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Birthday Party for a 3-year old

Can we help out Kim with planning a kid- and adult-friendly birthday party? C'mon! We only turn 3 once:

I was hoping to get some advice/suggestions about a three-year-old birthday party. I am trying to do something that would be enjoyed by both the kids and the adults. Any thoughts?

Be sure to check out our Birthday Party section for previous posts and ideas.


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Keep it simple. Very simple. If there are going to be more than 2 or 3 kids there, make sure there's open space or an additional play area so that the stress of the party and close quarters don't make the kids crazy. Keep the flow of the party fairly quick, from greeting to play to cake to goodbye. Kids and adults get tired out fast and everyone is probably on different timetables. That way families that need to go can without missing anything but other families can stay too for extra play. Stay away from clowns.

3 is a great age for parties! Have fun.

Just today we had our 3 y/o son's birthday party. GIven it's in January, and that we have a very small house makes it a challenge. We hired TUMBLE BUS and I think both parents and children were pleasantly surprised. the kids had a wonderful time! the brothers, Jake and Ike are amazing with the kids. check out their website. http://tumblebuspdx.com/

Well, all three year olds are different. Given that, we had pinatas (sorry, couldn't get the tilda on there) every year for many years. There are a bunch of places in town where you can choose your own "fillings" and buy by bulk. The kids love it and you get to control whats in it. Also a great way to entertain kids plus tire them out after eating cake!

Hope this helps and have fun!

Piñatas are great, but I'd recommend a pull-string version for 3 year olds. You can buy them that way, convert a regular piñata with a conversion kit, or pretty easily do it yourself with a flat bottomed piñata. Here's a link on how to convert it: http://www.pullstringpinata.com/pull-pinata-convertion.html

We had my son's 2 yr old birthday party at the Mt. Scott pool. The age ranges were infant-4 yrs old. We had the room rented for an hour for the actual party, and then had the use of the pool for everyone for about 2-3 hours so everyone could leave when they wanted.

It turned out really well, and I got a ton of comments on what a great idea it was from the parents. No one had done this before, and thought it was great fun. The kids LOVED the slide and kid water features at this pool, and it seemed to be a hit.

My only complaint was the 1 hour room rental seemed a bit too short and at the end we had to hurry. But other than that it was a great party, and best of all being hugely pregnant I didn't have to host it at my house!

You could do a tropical theme to beat the winter-blues (like raggae or hawaiian, etc) and have the kids do a simple tie-dye (maybe just do kool-aid as the dye, so it doesn't make too much of a mess and it would wash out if needed). Serve pineapple chunks and smoothie-coladas (healthy and sweet for a party). Even easier, they could make simple grass skirts out of raffia or cut strips of paper.

We had our girls birthdays (we did a combined birthday for our girls they are both born in October) at The Play Boutique. http://www.playboutique.com it was wonderful! They ran the entire party for us, with games and activities, as well as free play time. They work with different budgets and work with you in the entire planning process to make sure its what you want.

A friend of ours did the children's museum birthday party and the kids loved it.

Our son's 3rd birthday we kept really simple at home. We did a sunday brunch. Set up the kids rooms and the family room as play zones. It made it fun, easy and stress free for us. the one activity the kids loved (mostly mom or dad have to do it) is making ice cream using ziplock bags. They thought it was amazing that we could make ice cream that way. I think they also loved eating it out of the ziplock. :) We also had the kids do a treasure hunt. Kept it simple and its how they got their goodie bag. We had the kids decorate their own cupcakes instead of having cake.

i have heard pool parties are fun. just keep in mind the size of the families you will invite. some parents are out numbered by children and won't be able to make it.

First off: beer and wine go a long way toward making sure the adults have fun no matter what ;) I always have alcohol at my kids' birthday parties!

For Everett's third birthday party, I had a pirate find-the-treasure theme and drew a treasure map (very simple, think Dora -- around the tree, past the bush, behind the water fountain). There were only a very few kids that year (i had a two-month-old baby which resulted in me sending invitations, like, four days ahead of time, hehe) but Everett had a great time finding the treasure (a little chest I got on sale at Fred Meyer for $4.99, filled with pirate-y treats from Lippman's) and I kept hiding the treasure in new places and drawing him more maps. The two of us had a great time!

For his fourth birthday party, I had a dress-up theme and invited everyone to bring their own favorite dress-up clothes. Everett was into saving princesses at the time, so I made (a few) stuffed swords for the kids to defend one another from the "bad guys" with, and if I would have been more organized there would have been crowns for everyone. As it was, the kids seemed to have a fantastic time and it was highly entertaining for the adults. (especially since everyone wanted to put on pink skirts, which made for fun photos... http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/sets/72157594224283646/ )

If you're ok with copious amounts of sugar, we've also had fun (in non-birthday times) decorating sugar cookies as a party activity -- get lots of sparkly sugar and jimmies and what-have-you from a cake decorating store (there's one on foster rd, around the 50s/60s), make a huge batch of cookie dough, and let kids decorate at will. Adults might enjoy it to (I know I do!)

