Birthday Parties for 3 & 4 Year Olds
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Birthday Parties for 3 & 4 Year Olds
3 Year Old Birthday Party
Anyone have good ideas for places to have a
birthday party for kids in the 2-5 years old range? My kids
have done a couple of Head Over Heels parties and LOVED
them, but unfortunately there are no openings any time soon
that work with our time frame. I'd prefer something indoors
so as not to worry about a rain plan. Physical activities
would probably be better than art activities for this one (3
year old boy), but suggestions of all kinds welcome. Thank you!
Not sure where you are located, but we did my son's third birthday at My Gym
in Walnut Creek and it was great - lots of physical activity, good ''free time,''
great ''planned activities'' lead by some wonderful instructors, wind down at end
with snacks and cupcakes (we supplied the snacks and cupcakes - so you can
control what is served :)) -- my son loved it, and all the guests seemed to like it
(including the younger siblings and parents). Closer to Berkeley, we attended a
birthday party at Play Cafe in Oakland and that was really great too - different
''rooms'' with different activities - including a big ball pit for the more active
kids. Hope this helps! Happy BIrthday to your son!
Off the top of my head, you might try Oakland's Kinetic
Arts Center, or Pump it Up (which many parents seem to
have a love/hate relationship with). There's also Super
Franks and the Bay Area Discovery Museum.
Discovery Museum or Fairyland, on a sunny day. Studio
Grow, on a rainy day. Have fun!
East Bay Mom
Depending on your budget, Super Franks in Pleasanton is the
best! They are a little on the expensive side, but their
sports party is amazing for this age group. They put on
music, have gym mats, plasma cars, basketballs everywhere,
and it's great! Then you go into a room, you can bring a
DVD and they will play it during that portion of the party.
Also, it is very parent friendly!
The Play Cafe in the Oakland Hills looks like a great
place for an indoor, active party. I have only been there
during their open play hours during the week, but I'm
pretty sure the weekends are completely dedicated to
parties. The couple that runs it is really sweet and puts
a lot of care in to keeping the place clean and well
organized. The greatest thing for me, is I can sit and
enjoy a nice cup of coffee and a good healthy salad while
my 2 year old runs around and I chat with my friends.
The ball pit can get a little hectic at times, but I have
never seen a calm ball pit anywhere.
Habitot is perfect for this age. I had my son's party there when he was 2.
Low-key birthday party for a 3 year old
my daughter is turning 3 in 2 weeks
im trying to think of ideas for a party that are NOT over
just simple and low key.
we are inviting 5 of her play group friends (and parents)
and few other friends with older kids.
i would love to have it at a park but weather is ify
and our house is quite small .
Set up your house with ''stations'' like at preschool. Air-dry
clay, paint, blocks, and maybe markers or glitter glue. When
kids arrive they make something, or a few things. Then
singing and cake, and time to go home. We did parties like
this in our small house several times -- the center for
creative reuse is a great place for art supplies when the
children are a bit older and enjoy more variety of
materials. We've done out of the house parties at Lawrence
Hall of Science (little animals, dinosaurs) at MOCHA (clay)
and at the YMCA (kindergym); though usually for somewhat
larger groups. We've done parties outside at times, but had
to switch one to the house because of bad weather.
But at 3, a little art, some toys to play with and snacks
defines a party.
We just had our 3-yo's bday party at the Merry-Go-Round in
Tilden. It was a drizzly day, but there is plenty of
covered space around the MGR. We had about 10 kids and
handed out tickets as many times as needed. Cupcakes and
lemonade were the only food offerings. It was sweet and
simple and close to perfect for this age group.
Fan of Simplicity
I recently went to a party were one of the faeries from
Happily Ever Laughter performed. They were amazing. Is made
the birthday magical without the mom having to do much. A
little decorations, a cake, pizza and that was it. The
faerie did the rest.
She showed up in an amazing costume and kept the kids
memorized for over an hour. She brought her own magic show,
balloons and facepaints. The facepaints were really special.
It's not cheap but a great way to keep the stress off the
Looking for ways to celebrate 4th birthday
We moved to the bay area this past summer, and I have been
looking for work since we got here. My son had been in
daycare from 4 months old until we moved, but has been home
with me for the past six months out of financial necessity.
We will be bringing a new baby home in January, and then
just a few weeks later, my son will turn 4. We have no
family in the area (none can afford to travel here for his
birthday) and he has not made any new friends that we can
invite to a birthday party. His parties in the past haven't
been a big deal, but he always had family and friends around
to celebrate with (on top of a celebration at 'school').
I'm looking for suggestions of ways to make a big deal out
of his birthday when it will very likely be just the four of
us. I'd been thinking about Gilroy Gardens or something
similar, but just discovered that all the local amusement
parks close for the season after New Year's. Any suggestions
would be appreciated - we'd be willing to drive a couple
hours for something really spectacular, although anything
requiring an overnight stay might be too expensive.
Thanks in advance for your help!
I'm not sure about the amusement park stuff for 4 year olds
what is open, etc. most 4 year old boys love the steam
trains in Tilden Park -- they are usually open throughout
the year usually rain or shine-- if he's a train lover you
can do the train set kind of presents, go on the steam
trains, and then have grilled cheese and ice cream at
Fentons on Piedmont Ave. afterward? which is not too far
away... Another train-loving exciting trip that we did with
my son when he was younger was to take the Amtrak to
Sacramento, where you can walk to the train museum and go to
the old fashioned candy store in old town Sac-- all stroller
friendly, and take the train back again. If he's a builder
kind of boy, give him some tools, and bring a special picnic
to the Berkeley Marina Adventure Playground (put the baby in
a carrier) and hammer on stuff or paint wildly for a while
(check hours when it's open). A good show venue would be
the Buddy Club shows (magic, etc. kiddos love it) at the
North Berkeley JCC and then get cupcakes afterward at love
at first bite, Vine and Shattuck. These are some of the
things my 9 year old remembers fondly from when he was a
littler guy and still likes. Carol
I haven't been myself but several coworkers highly recommend
Safari West in Santa Rosa. It's a preserve where you can
get very close to the animals and spend the night if you
want. Folks have taken kids as young as 2 and up to 10/11
and really enjoyed it. Not sure if it would be possible to
take a newborn, but maybe one parent stays back at the lodge
with baby and the other joins the 4yo go on the 2 hour jeep
tour. Would def. be an out of ordinary experience.
Congrats in advance on the new addition to the family.
