About a month ago, maybe two, M saw Frozen for the first time and immediately fell in love with Olaf the snowman. We had been loosely planning a luau-themed birthday for her because I couldn’t think of anything she really enjoyed enough to turn into a birthday theme, but all that went out the window when her new-found Frozen obsession came to town. I quickly changed gears and started planning a Frozen toddler birthday that was less princess-heavy than most of what I’d seen online (because she doesn’t really care about Anna and Elsa!).
First, we rented a room at our local rec centre. It was a decision made because our upstairs bathroom is under renovations right now and we didn’t want to make all the party guests trek to our basement, but it actually turned out to be a pretty good idea. It was $30 for two hours, they provided the tables and let us in an hour early to set up, and once we pulled all the party supplies down post-party, and trashed most of what we had brought, their cleaning crew came in and dealt with the rest. Judging by the amount of Play-Doh on the floor, I am very glad we didn’t have it at home and will strongly consider outsourcing party locations in the future (though there was a minor hockey tournament happening at the same time — next year we might pick a hotel conference room or the local train station).
Even though I got there an hour early I ended up slammed for time because Matt had to run out and get more table coverings, the bag of party activities I forgot at home, and pick up the birthday girl after her nap. I didn’t get any of my own photos of the set up before people arrived, and I only snapped two photos on my phone. I decided actually paying attention to the party was more important!
The room was a fairly blank canvas, but it being a two-year-old’s party, I didn’t want to go too overboard. I also didn’t want to go nuts with Frozen-themed everything, but snowflakes are in season so that was easy to deal with! I bought two snowflake tablecloths and a purple Mylar covering, then Matt had to run out and grab a few rolls of snowflake wrapping paper to fill in the gaps because the tables were way longer than I thought they’d be. I picked up a snowflake decorating pack too, which was a bunch of paper snowflakes, snowflake-patterned lanterns, and snowflake garlands. We kept everything but the lanterns — they got trashed in the removal process — and are all set for some kind of winter party in the future. One of M’s only requests was “triangle hats” so I also bought two packs of classic party hats.
Things I Bought & Didn’t Use
I had purple and blue streamers purchased, as well as some generic birthday balloons, but completely ran out of time and couldn’t put them up before everyone started arriving — and I would have liked to cover the food and gift tables with the paper roll too, but whatever. I bought silver plates, purple and blue napkins, and purple forks, most of which went unused, so I could have skipped those.
The party went from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. so I figured we could get away with finger food, and I was right (or maybe everyone was starving and didn’t tell me). I bought a small cheese, sausage, and pickle tray; three packages of Frozen-themed juice boxes (probably should have bought more); “Olaf arms” which were pretzel sticks; artichoke and Asiago dip; and I made cream cheese and jam sandwiches which dried out and were probably totally unnecessary. As for the cake, M requested chocolate cupcakes so I made those from scratch, and loaded them up with homemade icing and the sprinkles she picked out (which covered just how horrible an icing job I put forth).
This was what I was most worried about, and why I’m writing this post because maybe someone else is wondering WTF to do with a handful of kids in a space that is not your own, when you don’t really know half of them because they are daycare friends and you are very concerned about keeping everybody entertained.
There were probably a dozen kids there, ranging from two-year-olds up to kindergarten age. Our only previous birthday experiences have been in houses where all the birthday kid’s toys are up for grabs. I decided to throw together a random assortment of activities and hoped it would occupy everyone! I made plain snowflake sugar cookies and set them out with icing scribblers so kids could decorate their own, which seemed to be a big hit. I printed out some Frozen colouring pages and provided crayons, bought three jars of Play-Doh, and provided half a dozen bottles of bubbles. At the last minute I also grabbed eight big punch balloons which were massively entertaining until they all started popping half an hour into the party. And, we had a big Olaf pull-string pinata stuffed with candy, which worked as an activity and our favours. Matt downloaded the Frozen soundtrack and played it with a Bluetooth speaker in case any kids wanted to dance.
Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and eating cupcakes took up a chunk of time, and we decided to let M open up her presents from her friends during the party (which is when things went nuts — rookie move? I don’t know).
Was it Pinterest-worthy? No, I don’t think so. But from what I could tell the kids all had a lot of fun, there weren’t any dead moments when nobody knew what to do, and M had a blast.