I have always found early morning brunch birthday parties are easy (bagels, crossiants, coffee provided by Stumptown or your favorite, quiche and fruit), fun games mentioned above. The best part, kids are tired and ready for naps and you can sleep too, then clean up!

We had a "mud" party for my eldest's 3rd. We were digging up our lawn so we hosed to bare areas down, asked everyone to bring their wellies (most clothes were taken off), gave everyone buckets and shovels, and bubbles. Very fun!


Could you list some of the places to get a pinata and choose your own fillings?


We just went to a birthday party for my friend's son, who just turned 3, at Tyson Recreation Center in Hillsboro (www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/ParksRec/ParksFacilities/Tyson_Rec_Facility.aspx).

My 2 year old daughter had such a great time. They had use of the entire gym with all sorts of jungle gym equipment, mats, children's basketball hoops, balls, etc. They also had an adjacent room, which you can decorate and bring your own food. The children were so busy playing in the gym that the adults could chill in the adjacent room.

We just had a unique and whimsical party for our twin 6 year old daughters.
A Fairy Party! It was so sweet - two ladies dress as fairies, bring along beautiful dresses and transform the girls into fairies (capes, hats for boys). There is story telling, clean crafts and unique party favors. It was such a special event!
(might be a little much for 3 year olds, but wanted to share the info in case others are looking for ideas)
Here's the contact info:
Holly Stirnkorb and Meegan Fruits
Devyn's Drawers
Portland, Oregon 97215
(503) 235-2083
fax (503) 235-0385

The Lippman Company, at 50 SE Yamhill Street (close to OMSI), has a large selection of piñatas and fillers: http://www.lippmancompany.com . Toys R US also has piñatas.

for my 3 year olds birthday, I let the kids make their own pizzas. While the pizzas were cooking they all drew on a big piece of paper and the parents signed their names beside it. Something to put aside for my son when he gets older. when the pizza were done they ate then blue out the candles then opened gifts, and away they go with treat bags from the dollar store.

my 3 year old had a birthday party at home with 10 other kids we had a blast we painted shirts and had a scavenger hunt and my 16 year old made a deigo cake

Do you think it is okay to have an ice cream party in Nov. I am trying to work around College Football - so I thought we would have our party Sun. afternoon. After church. I went to a party this morning @ 10:30 & I thought that was the best time, but a Saturday 10 am ice cream party might be hard to pull off. Any comments or suggestiosn?

I forgot to mention the party is for a 3 year old. Does anyone know where to buy ice cream party decor?

As far as pinatas, you can find them easily at any mexican tienda (store). In all decor sizes and themes. hillsboro is where we shop.

All of these are great ideas. However, I am trying to find a place that is inexpensive to hold my daughter's 3rd birthday party. I live in an apartment, and it's not big enough for a lot of kids. I am expecting to invite 11 kids. Any ideas for a March party? Her birthday is March 14 and we are having the party on the 13th.

Jennifer, there are some great ideas on a previous thread here: http://www.urbanmamas.com/urbanmamas/2005/02/birthday_party_.html#comments

I would highly recommend a community center/indoor playpark. We have hosted one at St. Johns Community Center and we have attended parties at Peninsula Community Center and Hillside Community Center.

I am looking for games to play at my 3 yr. old grandson's party. There will be adults mostly and 1 more child. Any ideas

I am planning my sons 3rd birthday in November, I am in NH, he is into Mickey mouse and wondering what I could do? Its difficult because its the week after Halloween and the weather is brisk/chilly. Usually no snow but I want people to be comfortable. I have a bounce house and will use that (residential not commercial) and desperately need ideas.

WinCo always has a selection of pinatas as well!

Need ideas of help planning your child’s birthday party? There is a new party planner & party space that is unlike anything I have seen in Portland.

Specializing in wholesome birthday parties for younger children aged 1 up to age 8. Hosted in a fully licensed Waldorf preschool it is already set up & ready for your child’s imagination!
There is a dress up corner, dolls, train, blocks, natural & open ended toys, rocking horses & boat, table & chairs their size & an outdoor play space! Outside we have a play structure, trikes, bunnies & chickens the children can feed!

This space can fit up to 10 children & 10 adults.

Many ideas to choose from, like:
Fully planned and hosted, including food, cake, paper plates & cups, decorations. Basically all you have to do is show up & everything is taken care of!
For the full hosted party with food, cake, games, choose a theme, party bags, invitations & thank you cards sent out via email. That is a 2 hour party & will cost you $425.

Or you do everything & just rent the space.
The usual time is 1.5 to 2 hours. For the space only it is $125 & is available weekends only.

Special food can be ordered for allergies as well. We only serve vegetarian & organic food here.
This is an eco certified center with no harmful chemicals or pesticides ever used inside or out.

The center is in an old 1906 Portland home in the beautiful & historical inner SE Hawthorne district.

Your party can include age appropriate games, songs, circle times & circle games, simple puppet show
bread baking, play dough, book making, crafts, crown making, cup cake decorating are just a few of the ideas!

