How To Plan A Birthday Party For A Preschooler

Post Date February 24, 2011

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Wow! Your preschooler is celebrating her birthday! She’s finally old enough to invite her own friends to join the fun.  With a mind of her own, she probably knows exactly what theme she wants too! (If you’re still deciding, check out over 70 age- appropriate choices Kids Birthday Party Themes )

Preschool Party Tips:

  • Get your child involved in the party planning, it builds excitement for the big day.
  • A good rule of thumb to let your child invite as many guests as their age, to prevent it from becoming too overwhelming.
  • Children this age are still adjusting to the idea of sharing, so it’s best to make sure everyone receives the same favors. Simple inexpensive prizes and favors will keep everyone happy.
  • Little tummies fill up fast, so keep the food simple. Depending on the time of day, cake and ice cream are usually more than enough to satisfy them. If you want to offer snacks or meals, stick with simple finger foods. Don’t overwhelm yourself with menu planning.
  • At this age level, games are a must, but try to have a prize for everyone.
  • Preschoolers need to be active; some toys or activities to keep them busy at all times is essential.
  • The concept of “waiting their turn” is hard to grasp, so choose games that allow everyone to join in the fun. Some fun choices are listed below.

Preschool Party Games:

Balloon Pop:

  • Set-up: Use 11” balloons , one for each player, and insert a miniature candy bar or treat inside before you inflate it. On one of the treats put a colorful sticker  – this is the “winner”.  Place the balloons in a laundry basket until game time.
  • Play: Have each child select a balloon, then when you say “Go”, have every child sit on their balloon and bounces on it until it pops. Every child gets the candy inside, and the Winner wins a prize (it can be as simple a large version of the mini candy bar). Be prepared with a pin hidden in your hand in case a player isn’t heavy enough to pop the balloon – this should be fun, not frustrating.


Sticker-Fun Pass

  • Set-up: Start with a sheet of colorful stickers enough for each of your guests and the birthday child to receive five. Select a passable object – such as a stuffed animal , squishy ball , or something that relates to your theme. Select lively music your child enjoys and have a CD player with a pause button easily accessible.
  • Play:  Have the children sit in a circle on the floor. Hold up the passing object and explain to the children that they are going to pass the object to the person on their left as long as they hear music. When the music stops, everybody freezes and the child who has the object gets a sticker to wear. The game then starts all over and continues until one player has won five stickers. The winner gets a prize (maybe even the object they were passing) and all the other players get the remainder of their stickers.


Jump Over the River

  • Set-up: Clear a large area and get two pieces of yarn (long enough to line up the players along it).Decorate your river with inflatable fish or individual snack bags of Gold Fish crackers.
  • Play: Layout one piece of yarn and have the players line up along one side of it. Place the other piece of yarn one foot away parallel to the other piece. The space in between the piece of yarn is the “River”. Decorate it with your fish. When you say “Jump”, all the players jump over the “River” (their legs don’t have to be together, they can “step” or “leap” if they want to).  When everyone is over, have them return to the first line and move the second piece of yarn back six inches, and have everyone jump over the river again. Keep doing this until the space is too wide for the players to jump. Every player can jump every time – there’s no elimination, however keep watching for your winner – the player who jumps the widest distance. All the players get a prize such as a bag of Gold Fish or an inflatable fish. If you’d like. One winner could win both prizes.


Apple Puzzle

  • Set-up:  Start with as many large firm apples as you have players. Cut up each apple into eight pieces (either wedges or slices). Place apples as jumbled up as possible into individual sandwich bags. A sprinkling of lemon juice will keep the apples from turning brown too quickly.
  • Play: Hand out bags of apples. Ask each player to reassemble their apple like a puzzle. The first one to successfully do so is the winner. Players can keep their apples to eat now or take home. The winner receives a prize (like a bag of gummy worms – worms love apples too!).


Put Out the Fire

  • Set-up: For each player get one red bucket .  Get about a dozen blue bead necklaces (for the “water”)  and one Fire Chief Hat. Use construction paper in  orange and red and cut them in quarters, or have the children tear them into flame shapes and arrange them on a tray or shallow box to make the “fire”.
  • Play:  Set out the fire then line up the buckets in a row leading up to the fire. Put all the beads in the bucket farthest from the fire. Have the children line up each behind a bucket. Have the child nearest the “fire” wear the Fire Chief hat. Have the children turn sideways and hold onto each other’s waists. Have them start chanting “Fire, Fire, Fire …” and have the Chief lead his “engine” in a trot all around the room ending up back in front of the buckets. Have the player whose bucket has the “water” pour all the beads into the player’s bucket next to him, then have that player pour the “water” into the player’s bucket next to him, and so on down the line. The Chief then pours the “water” onto the “fire” and hands his hat to the player next to him and runs to the end of the line. The player with the hat is now the Fire Chief and the whole game begins again until everyone has had a turn being Fire Chief (while the “engine” is running, the “water” must be returned to the end bucket). Everyone is a winner – players can take a bucket and necklace home with them and the birthday child can have the Fire Chief hat.