10 Activities for a Toddler Birthday Party
"BEACH THEME" EDITION
JUNE 30, 2022
With our twins turning three this week, birthday parties have been top of mind, so we wanted to share some party details and tips from the "Three By The Sea" extravaganza that was thrown in honor of the big day. The perfect choice for a summer birthday (with endless pretty decor options!), these beach-themed tips will help you to plan fun and easy toddler-approved activities for the party. And as an added bonus, these activities can be used for other party themes as well -- like mermaid or pirate-themed parties, pool parties, or a surfer/California-dreaming theme.
You'll find that different kids are drawn to different activities, and that some children will spend the whole party engaged with one activity, while others will dabble in them all -- there's something for everyone and that's what makes this a great set-up for a toddler party where there are many children with different interests! We had a very intimate party so were able to split these activities into two parts: before and after naptime. Hopefully you will be able to pick and choose ones that will work best for your party's structure, and your toddler's schedule!
Read on to see the 10 fun activities that will help to turn your backyard into a fun beach party for your toddler's special day ... and scroll to the bottom for FREE access to the party printables we had created for the various activity stations!
1. Beach Area
This was styled by using a large outdoor rug to delineate the area, then setting up chairs, umbrellas, and cardboard “changing cabanas” -- made from old moving boxes -- as if it was a sandy beach (there may have been a brief discussion about trying to purchase actual sand to make a huge sand pit on a tarp but that idea was scrapped after we accepted that we are exhausted toddler parents, not the Kardashians’ event planners!). There was also an inflatable volleyball net & various beach balls planned for this area, but a shipping snafu meant they didn’t arrive in time. Regardless, this was a great area for little ones to take a moment to sit and rest/relax, or have a snack, before moving on the next activity.
2. Sandcastle Building Zone
Simple but efficient -- use a sand table (ours is a Step2 one that we spraypainted!) or a sandbox, and throw in some sand toys and buckets. You could make this a contest if you think the kids are old enough to understand that, or you could just let them get as sandy as they please. You could also have a "dig for buried treasure" aspect to this station to make it more structured or educational. We went for kinetic sand to help with the castle-shaping, but regular sand would work as well!
3. Snack Bar/Drink Cart
Using any cart you have, set out self-serve toddler friendly snacks and drinks (we chose GoGo pouches, a water dispenser and a carafe filled with lemonade). This doubled as a pretend-play and water-play station, with one of our kids spending the entirety of the party "serving" lemonade and water to everyone. It was her favorite part of the party, she won't stop talking about it!
4. Tidepools & Fishing
If you can't go to the beach, bring the beach to you! Based on a childhood love of exploring tidepools, we set up a sensory tidepool experience. You'll need 2-3 mini inflatable pools, sand, an assortment of plastic sea animals/seashells (the more realistic the better!), large smooth pebbles, magnetic fishing rods & magnetic fish, nets & buckets, and anything else you can think of/want to include. You could make this as educational as you'd like ... we would have loved to do a scavenger hunt type-checklist of everything that we put in the pools, but ran out of time. We also put our balancing/stepping stones around the pools, to really get that "climbing over rocky terrain" feeling you can only get at a tidepool!