Welcome to your little one’s last year of toddlerhood! Their fourth birthday can be a fun time to host a party with a particular theme, now that your little one and their playmates are a bit older and capable of being slightly more engaged with certain games and ideas.
You could host this party at home, at a park or playground, or hire out a venue. Some venues offer themed parties or packages including games and food etc., so shop around if you’d like to go down the venue path. Otherwise, choose a theme that sounds fun to you and your toddler that you think you can manage to host yourself. Try to keep the guest list to a size that you can supervise; if the guest list is relatively big, consider asking adult friends or family to assist you in keeping an eye on the fun or encouraging other parents to stick around.
Some fun theme ideas include:
Your little one’s favourite movie
Disney movies are often a popular choice, i.e. Frozen. You could set a dress-up theme to match the movie and play games inspired by the characters or settings in the film. If the movie is currently popular, you might find themed tablecloths and paper cups etc.
Crazy hair or hat party
This theme is a fun way to help everyone feel excited and involved. Encourage guests to come with a fun and wacky hairstyle or a silly hat. You could let parents know that it doesn’t need to be too over the top; a head full of pigtails or a glittery hat is enough! Consider having a can of coloured hairspray on hand in case anyone arrives feeling left out, but check with parents before you spray anyone’s hair.
Pirate treasure hunt
A treasure hunt theme can be super engaging and fun for you and the guests! Hide some kind of treasure (snacks or small toys) around the house or yard. Make sure the areas are safe for children to explore. You could make up some treasure maps with ‘X’ marking the spot and watch, while the little ones have fun following the directions and discovering little treats.
The pirate theme is optional; if you’d like to encourage dress-ups, that can be fun, but a simple treasure hunt theme is excellent too (and requires less preparation from parents finding costumes).
Many children enjoy playing with trucks around this age. You could throw a builder themed party if you have access to a sandpit or a yard space that lends itself to playing with trucks or toy tools. Bonus if you can track down some tiny hard hats or hi-vis vests!
This theme is great for dressing up. It can be open to interpretation! Not everyone needs to have wings and a tutu; let parents know that however their little one feels comfy as a fairy or magical creature is fine. This theme is a great one for snacks; fairy bread, colourful fruit, biscuits dipped in sprinkles, a fairy cake etc. Remember to include healthy options like carrot sticks (AKA magic wands) and cherry tomatoes (AKA magic balls of light).
Games games games
Your party doesn’t have to have a specific theme. Some simple, engaging games can keep the fun coming. Consider a plan of short games like musical chairs, pass the parcel, wrap the mummy (wrapping willing volunteers up in toilet paper in a race against the other team), paper plane throwing competitions, what’s the time Mr Wolf, or any of your childhood favourites!