Calendar Recipe Box Shopping List Address Book

Planning a Birthday Party for Three-Year-Olds

Planning a Birthday Party for Three-Year-Olds

Careful planning and keeping it simple will help you survive your child's first birthday party.

By Jo Ann Sheldon and Norma Heller

  Print: Full Page
Text Only
  Email: Article
   Find: More Articles

Decide on the date, location, and budget. Keep the party short--an hour and a half to two hours is long enough for this age--and limit the number of guests. Three to five children are plenty.

Away from Home
A party outside the house eliminates a lot of mess. Make sure the establishment can accommodate very young children and their parents--at this age most children insist that their parents stay with them.

At Home
Parties at home are exciting for the child. He or she can help decorate and prepare. If the weather permits, have the party outside.

Extra Help
Consider hiring someone to help out, such as a favorite cousin or neighbor who can set up games and serve food. Very young children need constant attention and help. Book this helper a month in advance and make sure he or she arrives well before and stays well after the party. Go to FamilyTime Calendar .

With their short attention spans, young children need only one or two activities. Fill up the remaining time with food and free play.

  • Musical chairs, duck-duck-goose, and simple relay races.
  • Read a story or two (the birthday boy's or girl's favorite).
  • Hire a magician or clown. Ask him to keep the show short and simple. Some young children are afraid of clowns--find out if this might be an issue.
  • A simple treasure hunt or candy hunt (similar to an Easter egg hunt).

If you want to serve lunch, stick with small, plain sandwiches--jelly, chicken salad, tuna, pizza, or chicken nuggets. Buy or bake a cake and have no more than two ice cream flavors to choose from. Serve the meal halfway through the party to give the children a rest and provide focus. Go to FamilyTime Recipes.

Matching, colorful paper products dress up the table and make cleanup a snap. Use plastic spoons and forks. Have plenty of paper towels on hand for spills. Fill paper cups only halfway with juice or soda. Lay a plastic mat under the table for easy cleanup.

Fill "goodie bags" with sturdy plastic toys, stickers, and a few pieces of candy. Very small objects, balloons, and chewing gum can be choking hazards.

Enter your email address to receive delicious, family-friendly recipes, exciting promotions, helpful articles and more delivered right to your mailbox. What could be better?


Plans for a Family Reunion
Plan well ahead for a family reunion. This way, everyone has a good time--including you!
View Full Article

Celebrating Your Child's Birthday at School
If your child has a birthday during the school year, he might want an in-school party. Some do's and don'ts.
View Full Article

Ice Cream! We All Scream for Ice Cream Sundaes!
Kids love to assemble their own super-fantastic creations. Make it a party!
View Full Article

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Your kids will love making their own edible dreidels. And then devouring them!
View Full Article

Piñata Party
Cracking open a piñata filled with candy is exciting for kids. Making their own piñata can be even more fun!
View Full Article

Backyard Mini Golf Game
Set up a backyard mini golf course using used food canisters, juice boxes and simple building materials to create "challenging" golf holes.
View Full Article


Simply fill out the required fields to begin enjoying the benefits of – it’s fast and it’s free.
* required

Concerned about privacy? Rest assured, we never sell or share your personal information.
See our Privacy Policy.