My boys birthdays are close together; my little guy was 3
weeks old when my oldest turned 2. To celebrate his
birthday, we took Amtrak from Downtown Berkeley to Jack
London square, had brunch at a nearby restaurant (Cuckoo's
Nest, since closed), and took the train back. It was a fun,
easy outing. I haven't been to Jack London Square in years,
but perhaps there is another restaurant that would make the
outing fun. Anita
If your son likes trains, I'd recommend the Niles Canyon
Railway. It's a beautiful ride, and I think on the Sunol end
there's a fun pizza place on the small main street of town.
hope this helps
4-year-old birthday party for the whole class
I'm organizing a birthday party for my soon-to-be four-year-old at a
playground (I reserved a picnic area). We invited his whole preschool class, and
I'm wondering if I should plan any games, or just let the kids run around and
have fun, since it is right next to a lovely playground. We will be doing a gift
exchange, and cake (and food and drinks), but I wasn't sure if I should plan
anything else. The theme of the bday is car washes (per request of my car wash-
obsessed son , so if you have any ideas that would be fun for 3-5 year-olds
that'd be great...Thanks so much!
I don't think you have to plan any activities, the kids will
have plenty of fun just running around. If you want, you
could give each one a bottle of bubbles to play with--that's
vaguely car wash related, right?
Even though you'll be at a park with a playground, I would
suggest having one or two planned activities. I always did
this because I think it is a good idea to bring all the
energy down to one place a few times and be sure the kids
are interacting well. It can be as simple as having a craft
for the kids to do as they arrive. This allows them to sit
and meet other kids, presuming there are kids there who
might not know each other. Then just before food or cake,
you might want to play a game. That's a good way to bring
the kids all back together and then move into eating. It
helps my sanity to have a few things planned so I'm not
running around trying to figure out who is where.
I am the grandmother of a 4-year old whose birthday was
scheduled at our house on a rainy Saturday. We hired Magic
Dan (Dan Sneider)who performs locally at lots of libraries
and functions in SF and the East Bay. Kids and adults loved
him, and he knows his audience. Literally. The first thing
he did when he arrived was to ask for the names of all the
children. As kids entered, he asked their names and then
called them by name throughout the show. Dan was able to
squeeze us in at the last moment. He isn't cheap, but we
made this our gift to our grandson. His performance is a
great gift alternative from family members! By the way, our
house if very small, but he was comfortable with 15 kids and
20 adults. He's great. www.magicdan.com
How about providing squirt bottles (available at places like Walgreen's for .99),
and the kids can make two rows and squirt a kid as s/he runs through the ''car
wash.'' Also kids that age enjoy decorating their own cupcakes: provide frostings
(use food coloring in the vanilla for variations) and toppings (gummy bears, mini
M&Ms, gum drops, candy corn, sugar sprinkles).
Love that age!
3-year-old Birthday Party Ideas
Does anyone have any ideas for entertainment for a
3-year-old's birthday party? Music, storytellers, etc?
Also, it will be in August, and I'm wondering if outside
would be too hot for the little ones. Thanks! getting a
Sure, you could hire an entertainer for a 3 year old's
birthday party if you're not up to organizing party
activities yourself, but please don't go overboard! Most
kids that age would rather run around a playground than
watch a 'professional' show of some sort. If you do hire a
storyteller or musician, make sure it is someone accustomed
to working with toddlers and preschoolers and that it's more
of an interactive, loosely structured thing than a
sit-and-listen thing. (Circle time with a Music Together or
kiddie gym teacher is better than a magic show.) Or you
might think about paying a teenager to do face painting or
something simple like that. Think about the kinds of things
your own child likes to do or see at street fairs or other
people's parties, and plan around that.
It's rarely too hot around here for kids to play outside,
but if you're concerned about the possibility, have the
party at home or in a park with an indoor hall or at least a
shaded picnic area, so that everyone has the option to get
out of the sun. A water play area or wading pool can be a
great party feature too. Partying Mama
Michal Karmi is perfect for this sort of thing. we met her
at Studio Grow in Berkeley, where she does
story/music/parachute time with the kids. we hired her for
our two-year-old's outdoor birthday party last summer, and
she was a huge hit - brought her ukelele, face paint, and
parachute. the little ones had a blast. you can tell she
genuinely adores children, and just has fun entertaining
them! i think she knows every kid song under the sun, and
can sing many of them in Hebrew and Spanish, as well.
3 Year Old Boy Birthday Party
I'd love to get some ideas about where to throw my son's three year
old birthday party this fall. We'd like to invite his entire
pre-school class so I definitely want to have the party outside of my
home - but not too far from Berkeley so it's not a big hassle for the
other families. Naturally, he loves fire trucks, construction sights,
trains and all ball sports. I already perused the archive on BPN and
we've already experienced most of those parties with his 2 older
sisters. Many thanks.
We recently held our party at SadieDey's (aka Tumble & Tea) in
Oakland. It was a very good experience and I'd highly recommend
it for a 3-year-old's party. We chose the after-hours time so
the place was all to ourselves (also the whole preschool
class). I really liked how the play space was adjacent to the
party space (unlike, say, Habitot or other bday places) so
there didn't have to be scheduled eating and playing times. A
little snacking, a little sliding, fun for the kids and
relaxing for the parents. It was not super-cheap but the only
thing we had to do was get a cake - worth it to us compared
with all the work that can come with a park b-day. The staff
were very helpful and nice, but do be sure to pin them down in
advance on every detail. (Not everything was as described on
Not sure what BPN postings are as far as birthday party
suggestions...for my son's 3rd birthday we went to the local
firestation...all the kids got a tour of the place, sat on a
fire truck and in an ambulance, got a lesson on fire safety and
then we went to a separate room to have cake...you could also
go to a local pizza parlor afterward...they had such a fun
time. Not all fire stations do this...call and they will tell
you what they can offer. Good luck!
For my son's 3rd, we had an adventure treasure hunt. We filled a
big carboard box with mardi gras beads, trinkets, wrote TREASURE
in marker on it and ''buried'' it in the park near our house. I
ordered some indiana jones types of hats from Oriental Trading.
We marched the kids through the park to find the treasure. It
wasn't hidden so it would be hard to find. They were able to find
it together and share the booty. They had a great time and the
parents loved it. We hiked back to our house with the booty and
they played in the back yard and ate cake and pizza. Great fun.
You could easily do this in a park and not have it at your
house. Some kids brought their own binoculars and other types of
explorer gear so it was so cute. The hike was about 15 minutes,
you can also have a bday party at your local firestation! we're
planning on doing that next year.
