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2-Year-Old Birthday Themes That’ll Get the Party Started

Take the stress out of party planning with these 2-year-old birthday party ideas.
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profile picture of Martina Garvey
Associate Editor
Updated
August 3, 2017
little girl's second birthday
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Your kid’s turning 2, and it’s time to celebrate! In the past 24 months, your little one has likely learned to crawl, walk and talk. In addition to these major developmental milestones, your kiddo’s unique personality—and their distinct likes and dislikes—will start to shine through at this age. Keep your tot’s interests in mind when brainstorming second birthday themes. If they’re obsessed with dinosaurs, opt for a prehistoric theme. If they jump up and down with glee everytime you tune into a certain TV show, plan the day around their favorite character.

Need a helping hand? Check out our event-planning tips, plus a few unique 2-year-old birthday themes to inspire your day.

How to Plan a 2-Year-Old’s Birthday Party

Even if you have a seed of an idea, plotting a toddler birthday bash for your soon-to-be 2 year old can overwhelm even the most organized parent. Take a deep breath. With these second birthday party ideas and tips from Seri Kertzner, owner of the New York City-based planning group Little Miss Party Planner, you can pull off a memorable party for your 2-year-old with minimal stress.

  • Keep it simple: When your child turns one, parents typically go all out and throw a blowout party. “But by baby’s second birthday, you’ve been there and done that,” Kertzner says. “No need to go big. Invite just your child’s friends (classmates, cousins and neighbors) and keep the party low-key.”

  • Embrace a colorful theme: “My favorites are a rainbow (all the colors!), a farm or a rubber ducky party, but consider your child’s interests,” Kertzner says. Make your life easier by picking a pre-packaged concept like Disney characters or Sesame Street, or get inspired by your toddler’s current favorite cartoon. And if you’re crafty, go for a DIY theme where you can let your own talents shine.

  • Keep kids busy: Let’s face it: There’s always a chance a tantrum will break out in a room full of toddlers. Prevent meltdowns by planning plenty of activities to keep kids busy. Better yet, hire someone to help. It’s best to find an entertainer your child is familiar with— a band member from your child’s music class or a storyteller from the nearby library. Ask parent friends for vetted recommendations. And if you’re looking for entertainment, you can find and book a range of performers (magicians, musicians, face painters—you name it) on TheBash.com.

  • Adults should have fun too: Don’t forget to entertain the parents too. If appropriate, Kertzner suggests having wine and beer readily available. “It’s also nice to set some grownup food for them to snack on, such as a crudités or a cheese platter,” she adds.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff: It’s a 2-year-old birthday party, after all. Your kid won’t remember it, so try to relax and have fun, Kertzner says. As long as you nail down the theme, the fine details—like invitations, cake ideas and birthday party outfits—will all fall into place.

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Punny 2-Year-Old Birthday Themes

Love a good pun? You’re in luck; there are tons of funny—and punny—second birthday themes. Head to Pinterest for inspiration, brainstorm your own puns or check out three of our favorite 2-year-old birthday party themes below.

Two cool birthday theme

Image: Minted, Zazzle, Amazon, DoubleJoyDesigns

Is your toddler too cool for school? Consider throwing them a “two cool” birthday party. This gender-neutral theme is open to interpretation, but we envision a modern color scheme (think: cobalt blue and sunny yellow) and decorative sunglasses. After all, every cool kid needs a killer pair of shades. In terms of party clothes, let them wear their favorite outfit (nothing screams cool kid like a unique sense of style!) or pick up a printed tee for the occasion. When it comes to snacks and party food, serve up mini cupcakes with sprinkles and colorful platters of fruits and veggies. Dippable treats, like chicken nuggets and mozzarella sticks, always go down well. Bake or buy, a birthday cake with icy blue frosting and decorate it with a custom topper. All that partying is going to make those littles thirsty, so have a cooler full of grown-up drinks and plenty of juice boxes for the kiddos (chilled of course). Want to go all out? Invest in a snow cone machine for an icy, on-theme dessert.

