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Toddler birthday parties..is there any reason why I shouldn't bypass the games etc and just have a play date with a birthday cake?

(23 Posts)
hattyyellow Mon 14-Jul-08 14:19:47

My twins turn 3 shortly. I'm planning a small party with about 5-6 friends and their little ones on a weekday afternoon followed by a small tea party the next day with grandparents.

Planning to do sandwiches, crisps and a birthday cake and then let the toddlers play whilst the mums have a cup of tea. That would be it, like a normal play date just with birthday cake. The family party would just be afternoon tea with birthday cake.

We've been to several toddler birthdays in the last few months and they have all had lots of people, lots and lots of food, bouncy castles, endless games and lots of going home presents.

We're tired, busy and I'm 17 weeks pregnant and knackered - but above all that, I think my girls would be happy with something really simple. They want to blow out the candles on birthday cakes because that to them is an exciting part of having a birthday. But I don't think at 3 years old they really associate games/expense/lots of entertainment with a party.

But will everyone think I am extremely stingy and mean not to give going home presents/organise games/put on a massive spread with home made cakes? Especially those whose parties we've been to who have provided these things?

MorocconOil Mon 14-Jul-08 14:26:09

What you're doing sounds perfect.smile

wessexgirl Mon 14-Jul-08 14:29:58

We had something very similar for my dd2's 3rd birthday last week. Although we were out in the garden with trampolines, water/sand table etc., we didn't have organised games or anything fancy. She had 10 friends round to play, a few simple bits to eat, and they all had a fab time smile.

I very much hope all the mums who came didn't go home and tut about how little effort I'd made - but I'm pretty sure they didn't.

Olihan Mon 14-Jul-08 14:31:40

I think it sounds fine too. My dcs haven't had/won't have 'proper' parties until their 4th birthdays when they're at preschool and appreciate it all a bit more.

whatdayisit Mon 14-Jul-08 14:38:09

Absolutely the best sort of party for 3 yos. Have fun smile

Add balloons and/or bubbles if you want to seem like you've made some effort to be "partyish", but no need if you don't.

If you have regular party goers coming though, there will be some lingering for party bags, so I would have something to give out at hometime, even if it's just cake and a balloon.

MorocconOil Mon 14-Jul-08 14:41:49

I don't think 3 year olds expect party bags even if they've been to a party recently. They will appreciate balloons and bubbles though.

wessexgirl Mon 14-Jul-08 14:43:36

Oh yes, I did give them balloons and a mini bubble pot at hometime, knowing how dd1 always agitates for a party bag from about 5 minutes after the party starts.

iwouldgoouttonight Mon 14-Jul-08 14:50:28

I think that party sounds great. We've been to a few birthday parties recently, one with bouncy castles, games (and probably a lot of expense!) and a couple where the kids just played with toys, sang happy birthday, ate birthday cake, etc and DS much prefered the quieter less fussy ones. Actually the girl who had the big party spent a lot of the time looking tired and slightly bewildered!

When they're that young they don't expect party bags, etc and they certainly don't care how much money you've spent. I will be about 19 weeks pregnant when its DS's 2nd birthday and am definitely going to do something very low key with as little preparation as possible.

soyabean Mon 14-Jul-08 14:59:12

Sounds perfect to me. Plenty of years ahead for party bags etc! Keep it simple while you can!

Slubberdegullion Mon 14-Jul-08 14:59:12

hatty, it is my dd2's 3rd birthday party tomorrow and I am doing pretty much the same as you.

I'm having an open house from midday onwards and friends with kids can turn up when they fancy, have some sandwiches, crisps, jelly and cake and then bugger off when they fancy.

At some point there will be Happy Birthday sung, and if the children are all in the garden simultaneously then I may do a spot of musical bumps/statues.

I don't do party bags as I am a mean, old fashioned, stingy cow. Its birthday cake wrapped in a paper napkin and maybe a balloon if your lucky grin

I now have to go and make quite a lot of chocolate krispie cakes.

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Jul-08 15:04:57

Balloons are key (not helium ones, just normal) - both to play with and in place of party bags. Even if they are relatively experienced party-goers most 3yo's are more than happy if they can go home with a balloon, having played with someone else's toys for a while.