How about having a picnic/BBQ and train rides for the kids at
the steam trains in Tilden? My son still loves those trains
even at 8!
Fun at-home party for 3 year old
My daughter is turning 3 in December and I am looking for
advice/suggestions on birthday party planning. For her past two
bdays we had small family parties but now that she is in
preschool (and gets excited about parties) we'd like to do
something a little bit bigger and invite her new friends. It
seems the trend is to host a party at a kid-oriented venue (e.g.
the zoo, habitot, mocha, etc) but my husband adamently refuses
to go that route - he thinks it is unnecessarily extravagent
for a 3 y.o. So, does anyone have advice about how to make an at-
home party fun, special, and manageable? Our house is
reasonably spacious but assuming we invite 5-8 children and
their parents it could get pretty hectic.
Hello Party Novice,
this last October 4th we had a birthday party for my son who
turned 3, he was so excited about having a party that the theme
changed almost every day, I ended up having an Ice cream party
cause he loves Ice cream and his daddy is an ice cream fan
himself, then about a week before the birthday he asked if he
could have a monster party also and we added that in too since
Halloween is around the corner and everything is on sale.
well we ended up with about 60 people at our small townhouse
(where we also run a daycare). we made pasta with red sauce for
the kids and ordered pizza from lane splitters ($10 the extra
large pizza),we rented a popcorn machine, Ice cream cake &
everyone got to create there own ice cream Sunday.
For fun we ended up filling the living room with pop up tents
and tunnels, than we had some dancing followed by Halloween art
in the patio & ended with the piC1ata, which was also there
Everyone had fun.
my husband and I had the best time ever! and our son had the
such a great time he is still talking about his party.
I recommend that you let the parents stay at the party and
since the party is in December make it a winter party,(ice
princes party or ice fairy) you will save your self so much
money & have a ton of stuff for the kids to do.
I also recommend twisty man http://www.twistyman.com/ he is the
best! we had him at our daycare so many times and I have seen
him at many other birthday parties. ( we tried to get him for
our party but he was booked).
When we were on a tight budget we did a party right after pre
school at Habitot primary caregiver and child only. fruit tray,
Bagels, creem cheese and cake from costco. The kids had so much
fun. Dad came in time for cake. Habitot has a party room on
side on main play area.
As one who has done Birthday parties at a kid friendly venue there is some positives
to do it at one. One is that you don't have to get your house ready for the party.
The second you do not have to clean up. Third, you are not the entertainer or the
master of events for the kids, fourth - it can be so much fun.
It depends on what your budget can be. I don't know if it is extravagant or not, it is
not like some of those Sweet 16 birthday parties that are so extravagant.
One must weigh the pros and the cons. Pay someone to lead the party or let kids
run around the house and make a creative mess of it. Depends on whether you two
feel like you can take on a birthday party or not.
Last year for our daughter's third birthday I found some foam
crowns at Michaels. I think they were $1 each. I bought
stickers and things for the kids to decorate the crowns. The
letter stickers were particularly popular as most of the kids
put their names on their crowns. It was a fun thing for them
to do and each child had a nice take away from the party. I
think it worked out great. That with the meal and cupcakes
pretty much filled a few hours and we were set. Good luck. PS -
we have not gone to any parties at those event places, just
Mom of 2
Does your husband realize that renting a ''venue'' is actually the
easy, NON-extravagant way to give a kids' party? LOL. But
whatever. If you're not the type who really enjoys planning and
hosting parties, no, you don't have to go nuts or spend a ton of
money to give a fantastic birthday celebration for a few
First, choose a theme. Honestly, it makes things easier to plan,
and this is what makes the party SPECIAL. Go with whatever your
child is interested in lately (trains, princesses, monkeys) or
hit a party store or browse the Birthday Express catalog
together and pick one of their offerings. Of course, buying
invitations and decorations from the party store helps keep
things simple (as opposed to making them yourself) -- especially
if you get a ''party pack'' from an online vendor -- though you
might spend less by picking and choosing at a local party
Then, choose a time for the party that is in between mealtimes,
so you don't need to worry about serving lunch or dinner and can
just offer snacks.
Set up your home with some toys-to-be-played-with laid out in
your main party room, and everything else put away as much as
possible. Then have your planned party activities. I recommend
one craft activity that the kids to do as they arrive, spending
as much or as little energy on it as they like, and then one or
two more structured games/activities.
For example, if it's a princess party, decorate craft foam
crowns with stick-on jewels (hit Michael's or JoAnn's for kits);
then announce ''circle time'' and read a fairytale; follow with a
simple treasure hunt or pull-string pinata, or perhaps some
dressing up for and dancing at the ''ball''. Keep 'em occupied
with planned activities and they will be less likely to wreak
general havoc in your house!
Serve cake (allowing the kids to decorate their own cupcakes
with tubes of frosting, tubs of sprinkles, etc. can count as a
party activity too, and it's usually a major hit with this age),
have some free-play time, open presents, hand out some goody
For inspiration, I am fond of www.birthdaypartyideas.com -- you
probably don't want to get as complex as some of the parties
described there are, but you can pick and choose from the
ideas. I'm also happy to offer suggestions by e-mail; this post
started out much longer but I went over the character limit!
I recently saw this webpage with some fun ideas:
We've always had our kids' parties at our house (or the park or
the beach) and they've always worked out great. I like to have a
theme to organize things. Some themes that we've done that have
been good have been Dora the Explorer, Butterflies, Princess Tea
Party, Scooby Doo Pirate Adventure. You can Google ''birthday
party ideas'' and get lots of good ideas. Have your daughter pick
a theme. Then come up with 3 activities or so that fit with the
theme. Make one a craft-type thing that they can take home and
that is the ''goody bag''. Kids will enjoy anything fun. Believe
me, they are not comparing parties. It should be fun for you too!
Good luck and Have fun!
I agree with your husband that the venue events are too much for
3-y olds. Both my kids were very much into parties at that age,
but the concept that 'today' was really their own birthday was
really not there for either. Their little friends have a hard
time participating in organized stuff, particularly when it's
hyped. For both kids, we had a party much like you suggested,
about 5-8 friends (with parents AND siblings, mind that!), and a
few activities, like simple crafts (like decorating a party hat
or a cookie) or a very simple game, and a pinata. Our house is
small, and one birthday is also in december, so it's always been
indoors. For the most part, the kids were just running around
after each other, playing with whatever they can find. It's
hectic, but works. What helped make it better for kid #2, was to
close off the kids room with the toys! That way, it didn't get
turned upside down completely.