Get the look:
Invitations: Minted Two Cool Children’s Birthday Party Invitations, $35 for 10 invitation cards, Minted.com; Outfit: Double Joy Designs Two Cool Birthday2 Shirt, starting from $20, Etsy.com; Decorations: Two Cool Party Supplies, $17, Amazon.com; Accessories: Itsy Belle Two Cool 2nd Birthday Party Hat, $3 per hat, Zazzle.com

Two sweet birthday theme

Image: Zazzle, Mudpie, SweetAmyShopUS, Amazon

Celebrate your kid’s sweet nature with a confectionary-inspired birthday party. The “two sweet” birthday theme uses candy colors and playful accessories to create a scene Willy Wonka would be proud of. We’ve chosen to highlight a donut and sprinkle motif, but you can draw inspiration from your little one’s favorite treats (think: ice-cream, cookies or even watermelon!). Before the event send out personalized invitations with a photo of your kid in their sweetest look to date. Decorate the venue with a banner and streamers in shades of mint green, lavender purple and pastel pink. Confetti balloons also work well, as the colorful confetti looks like sprinkles! Dress your little one in a personalized birthday outfit or a sweet dress that they can wear again. Keep kids of all ages entertained with a cupcake-decorating station—simply plate up some freshly-iced cupcakes and a selection of toppings and sprinkles. Serve up custom cookies, popcorn cones and some healthy veggies and protein-based finger foods to avoid epic sugar-rushes among your little guests. A rainbow sprinkle birthday cake will be the cherry on top.

Get the look:
Invitations: Little Folk Printables Two Sweet Pastel Donut Birthday Party Photo Invitation, $3 per card, Zazzle.com; Outfit: Mudpie Smocked 2nd Birthday Dress, $38, Mudpie.com; Decorations: Sweet Amy Shop US 16" Two Sweet Rose Gold Letter Balloons, starting from $15, Etsy.com; Tableware: Juvale 144 Piece Donut Grow Up Party Supplies with Plates, $21, Amazon.com

Two fast birthday theme

Image: Zazzle, MadiMooshBoutique, Oriental Trading, Amazon

Ready, set, go! A “two fast” birthday party is the perfect choice for mini motor-heads. Go for car-themed decorations and red, white and black balloons. For a cheap and cheerful nod to the theme, buy a black table cloth and use small strips of white tape to create road markings on your very own race track. Dress your little one in a custom two fast outfit or a Lightning McQueen shirt. Serve up Oreos, stop-light jello and hot dogs with little wheels fashioned from olives. The crowning glory of this boisterous bash? A birthday cake decorated with a red race car topper. This 2-year-old birthday party theme is sure to be a roaring success.

Get the look:
Invitations: Zazzle Two Fast Birthday Party Red Race Car 2nd Birthday Invitation, $3 per card, Zazzle.com; Outfit: Madi Moosh Boutique Two Fast Birthday T-Shirt, starting from $15, Etsy.com; Decorations: Bessmoso Race Car Two Fast Party Decorations, $18, Amazon.com; Accessories: Oriental Trading Cars & Trucks Treat Boxes, $8, OrientalTraining.com

Two groovy birthday theme

Image: Zazzle, LetsGrowBoutique, CherCanDoIt, WillowAndCoByLulu

Here’s one more punny 2-year-old birthday theme for good measure: A “two groovy” party. Decorations in vintage hues—like burnt orange, mustard yellow and rose pink—will take center stage at this event. Add floral elements like daisy balloons and flower crowns for a boho touch. Dress your little hippie in laid-back attire or opt for adorable mommy-and-me matching shirts. Serve up healthy platters of veggie sticks and hummus alongside a tie-dye frosted cake. Good vibes guaranteed.

Get the look:
Invitations: Simple Ink DIY Two Groovy Invitation, $3 per card, Zazzle.com; Outfit: Lets Grow Boutique Two Groovy Shirt, $29, Etsy.com; Decorations: Cher Can Do It Groovy Birthday Balloon Garland, starting from $35, Etsy.com; Party Favors: WillowAndCoByLulu Two Groovy 2nd Birthday Party Personalized Sunglasses Party Favors, starting from $12, Etsy.com

Disney 2-year-old birthday themes

Disney-inspired 2-year-old birthday themes are always magical. While we couldn’t cover every classic film, here are three party ideas inspired by our kids’ favorite flicks.

Minnie or Mickey Mouse birthday theme

Image: Zazzle, stonehippoboutique, Walmart, Party City

Honor Disney’s roots with a Minnie and Mickey-themed birthday party for your 2-year-old. When it comes to decor, don’t fight the urge to go all out on the mouse motif. Balloons, party favors and decorations that fit the theme are all easy to find. Pick up a fun costume or dress your mini in a personalized T-shirt for the big occasion. Disney-inspired bites for a toddler’s second birthday are easier than you think: bow-tie pasta (a nod to Minnie’s love of bows), unpeeled oranges with slices of kiwi pinned in with a toothpick for ears and Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles. For the showstopper, get your hands on a simple sheet cake and decorate it with an edible sticker featuring Disney’s dynamic duo.

