Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

May 26, 2024

Toddler Parties Made Terrific

Understanding your little one’s needs and interests will help make his special day a blast.

It’s time to amp up your creativity skills and make your toddlers’ birthday work. To no surprise, it’s going to take a bit more than crafty fun and extra balloons — it’s hard enough social distancing with a 2 – 5 year old, now to throw a successful at-home birthday for him! It won’t be easy, but it is possible.

If there’s ever been a time for thinking outside of the box, it is now. For toddlers, they desire two things: fun learning and staying busy.


In my opinion, toddlers are the coolest part of the human population. They are in the intricate phase of soaking up information, grappling with fine motor skills, testing boundaries, becoming expressive and developing their personalities. The focus is primarily on keeping them safe as they begin to explore the world around them. Meanwhile, they are like free-spirited, fearless beings keeping moms and dads at the edge of their seats daily.

It is important to remember that a toddler is experiencing just as much emotional development as they are cognitive growth. Take a deep breath before taking on any toddler related project — it is very likely that one minute he will appear delighted, and the next it may seem as if his entire world is crashing down. Mood swings are totally normal.

According to Carolyn Brinkmann, director, Early Childhood and School Age Services, CoStars by The Children’s Home, there are many reasons why a toddler will “act out.”

“Their ‘acting out’ behaviors could be related to them feeling confused or frustrated by a situation,” she explains. “They may also feel overstimulated, hungry, tired or sick. When young children experience these ‘big feelings’ they often do not have the language needed to express their worries or fears.”

Be mindful of his reactions, and rather than getting frustrated or angry and take a step back and assess the environment or situation. And be aware of the sensory around him.

“Children learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses,” according to an article on, a site that provides full and part-time child care and educational programs for ages 6 weeks – 12 years. Senses act in such a way that allow toddlers to investigate, learn and then become confident. The more confident a toddler is, the more mature he becomes in his actions.

Knowing that toddlers have the quick ability for swift mood swings and that they require lots of attention and exploratory can help you as you plan a great toddler party. When you have a group of toddlers, anything can happen, including meltdowns.

According to Brinkmann, the way you react can turn that emotional mood swing around.

“Children under the age of 5 rely on trusted adults to co-regulate,” she explains. “Be present and close by, observe and respond with a calm tone of voice and be ready to offer choices when possible.”

And now you’re ready to host a your toddler party!


Note: Social distancing guidelines require that you keep your party to under 10 tots.


TREASURE HUNT: Designate a room in the house to hide “treasures,” like small toys, candy or anything age-appropriate and provide fun clues to “help” them find the treasure. The goal is to promote good self-esteem and keep the littles happy.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: Music is great for toddlers’ sensory and will liven up the party. The number of chairs used is always one short of the total number of children participating and decreases as kids are bumped out of the game when the music stops.

PAINTING: Remember to ask guests to bring an old shirt to wear over their outfit. Cover the floor with old sheets and dropcloths. Provide paper, paints and easy templates.

BALLOON TOSS: An outside activity, kids love tossing jiggly balloons to each other.

JELL-O MASH: Prepare a bowl of Jell-O for the number of guests, and have them place inanimate objects in their bowl. Ask kids what it feels like. Encourage them to compare how one object feels from another. Toddlers love to make a mess and use their hands. Let them indulge, and don’t forget to have them wash hands before and after each activity.

PUPPET SHOW: It’s time to go old school – bring his imagination to life. Draw faces on brand-new pairs of socks, or, find affordable hand puppets online. Perform a show with Q&A, and allow him to touch the puppets at the conclusion of the show.


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Curbside pickup or delivery. Follow on FB for updates.

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Lobby open and curbside pickup. Follow on FB for updates.

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Curbside pickup. Follow on FB for updates.

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About the Author

Nyketa Gaffney

Nyketa is proud mother of a 15-year-old daughter who is bright, funny and an aspiring actress. She is a local freelance writer, enjoys creative environments and colorful personalities. Nyketa aspires to tour the world, write books, eat great food and inspire children to be their best selves!