Birthday party for 4-year-old
My son will be 4 in September. Ideally, I would like to have an
old-fashioned birthday party at home with kids, games, hamburgers, and cake.
However, our house is very small and our backyard is in disarray from
remodeling mess, sort of torn up with construction debris etc. Our son plays
there, but I think many parents would not want their kids to do so, so home
is not going to be an option this year. Can anyone recommend a fun place to
have a birthday party that is not overdone with bells and whistles and is
not too expensive? I hesitate to just go to a park since I couldn't
guarantee we would have a place, but maybe some of you have done this and it
has been fine? We're looking at probably 5-10 other kids. Thanks in advance.
Well, you could just choose a construction theme for the party and
have it in your backyard like we did. Seriously, though, many
local parks (I know Temescal Reservoir and Roberts in Oakland for
sure, but I'm sure there are others) let you reserve a picnic area in
advance for a small fee. See the Park & Rec department website (or
call them) for whichever city you're interested in.
Last month was our 1st real ''party'' party for our 4-year-old son's
birthday, and we wanted it to be special without being too over the
top. I read about Magic Dan here on BPN, looked him up on-line and
called. He was WONDERFUL! He arrived well ahead of ''showtime''
(we're in Oakland, he's in SF), set up by himself amidst all the
commotion, was very friendly AND professional, and just really did a
great job. He's very good with the magic, but in my opinion, his best
trick by far was keeping 15 kids (ages 14 mos. up to 7 yrs) completely
mesmerized and cracking up for a FULL 45 MINUTES!!! He is funny, nice,
highly entertaining, and really knew how to keep the kids' attention
(which was fabulous for the parents as well as the kids). Magic Dan
helped my son feel comfortable being the magician's assistant, and all
the kids really loved him. He really made the party, and I highly
recommend him to anyone, esp. for the 4-6-yr.-old crowd. His number is
415-337-8500 and website is www.magicdan.com.
There are parks with reservable picnic areas. Codordices in Berkeley
is one, but if you check with the parks and recreation office in your
city, or their website you can find more options. The East Bay
Regional Park district also offers reservable picnic spots; Roberts
Recreation area offers reservable picnicking and a playground and
But if you don't want the bother, I went to a lovely 4-yr-old birthday
party that was set up on blankets on the ground (at Montclair Park).
It was casual, low-key and a ton of fun for both my daughter and me.
The other option is to plan on arriving early to snag a spot--which
works as long as you're willing to settle for a less desireable spot
or can go with a plan B like the blanket idea.
I have hosted or attended kids parties at Montclair Park, Lake
Temescal, Roberts Regional Park, Shorebird Park (Berkeley Marina), and
Alvarado Park (north end of Wildcat Canyon park). All really nice.
If you want to hold your party at a park, you don't have to worry
about getting a space. Both the East Bay Regional Parks sytem and the
City of Berkeley allow you to reserve picnic areas in a variety of
local parks. Check their websites for instructions.
a park lover
We had my daughter's 4th birthday at Round Table Pizza in Pinole
across from Target. They have a climbing structure indoors and don't
charge for the room, but you do have to put down a deposit and you do
have to order a minimum of some amount, but I can't remember how much
the minimum is. It ended up that I spent less than $250 for a party
of 8 kids, plus 10 parents (give or take). We had salad bar for all
the grown-ups, cheese pizza, and some cheesy bread sticks. I did my
own favors. I thought about buying milk for the kids, and didn't. I
left the cups out for the parents to determine what they would give
there kids to drink. We brought our own cake and decorations (that's
all they'll allow you to bring). We had a pinata that you pull the
strings so her dad held it and the kids each got a turn pulling (no
hooks for hanging the pinata).
My daughter loved it and says she wants her 5 year old birthday there
They give you about two hours total for the party in the room. We
were having so much fun that we ended up moving our stuff to another
area and hanging out for another hour. Parents all commented on what
a fun party it was for the grown ups because they got to hang out and
be social while the kids were in the climber.
Magic Dan, Part 2
Hi again. Sorry, I responded to just your heading of ''Birthday Party
for 4-year-old,'' THEN read your entire post re. preferring a party
away from home. Smart move, that. We've been to LOTS of parties at
parks all over the bay area, and they seem to go great. Lots of fun
and easy clean-up! Some you can reserve, others are 1st come basis.
But I've never known it to be a problem for anyone. AND I bet Magic
Dan would be happy to put on his show at a park!
We had our daughter's 3rd birthday party in Tilden Park at the
carousel and it was really fun and not to hard to handle. They put a
birthday party package together that I thought was reasonably priced.
It came with the space (picnic tables in a shaded area), cake, ice
cream, and a packet of tickets for the kids to ride the carousel. I
brought lunch meats, cheeses and etc. for a make your own sandwich bar
and I think that was it. I covered the tables with butcher paper,
added little tin pails with crayons, bought helium balloons for the
tables and to give away as kids left, and that was pretty much it.
Had a ball. Can't remember the cost but I didn't have to clean up a
big mess and that was worth it!
Many of the picnic areas at parks in both El Cerrito and Berkeley can
be reserved for a small fee. Check out the cities' websites for more
info. We did this for our 4-year-old's party with great success. It's
nice to have built-in entertainment for the kids (the playground). And
September should be perfect park weather.
For the kind of party you want, a park is perfect. And you're not
talking about such a large number of guests that you'll need to worry
much about reserving the space -- though you might want to send one
parent to the park early in the day to ''stake out'' the spot you want
and start setting up.
That said, in many, many parks you can reserve a specific picnic area
for a party, and local residents can often make that kind of
reservation for very little money. Go up to Tilden or Roberts, or see
if your city has a site reservation system for your own neighborhood
We've had our son's birthdays celebrated at the park for the last 5
yrs (he's 5). Both Temescal and Roberts. You can reserve a site on
line or show up the day of when the park opens at 8 and opt for first
come first serve (my father has been happy showing up at 8 with his
coffee, newspaper, and putter to guarantee a picnic site). What kid
isn't happy at a park - lots of options!
I believe you can reserve a spot for a small fee at Kensington Park at
the top of Arlington near Moeser. I've been to a few parties there.
It's a lovely park with play structures for younger and older kids and
a pond. I recently attended a party at Kennedy Grove Regional Park in
El Sobrante and that was nice as well, with lots of room to spread
out. As an alternative since you mentioned burgers, one girl I know
had a party at Fuddruckers and it sounded like it was relatively low
key (though I didn't attend so can't say more). I love house parties
too that are simple and have so far resisted the urge to hire ponies,
bouncy houses, magicians, musicians, clowns, or even Elmo!
