the party’s primary activity is a nice touch. Ask your child before hanging banners, balloons or streamers.

More Responsibilities

A great way to honor your child’s 14th birthday is by throwing a party that puts more responsibility on his shoulders. For instance, take a small group of his friends to a ball game or concert. You’ll send the message that you recognize that he is growing up and that you expect him to behave well during the outing. You can also have a sleepover party for your teenager. Remember to be firm about the rules before the party and keep a close, but not too close, eye on things.

Coed Parties

As your child gets older, members of the opposite sex become more appealing. Boys and girls tend to socialize with each other in the early teenage years, so don’t panic if your daughter wants to invite boys to her party or your son wants to invite girls. Instead, lay basic ground rules in advance. If you are uncomfortable with certain coed games, such as Spin-the-Bottle being played, tell your 14-year-old. Keep a close eye on the proceedings, but don’t hover too much or else you risk upsetting the birthday child.



Birthday Party Ideas & Themes for Preteens – ModernMom

As your child hits the preteen years, usually between the ages of 9 and 12, you may notice that she wants different things for her birthday party. Gone are the days when playing Bingo, hiring a clown and eating birthday cake were good enough. The preteen years are when your child will start to discover who she really is. Plan a party with her that will let her express who she is and what she likes right now.

Picking a Theme

Let your preteen pick the theme of the party. Offer her suggestions, based on her interests. For instance, if she is into whatever film franchise is popular at the moment, suggest that as a theme. You can also suggest an activity she enjoys, such as music or sports, as the party’s theme. Since many preteens are itching to grow up, you may want to suggest a glamorous party theme, such as Hollywood or theater.

Activities Based on the Theme

The party’s theme should dictate the activities you and your preteen pick. For instance, bowling at a cheerleading-themed party would seem out of place, but having a cheer contest would fit right in. Movie trivia games and watching films work well for Hollywood or movie franchise-themed parties while having a mini-jam session or karaoke will suit a music-themed party well.

Party On the Town

Once your child hits the preteen years, you may feel more comfortable taking him and a few of his friends out. Have the central attraction of a sports theme party be a trip to see a professional baseball or basketball game. Take your preteen and some of her friends to see their favorite band. Get a block of tickets for them in one row and a ticket for yourself and your partner a few rows behind.

Size of the Party

If you hold the party at home, you can invite more guests than if you took your preteen and a few of her friends out somewhere. Remember other parties you threw for your child and think of how comfortable you felt watching the guests at those. Use your comfort level at past parties as a way to determine the current party’s size. You may want to bring a friend with you to help chaperon a party on the town, especially if your preteen begs to be allowed to invite five or six friends.


Keep decorations for your preteen’s birthday simple and thematically linked. Drape an inexpensive cloth tablecloth over the food table or use a disposable plastic one. Look for plates and cups that match the theme or choose solid-colored ones, preferably in your child’s favorite shade. Hang posters around the party room that match the theme, such as famous sports stars. Sprinkle a few balloons around the room, but keep an eye on guests to make sure they don’t try to suck the helium out of the balloons.

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Sleepover Party Birthday Ideas – ModernMom

Attending or throwing a sleepover birthday party can be a rite of passage for many preteen and teenage children. Spending a night away from home shows that they are old enough to be away from their parents while giving them a chance to bond with other children their own age. Unfortunately, slumber parties can get out of hand when bored children start teasing and playing pranks on each other. Keep your child’s sleepover running smoothly by planning structured activities for the guests.

Establish Ground Rules

Limit the number of guests your child can invite to her party. Unless you have a lot of patience and a large house, you probably do not want her to invite every girl in her grade to her birthday sleepover. If you can keep it under 10 guests, it should be manageable. Be clear with your child that you will not tolerate pranks at her party. Although part of the fun of sleepovers is staying up late, set a time for lights out and stick to it. Parents usually don’t appreciate having to deal with an overtired and groggy child the next day.

Pick a Theme

Theme parties tend to be more fun. Choose a popular movie, era or an activity your child enjoys to serve as the theme. Select the menu and decorate the birthday cake with the theme in mind. Depending on the children’s age, ask them to come dressed to match the theme. For instance, if the sleepover has a 1980s theme, tell them to dress in leggings, oversized shirts and neon colors. Pick the games and activities based on them as well. Of course, if the theme is a favorite movie, you should rent the DVD and show it.

Structure the Activities

Plan a few structured activities for the party, based on your child’s interests. For instance, if your child likes crafts, set up a craft table and have the guests make something, such as a necklace or collage to take home. If it is warm out and your child likes sports, have the children play a game outside before it gets too dark. You can also put out some party board games, such as Twister or Pictionary, for the guests to play.

Plan the Menu

Keep the food at the party simple and find out about any food allergies before planning the menu. You may want to schedule the party so that it starts after dinner, that way you won’t have to worry about serving both dinner and breakfast. Serve birthday cake and ice cream and set out bowls of chips and other snacks. Clear away the snacks after a certain point so that the children aren’t munching on snacks all night. Serve a fun breakfast, such as chocolate chip pancakes or blueberry muffins.

Ready to Sleep

Schedule quiet activities an hour or two before lights out. Arrange the sleeping bags in a circle and have the guests climb in. Let them tell ghost stories or silly tales to each other. You can also lower the lights and put on a movie to help them fall asleep. After the movie is over, sneak back in and turn off the TV and turn out the lights. Don’t worry if some guests stay up late chatting. As long as they are not running around and screaming, everything will be fine.

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