Get the look:
Invitations: Disney’s Mickey & Friends Mickey & Minnie Time to Party Photo Invitation, $3 per card, Zazzle.com; Outfit: Stone Hippo Boutique Mickey Mouse Birthday Toddler T-Shirt, starting from $14, Etsy.com; Decorations: Mickey Mouse Forever 13-Picture Photo Garland Kit, $10, PartyCity.com; Accessories: LA Wholesale Store Mickey Mouse Ears and Minnie Mouse Headband Party Favors, $17, Walmart.com

Encanto birthday theme

Image: InvitationwithLove, Disney, Oriental Trading, Party City

You’ll be seeing plenty of 2-year-old birthday themes inspired by the smash hit Encanto. Make it magical with an interactive e-invitation that gives guests a taste of what’s to come. Pick up some Encanto party supplies or get crafty with homemade streamers and balloons in turquoise blue, cerise pink and rich purple. Your little superstar can wear a look inspired by their favorite character, whether that be Mirabel, Antonio or Bruno (Shush!). Keep tots entertained with a movie-themed sing along and dance-off. Dish up some bite-size treats like empanadas with corn salad and chips and dips. Add a custom topper to their birthday cake to complete the look.

Get the look:
Invitations: Invitation with Love Encanto Video Invitation, $13, Etsy.com; Outfit: Disney Mirabel Costume for Kids Encanto, $50, Disney.com; Decorations: Encanto Birthday Party Kit for 8 Guests, $26, PartyCity.com; Balloons: Disney’s Encanto 12" Latex Balloons, $3 for a set of 6, OrientalTrading.com

Frozen birthday theme

Image: Shutterfly, Target, Michael's, Walmart

Is your kid a big Frozen fan? Follow the steps below to host the perfect Frozen-inspired second birthday party. First off, create a custom invitation with a picture of your little one (preferably a snap of them frolicking in the snow, but work with what you’ve got!). Next, source a costume of their favorite character from the film. Once you’ve picked an outfit, turn your attention to decorations. Plenty of online stores offer decorating kits; or, you could upcycle old Christmas decorations to create your very own winter wonderland. Complete the look with an icy blue and white balloon arch. For snacks, serve up a bowl of “ Olaf’s marshmallow snowballs,” snowflake cookies and a plate of “Sven’s carrots” with an assortment of dips.

Get the look:
Invitations: Disney Frozen Anna & Elsa Birthday Invitation, $3 per invitation, Shutterfly.com; Outfit: Frozen Frozen 2 Elsa Classic Toddler/Child Costume, $48, Target.com; Decorations: Disney Frozen Party 7pc Decorating Kit, $10, Michaels.com; Balloons: Aousthop Elegant Snowflake Balloon Garland Arch Kit, $20, Walmart.com

Whimsical 2-Year-Old Birthday Themes

Of course, a second birthday party doesn’t have to focus on a certain character or funny play on words. Why not go old-school with a whimsical 2-year-old birthday theme? From a barnyard bash to an ocean-inspired event, here are three of our favorite party ideas for toddlers.

Summer camp birthday theme

Image: Target, ShirtsBySarah, Oriental Trading, Walmart

Searching for summer-ready 2-year-old birthday party ideas? Head outdoors and host a camp-inspired celebration. Draft a guest list and invite attendees to visit summer camp for the afternoon. Next pick up some tees: Parents and helpers can wear “camp counselor” shirts, while the birthday boy or girl can rock a custom happy camper T-shirt. On the day, set up a trestle table in your backyard (or local green space) and add a checkered tablecloth. Use log-slice cake stands and homespun decorations, like lanterns and brown paper bunting, to create a rustic vibe that stays true to the theme. A summer barbecue makes it easy to grill and chill for toddlers and adults. Hamburgers, hot dogs and cauliflower wings for the vegetarians are crowd pleasers for all ages. Of course, no camping trip would be complete without s’mores, so set up a DIY station with all the ingredients and assign an adult to warm them up on the grill or fire pit. Wash all the tasty treats down with gallons of ice-cold lemonade—simply delicious.