Some of the local parks have sites that you can reserve. Tilden Park,
and the Arlington Park in El Cerrito come to mind. They will cost you
a small fee, but you have a space, room for kids to play, and access
to a restroom key in many locations.
We had my niece's 3rd birthday at Arlington, and it was quite nice!
Activities for tiny 3 yo bday party
My daughter's 3rd birthday is coming up. There will be 3
same-aged girls, their parents and up to 3 adult relatives. It
will be from 9:30-11:30 am and include brunch and birthday cake.
We are not hiring any particular entertainment. It will be
indoors in a large, sunny room with round tables and cement
floors. There is a grassy area nearby.
What activities work best at this age? Ideas? Art projects?
Dress up? Pot a plant? Blow bubbles? (outside) Run and kick
balls? (we have a lot of balls) Dance to Dan Zanes?
What has been really exceptional fun for your kids at this age
that can be done in a large indoor room or out on the lawn?
I wish I were a party girl!!
I've always given birthday parties in our home, so we have the
built-in attraction of all of our kids' own toys. When you have
a park/plain rented room party, you do need to bring in
some ''free play'' things. Bubbles are great -- get some of those
big dipping trays and a variety of different wands.
A craft project of some sort is great to have too, because kids
can work on it at their own pace and do it at whatever level of
skill and intensity they prefer. And you can easily relate it
to any party theme you are using. If the girls like dress-up,
they could decorate craft foam crowns or tiaras, for example.
(Michael's sells inexpensive kits and supplies for this sort of
thing. So does Oriental Trading but usually 12 sets to the
package, so you're probably better off buying locally.) And you
could use princess themed party goods. Or combine this activity
with the cake: Give each girl her own cupcake and put out some
frosting tubes and an assortment of sprinkles and candies. They
will make a mess but they will LOVE it.
And then I would add one somewhat more organized game or
activity. For kids this young, though, you should avoid
anything too competitive or that requires a lot of waiting
around to take your turn. Also, if there are prizes or treats
involved, every player should receive one. Think of the kinds
of circle games and songs they do in preschool. Or do a pull-
string pinata, which I've done with great success with all
ages. The pull-string kind is much more manageable and safe
than the hitting-with-a-bat kind! A ''treasure hunt'' is great
too: just scatter party favor type toys around the area, issue
each child a bag or basket, and tell them to find as many
bugs/stars/gold coins/lost puppies as they can. It can be great
fun to do this after telling a story that involves needing the
girls' help to find or rescue the whatevers.
My son's 3-year-old party, which was really fun for everyone, sounds
very much like
what you are planning. My idea was to provide enough for kids to do,
but to have it
be very ''free form''. No games or other activities where everyone
would have to
cooperate and participate at the same time (except the pinata at the end
- and even
then one kid opted out of that and kept playing with play dough). Kids
were free to
choose their own activities. We set up 2 tables inside with playdough
on one table
and stickers and construction paper on the other. You of course could
a coloring table or other simple art project instead. In an outside
area adjacent to
the indoor room, we had large bubble wands and trays with bubble
solution on a
small table (so the kids could blow the bubbles themselves), and a truck
The kids played and the parents chatted and had coffee and snacks for
hour, and then we did a simple lunch (PBJ), cake, and a pinata outside.
LOVE pinatas, and you can fill them with little plastic toys (check out
Warehouse in El Cerrito) if you don't want to fill it with candy.
Think about the equivalent of an easter egg hunt. That's been a
complete hit with kids in our house. Now, you'll need to modify
it for the non-Easter season. We have had a big basket and
every time a kid finds something, they have to put it in the
basket. (Pre-school socialism) It extends the time that the
hunt takes and makes it so that you don't have to worry about
which kids have found stuff. For non-Easter, you can use the
eggs or wrap things in colored saran wrap. Then, after the
hunt, the kids gather around and take turns picking things out
of the big basket. It also eliminates the need for a separate
Also, kids have enjoyed a peanut hunt. Peanuts in their shell.
Kids like hunting for them -- even if they don't like peanuts.
Bubbles and chalk for drawing on cement!!
My daughter just turned 3 in October and I was looking for a
similar idea. I came up with one that worked great, I think.
I went to Michael's and found these foam crown's...$1 each.
And bought some glitter glue, some stickers, and some pipe
cleaners (and had a hole punch at home already) and each child
decorated their own crown. They turned out great. The
stickers that were especially cute were letters, and most of
the kids put their names on the crowns with the letters. We
did not do a goody-bag...but everyone went home with something
special. Hope this helps.
Mom of 3 year old too
We had exactly the party you are describing for our preschool girl.
What stood it
apart and made it really enjoyable was the small scale and mellowness of
it all. Both
the adults and the kids seemed to appreciate that. Take advantage of it!
showed up and were given a little treat bag (a dollar store purse with
vending machine rings, a small notebook, stickers and mini pencils, and
puppet (total cost ~$12), then whisked off to a dress up corner where
they chose an
outfit (If you don't already have a dress up collection you can get good
cocktail dresses at the goodwill) and put on their lip gloss. Then
everyone ate. The
girls danced while I cleared some space, then we did a simple art
project and played
a simple group game (like musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey,
light/green light) Next was cake then we played outside. Last we let
the girls free
play with our daughter's toys, then watched a short video to regroup and
it was time
to go. It was really fun!
We just went to a party like you are planning, but for boys. Was
it ever fun!!! The activities that the kids did were:
1. decorate cookies (home made, pre-frosted with sticky frosting
and lots of choices of things to decorate with...each kid used a
cookie sheet/jelly roll pan to contain mess...cookies were then
put on paper plates for kids to take home and share for dessert
that night...course we ate a ton there too).
2. ''treasure hunt'' in the backyard (hostess had pre-made some
decorate sand bucketsand each child got to pick one)...small
candies, pkgs of cookies, pencils, etc. were sprinkled in plain
view around the yard)
3. ''basketball'' (they had lots of balls too and a couple of those
shorter crawl thru tubes that were set on end and used as ''hoops'')
4. lunch and cake
5. free play
6. open presents
7. more play (mostly with the presents that were just opened)
It was a great party and I think the key to it was that the
hostess was totally prepared. Every activity was already set up
(but hidden from the kids). The husband was quick about moving
just before or just after to set things out/put them away (he was
in the backyard tossing the ''treasures'' just as the cookie
decorating was ending, for example).
We had a beach-type theme for my daughter's 3 y.o. party.