Play date &/or afternoon tea + cake sounds perfect to me.

Gateau Mon 14-Jul-08 15:25:15

'Sounds perfect.
Why do so many people have to have THE biggest party ever these days? It just makes me wonder who they're doing it all for. Surely, it can't be for the three-year=olds' sakes???!
I never had any of that- EVER. Nor did anyone I knew. And I have only the fondest memories of idyllic birthday parties.

Gateau Mon 14-Jul-08 15:25:19

'Sounds perfect.
Why do so many people have to have THE biggest party ever these days? It just makes me wonder who they're doing it all for. Surely, it can't be for the three-year=olds' sakes???!
I never had any of that- EVER. Nor did anyone I knew. And I have only the fondest memories of idyllic birthday parties.

hattyyellow Mon 14-Jul-08 15:32:34

Cheers all, this is really reassuring!

Think I can just about stretch to buying some balloons!

One final thing, even if I buy the birthday cake (rather than stay up until 3am finding time between work/childcare etc to make it) that doesn't make me a bad mother either?

Happy (belated) birthday to all your little ones as well .

stealthsquiggle Mon 14-Jul-08 15:42:10

Definitely not - you'll have to work harder than that to make it to 'bad mother' grin

Go for a pseudo-homemade chocolatey one with smarties and stuff on rather than a printed character one, though, if you think you might want the option of doing home-made cakes another time - everything about his 3rd birthday was taken by my DS to be a precedent set for future birthdays hmm.

girlywhirly Mon 14-Jul-08 16:55:01

I think you're absolutely right to have a free and easy style of party for 3yr olds. They don't 'get' the idea of party games. And they will be happy with whatever you provide to eat, and a good play with their friends. It makes me sad when birthday parties are all about what other parents think. Parties can be really stressful for little children. I'm sure after this one everyone will be saying how lovely and relaxed everyone was. Have a lovely time!

Spaghettiarms Mon 14-Jul-08 16:56:39

It is definately the way to go.. the parties we have been to like this are enjoyed far more/as much as expensive hire of hall, play center, lots of games,
Enjoy smile

Sawyer64 Mon 14-Jul-08 17:05:15

I have just had a party for DD1 who turned 4,and luckily for me a "proffessional" came and did some musical play with them for 45 minutes.

But the games are hard going IME with 3/4 yr olds.We had lots of tears if they are "out" despite a "consolation sweet",and the rules of the games are pretty hard to understand at this age, which lead to lots of confusion( which was hilarious for the parents!)

Sounds like you are doing the right thing,much more relaxed and fun.

lizinthesticks Mon 14-Jul-08 17:27:21

"is there any reason why I shouldn't bypass the games etc and just have a play date with a birthday cake?"

None whatsoever.

The End.

itati Mon 14-Jul-08 17:33:04

I long for the days of sandwiches, jelly and ice cream, pass the parcel and sleeping logs. Bring back the proper parties of old. It sound lovely what you are planning and if anyone says anything negative, knock them off your list for next year.

hattyyellow Mon 14-Jul-08 17:36:49

Aw, thanks so much everyone!

I feel fortified to press on with my simple party where I and the DD's get to relax.

And I proudly bring out my shop bought cake. We might stretch to making biscuits (if the DD's help me then I don't embarrass myself quite so much when I produce my misshapen biscuit offerings).

Acinonyx Mon 14-Jul-08 19:13:03

I just had dd's 3rd bday party. We had one round of pass the parcel but that was it for games. Just 7 kids altogether. Dh made a cake and dd helped me with some baking. I really do not bake but dd was begging to do it. The rock cakes were partiularly rocky though. DD gets easily overwhelmed and we kept it very simple. It's still quite enough work and mess TYVM!

hattyyellow Wed 16-Jul-08 12:34:48

Thanks Acinonyx that sounds lovely and very simple. I'm impressed at your DH making a cake, I wonder if I could get mine to take that job over?!

I saw a friend yesterday whose DS has a birthday next week. She was inspired by my simple plans and is planning to do something very simple too - which at least sets a precedent as there'll be a crossover of guests at both.

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