Easy 4 year old birthday party ideas

Your baby is turning four— how did that happen? As you mull over time moving way too fast, it's also time to start thinking about throwing a birthday party. While COVID-19 has made social activities for the last year plus complicated at best, there are ways to keep your party safe and socially distant that apply to children's birthday parties anytime of year, pandemic or not. How? Two words: simple and small. A helpful "rule" for toddler and preschool-age birthday parties is this: invite the number of the child's age plus one, per The Pragmatic Parent (and my mother, who repeated this more than once during my daughters' early years). There is no need to go overboard, and that begins with the number of people on the guest list. And remember, given that this age is still a bit early for kids to be dropped off at your home, you'll need to account for parents and caregivers attending as well.

Now, let me add that if you genuinely love entertaining, and planning a birthday party sparks joy for you, by all means go crazy with the decor and food. Have fun with it. But don't feel obligated to throw an extravaganza for a 4 year old because social media implies that's what you need to do. I have many issues with the negative way that social media channels like Instagram can make us all feel, but will leave that post for another day. For now, it's on to the fun part! I've culled the Internet for anything and everything related to 4 year old birthday parties that are easy to execute and age-appropriate, and have listed my favorite themes, activity ideas and hacks below.

Your baby is turning 4— let's celebrate!



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Easy 4 year old birthday party ideas
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Easy 4 year old birthday party ideas

Themes

BREAKFAST IN YOUR PAJAMAS

Little ones love to hang out in their pajamas, and breakfast foods are generally a popular meal choice for the preschool set. Plus, and this can't be emphasized enough, morning birthday parties mean you have the rest of the day to recuperate.

SUPER HEROES

It's a bird... it's a plane... it's Super Kid! Make your birthday kiddo and friends superheroes for the day with a theme that lends itself to easy activity ideas (silly string looks a lot like Spiderman's web, I'm just saying) and superhero cape party favors.

DINOSAURS

Roar! I think it's safe to say that most children go through a dinosaur stage, and throwing a dino-themed party offers a lot of fun ideas, from setting up a DIY "dino dig" in a sandbox in the backyard to an "adopt a dinosaur" party favor basket as kids head home.

ARTS-N-CRAFTS

Have a paint and sip (apple juice) party! The possibilities are endless with an art-themed party, as children at this age generally love to get their hands on a paintbrush, jar of paint or container of glitter. Have a specific project in mind, or even easier, provide a variety of materials and see what the kids create themselves.

FAVORITE CHARACTER OR TV/STREAMING SHOW OF CHOICE

Perhaps the easiest of them all, as any party supply store will have all the hit kids' TV show decoration and character options, from Paw Patrol to Peppa Pig. If not, online resources like Oriental Trading and Etsy (for anything personalized) are a good bet.

Easy 4 year old birthday party ideas alinabuzunova/Twenty20

Food

BREAKFAST IN YOUR PAJAMAS

  • Set up a pancake bar with toppings: blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, whipped cream and syrup
  • Set up a cereal bar (this is your chance to buy all the fun, oddly-bright cereal out there)
  • Donuts and/or muffins (a donut tower could also substitute for cake)
  • Bacon or sausage links
  • Paper party cups filled with fruit
  • Milk and orange juice for the kids (I love these mini milk jars!)
  • Coffee for the adults

SUPER HEROES

DINOSAURS

ARTS-N-CRAFTS

  • "Canvas" pizza (square pizza slices)
  • This art party cake is pretty fabulous
  • Make "Creative juice" which is literally your child's favorite juice or water
  • Dip pre-made rice crispy treats in colored chocolate and put a craft stick on the other side- looks like a paintbrush!
  • Brightly colored fruit and veggie cups

FAVORITE CHARACTER OR TV/STREAMING SHOW OF CHOICE

  • The easy thing about using this theme is it's really more about the decor than anything else. When your Peppa Pig-obsessed child has Peppa Pig party hats and plates, it doesn't matter what's on them. Although, using single serve chocolate pudding cups and calling them "mud puddles" (a Peppa favorite) is pretty cute!

Easy 4 year old birthday party ideas biorat65/Twenty20

Activity ideas

BREAKFAST IN YOUR PAJAMAS

SUPER HEROES

DINOSAURS

ARTS-N-CRAFTS

  • Choose a special arts-n-crafts "paint your own" project or just gather materials for kids to create something of their own (material ideas: glue, popsicle sticks, glitter and sequins, pipe cleaners, scraps of tissue paper, construction paper and cardboard pieces, toilet paper rolls, markers and crayons)
  • Decorate your own cookie or cupcake
  • Set up a photo wall with these fun art-themed photo props
  • Make cupcake liner flowers

FAVORITE CHARACTER OR TV/STREAMING SHOW OF CHOICE

Once again, it really depends on which character or show your child chooses, but here are some examples:

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Hacks

All-inclusive party hack: Does your child have a best bud? Check with the family's schedule and make sure the buddy can attend first before setting the birthday party date.

BREAKFAST IN YOUR PAJAMAS

  • Buy as much of this pre-made as you can (or make ahead, if possible. Pancake batter can be made ahead of time, and is good anywhere from 2-4 days beforehand)
  • I am all about an easy printable - aren't these Pancake and Pajama party printables adorable?

SUPER HEROES

DINOSAURS

ARTS-N-CRAFTS

  • A cheap shower liner makes a great tabletop cover for art projects (or better yet, keep the party outdoors if you can)
  • Decorating with balloons? Hanging them upside down will save you the cost and inconvenience of having to get helium - per Momtastic

FAVORITE CHARACTER OR TV/STREAMING SHOW OF CHOICE

  • Don't want to spend the money on going to the party store? Take stickers with your child's favorite character and put them on plain cups or blown up balloons for easy decorations - per The Atlanta Parent

And my #1 hack? Don't have any expectations. Children's birthday parties never go just as you envision them, and that's okay. Also, ice cream cakes. So time-saving, so delicious. You've been a parent for four years. Congrats to you!

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