Activities that went well were a ''shell hunt'', we hid shells
around the yard and gave each kid a bag, put on music and when
the song ended, whoever collected the most won. Also a musical
chairs game where they stop on paper plates when the music
stops, take away one plate each time and keep doing that till
the last kid wins. We colored beach balls (really cheap from
Oriental Trading) and blew bubbles too. The one thing that did
NOT work was a pinata - yikes, 3 year olds, blindfolds and
wiffle ball bats do not mix
One activity that I did for both my kids' 3rd birthdays that was a big
hit was a treasure
hunt kind of thing for their party favors. I wrapped each kid's party
favors in different
wrapping paper. Then I hid the party favors and gave each kid a bag and
a swatch of
their wrapping paper. They went around and hunted for and collected the
their wrapping paper. This is a good activity for the end of the party
to send them
home with some party favors.
getting experienced at birthday parties
3yo Bday: #kids, entertainment for a sweet party
My three-year-old's birthday is next month, and I want her to
have a lovely party that is joyful and relaxing for parents and
children. This is such a fragile age, with the children going
from delight to tears so quickly – I want to make it the most
likely that they will just have fun.
Our community has a clubhouse with kitchen that opens onto a
heated pool. Outside the iron pool fence are the locker rooms
and a large lawn. I would love to incorporate all elements of
the wonderful space, but it is really too large for what I'm
envisioning, so I'll need to choose either clubhouse/pool or lawn
for the party.
I will hold the party in the morning so none of the children are
yet napless, and have food out the entire time so none are fading
from hunger. I will try to remember to serve the homemade cake
(something we look forward to all year) early enough so people
can get home before the early nappers melt down.
1) What's the right timeframe for the party? 9-11? 10-12? My
kid needs lunch right at 11:30, and most of her class naps at 1
pm, so I want to be done by noon.
2) How many 3-year-olds do I invite? It could be anywhere from 1
to 50 of them. Do we "have to" invite the 6-year-old brother of
our 4-year-old neighbor? Last year we had about 10-12 children
for the second birthday and we did great.
3) What activity/entertainment do we provide? Last year we had a
children's singer, and that was fine. The previous year, we had
a sign language teacher and a photographer who did it for free
for the publicity. I know where we could borrow a jumpy/bouncy.
If it's beautiful Indian Summer like the last two years, the
pool alone might be enough.
4) Do we hold the party on the lawn or in the clubhouse? If on
the lawn, we would need to schlep some tables for food from the
clubhouse to the lawn, and roll some terribly heavy concrete
umbrella stands from the small pool to the lawn to shade the
food, but the kids could run or kick balls or we could borrow a
friend's bouncy/jumpy. If in the clubhouse, the kitchen is part
of the same room, and the tables are already there, so it's very
easy. Big sliding doors open onto the pool, so people could
easily go to the pool as well, but we could close them for safety.
5) What's the deal with party favors? I always think they are
very sweet but a waste of money. Are they necessary? If so,
what could they be that is not junk food or cheap stuff that gets
thrown away? Last year I didn't buy any and my MIL bought some
individual packages of cookies and party hats. I was irritated
but the kids liked it.
I really want something lovely and memorable for everyone without
the risk of kids getting too amped up and melting down or hosts
getting too exhausted.
I think that kids who are 3 just love to play. Maybe you could
use the Jumpee that you mentioned and set out some coloring
activities. You might want to be sure that you can use the
indoor space, in case the weather is not suitable for being outside.
First I think it is great that you want to have a simple party that will really be
enjoyable for all involved, and also that you've given the issues so much thought. I
love to throw parties for my kids, and I find that a theme really helps organize
things. One theme that has worked really well for my 3 yr olds is Dora - my kids
loved Dora. You can have them make backpacks out of manila envelopes, ribbon,
googly eyes, and felt (you pre-cut it before the party). This is a nice craft while
waiting for everyone to arrive and doubles as the goody bag. Hand draw a map
(does not have to be terribly artistic) with 3 places/activities and make copies for
everyone. The older sibling can be very helpful, playing the part of Swiper or
another character (we had an older sibling be the Grumpy old Troll that they had to
make laugh in order to pass). Other ideas: unicorns (make headbands with
cardboard horns; have relay races, treasure hunt), butterflies, etc. See
birthdaypartyideas.com for lots of ideas.
To answer your other questions:
10am-12 sounds perfect; 10-15 kids is a good number, more can be
overwhelming; you do not have to invite the 6 year old, and if he will be the only kid
over 4 he may not want to go, however it can be a lot easier for the parents to bring
both and if you could give him a role (Swiper, the Prince, the evil Wizard) to help
with the theme it might be win-win for everyone; kids love jumpy houses but they
also love games, parachutes, bubbles, races, obstacle courses, etc. I don't think you
need to provide expensive entertainment; party favors are not strictly necessary but
usually much appreciated by the kids. One nice thing like bubbles or inexpensive
jewelry is usually better than a bag full of little stuff, imo. Including a craft activity
that they can take home is usually plenty as far as party favors.
Less is more!
When my kid turned three last month, we had a big pile of leaves
that the six guests jumped into. One of the presents from Mommy
was a rocket balloon launcher, and we shot a lot of balloons into
the yard, and into the tree, and into the neighbor's yard, and so
on, to great excitement. This was the total of ''planned
entertainment.'' And along with a couple of ride-on toys and a pad
and some crayons, that made the kids perfectly happy from ten to
noon. A pound of twisty noodles with pesto, some mini-bagels and
cream cheese, and cake.
Less excitement makes more fun. Fewer kids means less fighting
and confusion. My kid even managed to nap after the party!
keep it simple
Place for a 3 year old party in December
hello my son is turing three this december and i am looking for
a great place to throw a great party.
we have lots of adults like 30 and 20 kids and always throw a
we would love for the place to be inside,maybe with food
avaiable and lots of fun for adults and kids.
i dont really seem to like places that everyone is spread out
doing everything and i want everyone to be togehter or at least
around in the same area.
i also want a cool part for the cake and gifts stuff......
he is into dinos,trucks and crocodiles as most 2 1/2 year olds
please email me or respond on parents network!
