No Party? What to Do for Your 2 Year Old’s Birthday Instead

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The Traditional Stuff

Even if you aren’t planning to have a big party with everyone you know, and it may not be a perfectly Pinterested event, you can still have an amazing birthday celebration for your birthday boy or birthday girl! No matter what you did for your child’s first birthday, you can celebrate number two however you want! Remember that it’s really about getting in quality time and making your birthday child feel celebrated!

Choose one or a ton of the different fun activities I have compiled below to guarantee that your birthday kid feels celebrated!

Open Presents

This is probably obvious, but you can still definitely get your child some great gifts! If you aren’t sure what to get them, check out my extensive post with all of my favorite educational and fun gifts for 2-year-olds.

To make the gifts extra fun, it’s a great idea to wrap them up in different, fun ways. Try wrapping paper, gift bags with lots of tissue paper they get to pull out, or even have your little one try to find the gift that you hide. (Since your little one is only two, make sure the gift is visible and within reach so they can find it easily.)

Once your child has opened their amazing gifts, don’t forget to plan some free play. When they see how fun their new toys are, they are going to want to play. Don’t underestimate how fun this can be, especially when you join in!

Birthday Cake

Keep up the traditional fun, and make your little one a special treat: a birthday cake. At this age, your child is easily pleased, so a simple box cake with some sprinkles on top will more than suffice. Oh and don’t forget the ice cream! Nothing elevates cake like ice cream!

If you want to go the extra mile and try to make your own cake, go for it! There are tons of good ideas all over the Internet if you are feeling inspired and want to amp up your cake game! (I think this tutorial for your child’s favorite character cake is pretty straightforward and very impressive!)

The third option, of course, is to get a cake from a bakery that someone else makes. If baking isn’t your thing, this is an easy alternative.

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Get the Candles

I know it’s simple, but birthday candles really do add to the magic! The candles are a great way to set apart this day as extra special, because candles are a sure sign of a party, even for two-year-olds!

Sing the Song

All of my kids light up when they get sung to! And when the “Happy Birthday” song includes their name in it, all the better! Littles just love to have their own names in songs. If you are looking for some other fun birthday songs, check out PJ Panda’s “Birthday Song”! It’s a really fun mix-up of the typical birthday song!

Make Their Favorite Foods

For lots of two year olds, eating can be a bit of a struggle. But no one wants to deal with that on their birthday! Their birthday is a great opportunity to spoil your little one and give them all their favorite foods, all day!

If they love macaroni and cheese from a box, by all means, make them boxed mac and cheese! If they love a certain fast food, take them out. It’s their day, so don’t worry too much about nutrition and a balanced diet. That can wait for tomorrow.

Blow Up Balloons

If you haven’t done balloons with your toddler, you are missing out. It’s such a simple joy to blow up a bunch of balloons (or honestly just one or two will suffice), and let your little one go wild! They will have so much fun batting it around, kicking it, (trying) to catch it, and more!

Just a little PSA, balloons can be hazardous if children try to bite them. So if you have a biter maybe skip the balloons this year!

If the weather allows, water balloons might be a good idea, too! The splash and water add an extra bit of fun to your toddler’s day!

Get Party Hats

Is it really a birthday without birthday hats? Mark the day by getting some silly birthday hats, or make your own! Those little cone hats are pretty simple to make, and your child might enjoy coloring them together.

If you have yourself a little prince or princess, check these little girl crowns, and these little boy crowns. So precious!

Small Gatherings with Close Family or Friends

If you aren’t interested in a huge second birthday party, you can do something low-key with immediate family or close friends.

If you want to add a few more people to the birthday celebration, consider inviting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and/or cousins. This is (usually) a smaller crowd, and hopefully more manageable than a bash with all of your child’s school friends.

Or maybe you have family friends that would come over for a bit, or join you for a fun outing. Adding just a few people still constitutes a fun toddler birthday party! Again, no need to go all out. Keep things simple and fun! The fact that you are making this day all about them will make for a good time!

Novel Ideas

If you want to mix things up this year, below are a ton of ideas to mark this special occasion in a unique way! These birthday alternatives include both going out or staying in! It’s whatever suits you and your family best!

Jump Park

As a fresh two year old, your child likely hasn’t been to a jump park just yet (unless older siblings are into it!). But if you have a mover and a shaker, then a jump park might be a perfect plan. Some places even have toddler-specific areas, so they can stay out of the way of bigger kids.


If you’re on a tight budget (or even if you aren’t!) don’t underestimate the fun of a park! Toddlers just love the independence and all of the options that a park offers.

