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Baby celebrating their first birthday

Party ideas for very young children

Who doesn’t love the thrill and excitement of a birthday party? The older you are, the more you will probably appreciate the noise, the mess, the people, the excitement… but for small children, the birthday party can seem like a daunting place that sends them into a spiral of anxiety and over-excitement.

Birthday parties are just one way that children learn about being socialable in a social situation, with some children coping better than others. If you have a small child and are thinking of hosting a birthday party, you may be wondering how to go about making it a pleasant, fun time.

Party Bags and Supplies are the experts all aspects of holding a party, from suggesting age-appropriate games to the best time to hold your party, read on to find out more…

Softly does it

You may remember the rambunctious, loud parties you had as a child but these would have been in the later childhood years. You are introducing your child – and other children – to the delight of spending time together so don’t think that birthday parties under 5s have to be about bouncy castles, discos and a general free-for-all with anyone you can think of inviting.

Think small because in all honesty, you will have a busy time.

Under 5s need a little more time, interaction and supervision

Under 5s should not be left unattended to make their own entertainment, so be prepared for the fact that you are going to be busy, busy, busy. This is why we suggest keeping the party time to one to two hours – trust us, that’s long enough for you and them!

Plan the time

Unlike birthday parties for older children, you will need to plan every bit of the minute that the children are with you. You’ll need some help too, to snaffle all those offers of help and don’t be frightened to ask people to stay and help out either.

Your party plan could go something like this:

  • Games or puzzles for the guests to dive on in to as they arrive; this can be just as much about distraction, if Mum or Dad etc. are leaving as under 5s do need to be occupied.
  • Have a mixture of party games that are simple, but enjoyable (we’ll make some suggestions in a while)
  • Have the food in the middle portion of your party time, and keep this simple and straightforward too. Have plenty of drinks on standby too.
  • Have games ready to play or activities whilst people are collecting their children too.

Should I ask the parent to stay with their child?

Some people do ask that parents remain with their children, simply because it is quite a responsibility being responsible for a gaggle of under 5s. If you do want parents to stay, make it clear on the invitation and re-iterate the start time and pick up time for those that do not stay.

Timing is key

The time you hold your party is critical to its success. Anything too late on in the day will simply mean that the children become too tired to enjoy it, which can mean grumpiness and tears. Many people hosting parties for small children have found the optimum time to be late morning or early lunch time.

This way, children will also associate the party with their normal lunch time, and they will be far more aware (and awake, in some cases!) of what is going on around them.

Games and activities are also important

So get online and brush up your party games ideas, and have plenty of prizes on standby.

Worried about the diplomatic nightmare of ‘winners and losers’?

Don’t be. Get yourself equipped with a nice prize – a plastic medal is great – for each child and give them out as a group after the bulk of games have been played. Have plenty of positive phrases and endorsements up your sleeve too.

Keep it simple for the best results when it comes to party games:

  • Pass the Parcel is a firm favourite, with a cute treat or toy for each layer that in unwrapped.
  • Musical Statues is also great too; get the adults involved! The child that is ‘out’ each round can help keep an eye out for people moving but keep this in good spirits.

Find more great party games for under 5s here

Party bags are a nice way of saying goodbye and thank you for coming

Not everyone is keen on party bags but it is a fun way of bidding your small guests farewell. Include a lovely slice of birthday cake, along with some sweet treats (but don’t go overboard), as well as a small toy (but watch for choking hazards).

Know you are all set for a brilliant, smooth running party for your small child. Let us know what worked for you!