mom with a big part to throw
I just had my daughter's 2nd birthday party at Habitot Children's Museum in
Berkeley. We had about 25 children, mostly 2 year oldsbut some up to 6 years old,
and 40 adults. We did a museum rental on a Sunday afternoon when the museum
was closed. We ordered pizza and had a few snacks and it was great. They provided
big tubs of ice to put the drinks in. It was large enough for the group with plenty
for the children to do but it was contained enough that people aren't venturing too
far away. We were able to put up some decorations but it wasn't really necessary. I
brought art projects for them to do, but they will also set up the art studio with
project if you prefer. We did a pull-string pinata and pulled out the table from
small party room for the cake cutting (prior to the cake we stashed the presents on
the table in that room). They even wrote happy birthday with my daughter's name
on the party room window. We had some really positive feedback from the other
parents. It was like a huge playdate for the kids and I didn't have to provide too
many activities for them to do since they have that there. If you need ideas, the
reservation staff is really helpful. With the summer discount, we paid $225 for the
rental and considering all that it provided it was well worth it
Very happy with Habitot
Indoor location for a 4-year old's birthday party
We're looking for a place in the East Bay to hold a party in mid-
November for our son's 4th birthday. Most of the recommendations
on the website are several years old, so I thought it worth a
try to ask again. We will likely have up to 30 kids, ages 2-10,
plus a smattering of adults coming to the party. Since the party
will be in November, we'll need an indoor location. Would
appreciate any recommendations or advice. Thank you.
First piece of advice - 30 4-year-olds is a nightmare! Seen
other parents try it. Seen them go insane. Promised ourselves
we would never do it. Best piece of advice I ever received was
when planning a child's birthday, invite the number of children
that corresponds with the child's age. Ex: for a 3 year old,
invite 3 children.
A few weeks ago we passed by a ''My Gym'' (kind of like Gymboree)
and saw a birthday party in progress and it looked awesome. They
close the place and provide a gym leader, plates, cups, cake,
etc. Then the gym leader provides an hour or 1 1/2 hours of
directed activities. The party we saw looked to be about 15 6
year old boys and they were going crazy, running around with
streamers. They leader was a young man and he had the kids in
the palm of his hand. We swore that next year that would be the
place for us! (This location was in Walnut Creek)
You'll probably get several recommendations for this place, but Habitot Children's
Museum is fantastic for a large group of 4-year-olds. I had birthday parties for
both my children there and it was so easy for me, great fun for the children, and
convenient for the parents. In fact, my daughter loved it so much she begged me to
let her have her birthday party there the following year, so I'm a veteran of THREE
Habitot birthday parties! I'm not sure what the current operating schedule is at
Habitot, but we had all our parties on Sunday afternoon when the museum is closed
so we had the entire place to ourselves. It made it easy for the parents to relax and
visit while the children played. I highly recommend Habitot!
Wow. 30 kids?? For a 4-year-old's party? Are you sure you want to do
that to yourself and your child? My first recommendation is to trim that
guest list way back...or have two gatherings: one for friends and one for
family, or something like that.
Outside of that, I don't know where you could host 30 young kids without
renting out a place completely. The Jungle in Concord or SF is always
fun for the kids (but no younger than 4); Habitot does parties, but don't
know if they could accommodate that large of a party. You might
consider renting a rec hall somewhere and bringing in a clown/
entertainer and an inflatable bounce house. Local churches and city rec
centers are options there. You could also reserve a restauant banquet
room and set up activity stations for the kids, so they could do crafts and
have fun stuff to do inside.
Habitot Children's Museum is a great place for a large, indoors party for a 3-5 year
old. For $275 you can rent out the entire space after regular hours, so your party
would be from 6-8:30 p.m. All the normal facilities and activities are available, as
well as an assistant to help with set up and break down. They provide tables, ice,
etc and you bring your own refreshments. This is a great option because there is no
limit on the number of guests. (They have other packages during the museum's
regular hours, but those have a set # of invitees--around 12 kids and 12 adults.) We
ordered pizza from Mel's upstairs in the building and brought a cake. All of our
guests raved about how nice it was to hang out in a space that their kids loved but
with so many less people than during a regular day visit. Nice for adults too,
because the environment is so safe and engaging, that we could all talk while our
kids played. Check out their website: http://www.habitot.org
Kindergym is a great thing for that age-the Berkeley YMCA has
one, as does the Albany YMCA. I did it for my kids when they
were 5, and it was fun and easy and stress-free. The kids gets
to play on all these fun structures, and there's an adult (or
more if needed) to play games, lead songs, etc. Then there is a
birthday party room, so all you have to do is set up in there.
Try Lawrence Hall of Science. They do wonderful bday parties
for a reasonable rate. Or a gym party is always a hit at this
age as well, esp if your child is into gymnastics. Kids In
Motion in Oakland or your local gym offers party packages, I'm
Been through the 4 yr old bday circuit
We're looking for indoor birthday venues beyond the usual suspects (Habitot, LHS,
Chabot Space, Gymboree, the Jungle) for a December birthday. I'd rather not spend
$200 just for the venue. The kids are 4, with lots of younger sibs, and I'm looking
for something like a rentable church or synagogue big room at a reasonable rate.
Does anyone know of such a thing (beyond Epworth--not quite right for what we've
got in mind)?
Wee Play on Solano offers reasonably priced indoor birthday parties. You can choose
Open Play, Art or Music Together style activities (with a Music Together teacher).
Call (510) 524-1318 or visit www.wee-play.com
Another request for advice about birthday parties. Our son
turns four in May; most of his friends are four to five years
old. We'd like to have some kind of entertainment at his
party. But we aren't sure what kind of performer would hold
this age group's attention: clown, magician, story teller,
puppeteer, balloon artist? Any advice from the group?
We had a great party for my 4-year-old at Tilden Park. We
reserved the picnic area across from the pony rides and
bought a bunch of pony ride tickets for an activity. We
also brought along some beach balls and bubbles and had a picnic
for kids and parents. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and
the 2 hours just flew by. Our son's birthday is in June, and I
don't know when the pony rides open. You can also have a party
right at the pony ride. I don't know if that age group really
needs much of an activity, but I have seen kids that age sit
quite well for magicians too. The Oakland Zoo can also be a
great place to have a party.
Seen a lot of kids parties.
My daughter will be turning four in October, and I'd like some
suggestions on how to throw a birthday party for her. Ideally,
I'd like to follow the 'one child for each year' rule, but she
goes to a preschool with 20 kids in her class, and I'd hate for
any of them to feel excluded. This is the first time I'll be
throwing an actual party, so I'd like it to be special. I live
in Fremont, so if there are any specific recommendations for
that area, I'd love to hear them! If it helps, she is a very
girly girl who loves pink, the Disney princesses, Hello Kitty,
you name it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
We had a similar situation. Our 4-year old has a February
birthday (which pretty much rules out picnics in the park due
to the chance of rain), and also about 20 kids in her
preschool class. It turned out that another boy in her class
had a birthday that was close to hers, so we ended up
throwing one party with the other parents for both kids. It
worked out really well, and we were able to include everyone
in an indoor activity party without it costing an exhorbitant
Pump it Up in Union City is a great place to have a party for
kids -- www.pumpitupparty.com
For about $225 (more for food) you can host up to 25 children
(unlimited parents/adults) for 1 1/2 hours in their inflatable
room and have a half hour in their ''party room'' for pizza. The
2 hour window is a perfect amount of time, and no clean up
My son will be three in mid july and I'm planning to plan a
birthday party. I'm not a natural party thrower and could use
some suggestions (I've looked at the ucparents section already).
