How should we celebrate our toddler's birthday? Activities

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Birthday cupcakes.
iStock/kirin_photo

All kids' birthdays are special, and everyone celebrates in their own way. See how these moms and childcare experts do birthdays and pick up some tips for your own family's festivities.

Keep It Simple

"I know it's popular to invite family over for a first birthday, and that's fine, but keep the time realistic because your child is still napping, and after an exciting activity like a party, they are going to need that nap! The party doesn't have to include expensive entertainment or an elaborate meal. There are places to have birthday parties for young children, but make sure it is something simple. Be careful of making the activity at the party one that is too stimulating for children or...

"I know it's popular to invite family over for a first birthday, and that's fine, but keep the time realistic because your child is still napping, and after an exciting activity like a party, they are going to need that nap! The party doesn't have to include expensive entertainment or an elaborate meal. There are places to have birthday parties for young children, but make sure it is something simple. Be careful of making the activity at the party one that is too stimulating for children or too long for them to focus on. Be sure to serve food that toddlers like too. An easy item to serve to 1- and 2-year-olds is mini cupcakes. They don't make as big of a mess as they do eating a piece of birthday cake. Wait until children are able to feed themselves before introducing slices of birthday cake at a birthday party." -- Sue Stockman, early childhood educator, Caldwell, NJ

Try a Picnic Theme

"We sent out spring-like invites and I set up a big picnic blanket on the floor where the kids ate cake. I filled an inflatable pool with balls and hung streamers from the ceiling to make it look like a waterfall. The kids loved running through it."

Hire a Clown

"The clown cost me $150 for two hours, and she brought a cotton candy machine, puppets, musical instruments, face paints, balloons, a magic show, and a karaoke machine. The kids had a blast and the clown kept them entertained the whole time."

Make a Time Capsule

"Ask friends and loved ones to put a letter, photo, news article, scripture, or something special into a time capsule for the child. Then, set a date to open it. We plan to have my daughter's capsule opened on her Sweet 16. I included special things such as the scrubs my husband wore to the hospital when she was born, our daughter's footprints, a lock of hair, the story of how my husband and I met, a letter with favorite scriptures, and a prayer for our daughter."

Give a Goody Bag

"I believe in giving a goody bag to each child who attends -- if one kid gets a present, they all should. Young children don't really understand the whole birthday thing fully."

Coloring Books Make Great Favors

"Last year I went to the dollar store and bought some coloring books and crayons for all the kids. It cost me all of $2 per kid and the kids had something they could use that wouldn't be thrown out right away."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.