Get the look:
Invitations: Big Dot of Happiness Happy Camper Fill In Camping Birthday Party Invitations, $12 for 8 invitations, Target.com; Outfit: Shirts by Sarah Kids Personalized Birthday Shirt, $32, Etsy.com; Decorations: Kreatwow Camping Happy Birthday Decorations, $25, Walmart.com; Accessories: Oriental Trading Personalized Camp Party Yard Sign, $20, OrientalTrading.com

Vintage tea-party birthday theme

Image: SavetheDatePrintable, MeadowsMarvels, Meri Meri

Toddlers love to imitate adults, which is why an afternoon-tea 2-year-old birthday theme proves to be such a success. The best part? A toddler tea party is relatively inexpensive and super-easy to set up. Send vintage-style invitations and allow attendees to bring a plus-one in the form of their favorite doll or stuffed animal. Encourage guests to wear their fanciest attire and dress your little one in a pretty party dress. Set the scene with a low table surrounded by cushions to sit on. Decorate with a floral tablecloth, doilies and strings of faux pearls. Skip the fancy china in favor of plastic tea cups and child-friendly paper tableware (Meri Meri has tons of cute options). Serve up delicate sandwiches and macaroons on tiered cake stands, and pour juice or pink lemonade from a teapot. Keep party-goers entertained with your kid’s dress-up box, and let them blow off some steam with a cake-themed piñata.

Get the look:
Invitations: Save the Date Printable Tea for Two Birthday Invitations, starting from $3, Etsy.com; Outfit: Meadow Marvels Tea for Two Birthday Dress, starting from $18, Etsy.com; Decorations: Meri Meri English Garden Party Bundle, $60, MeriMeri.com; Accessories: Meri Meri Cake Pinata, $40, MeriMeri.com

Farmyard birthday theme

Image: Walmart, PartyAlleyApparel, Meri Meri, LemonLimeLagoon

Yeehaw! If you’ve got a country boy or girl in the house—a farmyard theme is the way to go. The first step to pulling off this epic 2-year-old birthday theme? Hunt down a farm-tastic invitation featuring your kiddo’s favorite animals. On the big day dress your little one in comfy overalls layered over a barn animal birthday shirt. Among your second birthday party supplies, you’ll want these animal head visors (an easy way for kids to dress up) and critter centerpieces, each with a barnyard adorned with the number two. Add a few gingham tablecloths, and you’ll be ready to go. Get creative and brainstorm fun, farm-inspired birthday food. Our top picks include: “Bales of hay” (Rice Krispie treats), pigs (in a blanket), deviled eggs in a DIY chicken coop (chicken nuggets work well here too) and a big veggie platter, which can serve as farm produce. If you want to get a little more whimsical, you can also slice fruit using animal-shaped cookie cutters. (The bigger, the better—watermelon and pineapple work great here.) Classic games like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and musical chairs (set against a soundtrack of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”) are perfect for a barnyard bash—but if you want to splurge, you could even have a petting zoo company set up camp.

Get the look:
Invitations: Big Dot of Happiness 2nd Birthday Farm Animals Shaped Fill-in Invites, $16 for 12 invitations, Walmart.com; Outfit: Party Alley Apparel Oink Bah Moo I’m Two Shirt, starting from $21, Etsy.com; Decorations: Meri Meri On The Farm Party Bundle, $67, MeriMeri.com; Party favors: Lemon Lime Lagoon Farm Blowouts, $5, Etsy.com

Under the sea birthday theme

Image: Zazzle, Meri Meri, HashtagCutouts, KitchenDoor

Dive into the deep blue sea for an unforgettable second birthday party. Whether your 2-year-old is obsessed with sharks, mermaids or other aquatic creatures, this theme will go down a storm. Go all in on this whimsical theme and dress your toddler as their favorite sea creature. Decorate with streamers, balloons and real seashells, if possible. Add pops of color to the blue and green color scheme with cut-out red crabs and yellow starfish. For nibbles, serve up goldfish crackers, beach-inspired cookies and fish sticks (smoked salmon is great for the grown-ups). For an extra-special touch create a “coral reef” platter by arranging an assortment of vegetables around a dipping sauce centerpiece. Pick up a blue-frosted cake and complete the look with an ocean-inspired cake topper.

Get the look:
Invitations: Whirlibird Express Under The Sea Invitation for 2nd Birthday, $3 per invitation, Zazzle.com; Outfit: Meri Meri Shark Costume, $75, MeriMeri.com; Decorations: Hashtag Cutouts Under The Sea Party Decorations, $80, Etsy.com; Accessories: Kitchen Door Under The Sea Banner and Party Backdrop, starting from $12, Etsy.com

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