I am a trained Waldorf teacher and grandmother of 3. I have been teaching young children for 20 years. I have hosted birthday parties & was asked to start my own birthday party hosting business & have decided after much research, Portland mamas want this!

I am here for you to help you plan your child’s birthday & take all the stress out of the planning so you can just enjoy your little one & your friends.
This is a mellow alternative to what is currently being offered.

So, if you want a low key, wholesome, natural birthday, this is the place!

Call me or email me for more info so we can start planning your child’s party!

Call Carrie at 971-404-9291
email me at crileyteach@aol.com

Ahh i need help !! I have a november baby, he's turning 3 !! I don't know what to do.. You all have great places but I dont live in OR ... I live in NJ :(

my girl is turning 3 in june we were going to have a pool party and moon bounce and do the dora themed and treausre hunt mexican like foods, pinata, and give the kids like a homemade treasure map and backpack, but now its maybe gonna be the nearest wildlife center everything from wolves to cows, not sure but got less than a month to plan.

i have a sister and i am trying to plan her b-day so far i am doing musical chairs, 'cakewalk', and a treausre hunt

as i said she is turning three and her b-day was on June 30th but were celebrating it on July 2nd i think we should celebrate it on the 4th or on her real b-day.!!!!!!!!!!


My baby just turned 3. My husband took her to the Freddie's to pick out a cake (they came home with cupcakes), and 2 mylar balloons, we had a neighboring family and their 2 children come over, and we placed 3 pink candles (her choice) in her cupcake and sang Happy Birthday. Then we all ate cupcakes, the grown-ups had coffee, and the children (our 2 and their 2) played in the living room.
Perfect 3 year old birthday. You really don't need more. Don't overthink, overpay, or overstress this one. They're three.

Give all the attention to the birthday boy/girl but let every one enjoy the party.

Remember: They love dancing

u stink

get two or three friends play along with the kids dancing but don't distract them dancing or the will get embarrassed

dear socaled Hannah you are mean and thats not good advice. my advice is just have lots and lots and lots................. of FUN!!!!!

Here i smy list
Bowking with Choclate chips. Bowl them into there mouth!

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

My son is turning 3 in May. Last year I had his party at a park. It was a hit.
It was $40 to reserve the pavillon, my Mother made all the food, I had wine and a keg of beer for the adults and had games for the kids.
I'd like to still have the party at the park but want something extra special for the kids to do....Any ideas please?

why would you have alcohol at a 3 year olds party? Shouldn't you all stay sober since you need to drive home? Whatever happened to child endangerment laws?

severely confused: oh my goodness. if you can't have a glass of wine or a beer and not get drunk, then that's your own problem. i get so tired of people thinking that having an alcoholic beverage means getting drunk. there's quite a difference and I'm sure exactly everyone in France would agree.
For an outdoor park party: I've hired Adam the Magician for my son's 4th birthday party before and he was great. It was about $150, though. I'm sure there are other magicians in town as well. Maybe have a relay race?
For a home party I saw a really cute idea on a blog: have a breakfast cereal party. Have all sorts of breakfast cereal, milks (strawberry, etc.) and toppings in big jars and whatnot. Have the kids come in their pjs, eat their own cereal concoctions and watch cartoons. Easy and fun! You could even get some inexpensive cereal bowls and a porcelain pen and make customized bowls for the guests to take home, or wrap thicker wire and beads around spoons as souvenirs (though I'm sure that someone will say that the wire would be sure to stab some poor kid).
Have fun!

For my kids at3 and 4. For 3yr mt son we did sundays on sunday. Did antopping table and letbthem decorate however they wqnted! Then had a cake decorated like ice cream cones lol. My nephew said it was the best ever party! My son's 4th we used the local park and ran around "bases made out of paper plates" to music. Like musical chairs but didnt take any away. Some 4 yr olds don't understand fully why your taking away and they are out. We did a cookout with smores and hot coco for my daughters 3 rd she has a november birthday. But the best party i have was when she turned 4. We got tickets to see.the local childrens theater interactive princess play! (The more tickets.the better the discount) appel farms in NJ The boys dressed as knights and girls princess. Then we met back at my house for gifts in the princess chair while the boys sword fought in thee back. Off topic, i also loved when i had a new years eve at lunch time party. The theory was when the clock hit noon we would pop.poppers. well it was around 2 and we had such a great time shouting happy new year and getting confetti all over! Now i have another 3 yr old who loves to play ith playdoh so i.think im going to have a make and take playdoh party with each kid going home with their own doh!

Sorry the mistakes! New at touch screen typing and i thought i had hit preview not post lol.

Andrea- You are awesome!

Why would a parent even WANT to be drinking alcohol at ALL, KNOWING they have to DRIVE their child/ren?! A 2-3 hour party for kids should be about the kids. Safety and all.
Rent a bounce house.
Have a mini Olympics.
Scavenger hunt with prizes.

Ok question.....my son will be three in November....do u think that it will be too cold to let the kids roast marshmellows?

How can you deal with multiple toddlers without being smashed? Turning three. Jesus, two is in the rearview mirror, time to drink to that!

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