Depending on where you live, you could even park-hop. One day, my kids and I did a park tour, going to multiple parks in one day. They had the best time!

To spice things up a little extra, grab a few sand toys so they can dump and build. You can grab these awesome sand toys that are specific to playing in the sand, or you can grab a few old kitchen supplies (bowls, spoons, cups, etc.). At two, there’s not much more fun than filling and dumping things in various containers!

Local Event

Check out local events in your area that might coincide with your child’s birthday. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town that has story times at the library, check it out. All of my kids love story time, and at our library, they make it very toddler-friendly with lots of movement.

Depending on what you have available, there might be stores that put on events, or community centers with great options, too. Honestly, I often search Facebook events and find fun and unique ideas for me and my family!

Bake Together

Okay, I recognize that baking with your two year old might sound a little overwhelming, but it can be a great thing to do with your little one!

You just have to let go and recognize that things might get a little messy, and that’s okay! Baking can be a fun introduction to some basic math skills and it is a wonderful sensory activity. Plus, a little “help” in the kitchen can be so fun. And don’t worry, you will be with them the entire time, so you can keep things safe and under control.

If you need a little more guidance or ideas on what to bake, check out my article about baking with toddlers.

Colorful Bubble Bath

Bath time can be so much fun if you add a few extra elements to make it exceptional. Most little kids love bath time (even if they aren’t crazy about getting their hair washed).

One of the easiest ways you can make bathtime special is by adding bubbles. And if you want to get really crazy, try adding a bit of food coloring. A few drops go a long way! At my house, we have never had problems with it dying my kids’ skin or the tub.

Indoor Play Area

If it’s not the right season to go to a park, then check around your area for an indoor play area. If there isn’t one close by, it might be worth a little day trip to a nearby town.

Indoor play areas take out the x-factor that is the weather. However, most of them will have an entry fee. But if you can cover it, the play area can be a really fun, special way for your child to celebrate.

If you were thinking of inviting a few extra people to add some excitement, an indoor play area might be the perfect destination! Keep your guest list small if you are hoping to keep things simple.

Let Them Pick a Present

I love the idea of letting your child pick out their own present. Too often, we have to say no to our child’s desire to get something at the store. But on their birthday, you can take them to the store specifically to pick out whatever they want (within reason). You may need to set boundaries by picking one aisle to look at or have a dollar amount in mind before going in. Orrr you could go to Dollar Tree, and tell them the number of items they can get. That way, they truly can get ANYTHING! My kids have done this with their grandparents, and they feel like absolute kings!

Either way, your kids will feel SO SPOILED when they get to choose what they want at the store. It’s a rare occurrence, which makes it much more fun!

Children’s Museum

If you’re lucky enough to have a fantastic children’s museum close by, let your child go wild! Let your birthday child stay as long as they want. (But you probably won’t want to skip that afternoon nap!)

Arts and Crafts

Two-year-olds are starting to get creative and have their own ideas for things. Even in this age group, kids can really enjoy doing arts and crafts. Again, the internet is your friend. Just check out Pinterest or Google to get tons of ideas that your child will love!

Amusement Park

An amusement park that is kid-centric can be perfect for your kid’s birthday. Just be sure to look into the specific park you are thinking of to be sure that two-year-olds have plenty of fun ways to explore and enjoy!

The Zoo

The zoo is a magical place, especially when you are a child! Seeing animals in real life might be a great way to spend the day with your little one. Some places even have a petting zoo, and that means your toddler can interact with different animals. Talk about living the dream! You could even hype up the experience by reading books about the zoo beforehand.

Bubble Machine

Another magical experience when you’re two: bubbles. I’m not sure what it is about bubbles, but they are simply captivating to most toddlers. If you’re looking for a great bubble machine, check out this one!

Tea Party

If you’ve got a fancy two-year-old, consider a tea party! I have a friend who has three boys, and she has raised them to love tea and tea parties. So even if you don’t think your child is the fancy sort, it’s all about how you present it! Here is a cute tea set that is dishwasher-safe and fairly gender-neutral.

Outdoor Movie Night

Two-year-olds are ripe for a good movie. Make it even more fun by taking the movie outside! Get a little projector set up and have at it! At this age, Winnie the Pooh, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Paw Patrol all have great kids movies. This projector isn’t too big, and it’s not too expensive either.

Have a Blast!

Hopefully, you found exactly what you are looking for: great ideas to make your little one’s birthday an extra fun day! And remember that the most important part is being present with your child. Take the time to get on the floor and really play with them! Follow their lead as they play.

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