I'd like to invite all of the kids in his daycare class (about
13 but I doubt they'd all be able to come), a few kids from his
play group, and a few slightly older kids from the neighborhood.
I don't know any of the parents well, so I'd like things to go
as smoothly as possible. thanks in
A good site for birthday party ideas/advice is:
It has suggestions on party themes, games, food, crafts to make,
food to serve, as well as tips on throwing birthday parties.
It sounds like you will be inviting A LOT of kids, maybe too
many? It can get pretty overwhelming/chaotic/stressful with so
many children (for you, your child and the other children). A
good question to ask yourself is - who is the party for? The
child is usually excited to have a few friends over while s/he
is the special birthday child of the day.
I also find it helpful to remember to remain relaxed, flexible,
and to let the birthday child determine (to some degree) what
s/he wants to do rather trying to stick to a rigid ''schedule.''
Again, remember that the party is for them and you want to make
sure that they are having fun.
When my daughter was a toddler, we usually invited as many kids
as her age, plus one. It seemed more manageable for her and for
I know that a lot of people open presents so that everyone can
ooh and aah, but I have found that this is difficult for the
kids who are observing. I usually thank the gift giver and open
the gifts at a later time, after the party.
Also, I have been to parties where clowns were hired and I have
always thought that this was a terrible idea as a few of the
kids were always scared to death (as was I, haha!) of the clowns.
here are some suggestions based on parties that i have hosted
for my kids as well as parties we attended for the 0-5 age group.
local park picnic
luau in backyard
it may be a bit ambitious for a self-proclaimed non-party-
thrower to host such a big group of people (esp. all of those
parents). you might consider having a small ''party'' (cupcakes
and party favors) one afternoon during snack time at school.
and then having another event for the the other group. good
luck and don't stress!
For my son's 3rd birthday I hired a person who entertained the
children with lizards, snakes, spiders and turtles. It was
educational and fun. I always try to hire someone for his
birthdays so the kids are kept busy and I have less to do. You
may want to check out www.birthdaypartyideas.com. This is a
great site for reference.
Does anyone have suggestions of low-key activities that would be a hit at a 3
year old's birthday party? I've searched the UCB website but did not come up
with any specific information regarding 3 year olds. Has anyone had a great
experience renting Kindergym at the Berkeley YMCA or alternatively, at
Habitot? My daughter loves storytellers but I'm not sure if the rest of her
friends would be able to sit that still at a party. Also, an etiquette
question: if your child is enrolled in nursery school, is it best to invite
every student in her class? Thank you in advance
I hired a Kindermusik teacher to come right to our home for my 3 year old
and 4-5 friends. It was a HIT! They had their little program (she stays for
up to an hour and I think it was $100, but she will end sooner if the kids
are losing interest). She was very intuitive and creative and had their
attention for about 45 min. Then we had cake and presents and that was it! I
am glad I did it and may try it again when my next one is 3!
We did a 3-year-old (and a 5-year-old) birthday party at Kindergym and
have been to a number of other people's parties there. Kindergym is
lots of fun -- plenty of large motor activity and kids have a choice
of playing side-by-side or playing together. The new party room is
really nice (the older one was kind of minimal). The other nice thing
about a party at the Y is that you get away from the opening presents
thing, and when it's over you don't have to clean up your house. If
you want to do a party there, you need to book it significantly ahead
of time to get the date you want.
I attended quite a few 3-year-old parties last summer, and the
activities that seemed to work best were the ones that the kids could
do on their own schedules. One party had 2 tables set up, one with
play-dough and the other with wooden frames and materials to decorate
them; another had a giant tray (like a roasting pan) full of bubble
mix and a lot of wands. The kids spent as much or as little time on
the activities as they wanted. Face painting is also fun if there's an
adult who doesn't mind spending a big chunk of time doing it. This
approach seemed to avoid the "herding cats" aspect of trying to get a
group of little kids to so the same thing at the same time.
Perhaps not low-key enough for you, but my daughter's 3rd birthday is
next week; since she absolutely loves to cook we're going to have a
baking party. We'll have the kids help to make a simple cookie
dough, roll it out, cut it with cookie cutters, then bake, and
decorate with different colors of icings, various fun sprinkles, and
even edible food coloring "markers" that they can draw on the cookies
with. We'll also have a few store-bought sugar and gingerbread
cookies on hand to decorate in case the baking doesn't work out; if
you can't or don't want to bake you could take the store-bought
option exclusively. Or do cupcakes, and let them stand in for a
bigger birthday cake. Either way, the kids should get a kick out of
Chuck E Cheese is the perfect place for kids that age. They have hostesses
that basically run the party for you so you have more time to take pictures
or play with the kids. I was told when kids are able to have parties its
best to limit the guests to the age of the child (3 years, 3 friends) to
avoid overwhelming the child, especially when it comes time to open the
presents. I invited all of my sons classmates one year (he was six) and only
ten of them showed up. After that, I only invited the people he asked me to
invite. It makes sense that your child would want kids there that he plays
with all the time.
Chuck E Cheese has music and the hostesses will lead them through some
songs. There's plenty of activities for them to do and the best part is you
don't have to worry about the cleanup afterwards. Also there is a good
security system in place so your kids are safe. There are also other
kid-oriented party places around (one of them is jungle-themed I believe).
One year I also had the party at my sons preschool (with permission from the
teacher ahead of time). I hired a Peewee Herman impersonator and he
basically ran the party for me, did fun activities with the kids, kept them
entertained for about an hour and then we all helped cleanup. It was fun,
the teachers liked the break and the kids had a great time.
Back to who to invite, if you are going to have it at your house, you need
to decide how many kids you can handle (how much help you are going to
have). You could probably hire a storyteller or a clown or someone to do
facepainting. Lots of things to do out there that kids really go for.
If you have it at some kid-oriented place, you can invite more because they
can handle it.
It's more of an issue of how much you want to get into.
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