My son’s birthday and my summer birthday party ideas
Hygge is always a good choice
Celebrating someone’s birthday is a great time to slow down and enjoy yourself with your close ones for a bit. After such hectic few months I stood in the garden preparing refreshing party finger food and reminded myself (soaked in sunshine) that I have to do this more often.
Are you preparing a toddler summer birthday celebration? Here are some summer birthday party ideas that I tried this year for my son’s second birthday!
Second birthday, FIRST to actually enjoy!
Last year I made a great effort to prepare a party for my little boy. Obviously he was only 12 months old and couldn’t even tell the difference between a regular gathering and a special day all about him. Despite my efforts the highlight of the day was probably the candle on his cake. That of course was only until he decided he desperately wanted to touch it ha!
This year, however was special and fun. My little one is such bright boy and although I didn’t get to wrap any of his presents (which I looove btw! I particularly love to pick one of the rustic wrapping ideas with yuta string and pieces of florals and seal wax and handmade paper and fabrics uuu!) we still had a great time with birthday party bits here and there! Quite frankly – try shopping for birthday presents WITH THE CHILD and then don’t give them to him…. I mean – so ‘ain’t gonna happen’! I basically gave him every present right after the purchase, what a joy over several days! The last thing he actually got from me on the day was his cake!
I invited several mommy friends to come join us in my parent’s garden. You know how it is – after you have children you keep planning to see all these friends who also have kids now, until you just never see each other! So I combined the two and voila! – what a wonderful day! Plus the garden… it is a real sanctuary. You can just sit there staring and it will feel like tine beautifully spent! It’s like this perfect compensation for being nowhere near a sandy beach or even coast of some kind.
One of the presents my boy got from his grandparents was a retro style wooden swing and a little blue pool to play in. They immediately set both up so we had two great spots ideal for our little guests! We also prepared wood for the bonfire because what is a HYGGE-inspired gathering without a fire or candlelight!
Snacks and treats
All gatherings we ever hold in my parents’ house usually entail big preparations. There is a variety of dishes to choose from, tap beer and even live music. I made the celebration much more simple, mainly because we had this very big celebration on my dad’s birthday a week earlier. And also because I’ve learned not to overdo it when it comes to food when the weather is hot. And I was right! Here are my simple tips for preparing a toddler garden birthday party:
- Watermelon! – It’s a must. On a hot summer day there is nothing more refreshing than a chilled juicy watermelon. I did a little research on how to pick a best one and this is a well summed up advice on how to pick the best: “A heavy watermelon with a splotch on its belly and a hollow sound means it is brimming with juice and at the peak of its ripeness.” Great! I did that and it was delicious!
- Kids-friendly birthday cake – to be fair I am not a huge fan of cakes with layers of sugary unnatural colour icing and tons of cream on otherwise dry corpus. These are the common wedding cakes here that not many people end up finishing because they’re just too rich. I prefer something like a coffee flavour or a moist carrot cake style dough. But this was a kiddy party so I picked a simple cake with fresh fruits (for decoration and a layer of bananas), low-sugar muffin-style butter dough and cream cheese whipped with some icing sugar. We had kids from 6 months to 2 years so the cake was very convenient!
- Nibbles and finger food for grown up guests – I prepared two kinds of antipasto skewers: one with a watermelon, parma ham and grapes. The second lot was with halloumi cheese, black olives, cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves.
- Bonfire and grilling sausages and cheese – to actually eat I prepared homemade sausages for grilling and two kinds of marinated cheese for my vegetarian friends. With this came a homemade salad and fresh baguettes.
- Treats for kids – because the party was very much about kids, I prepared glass jars filled with baby biscuits, a small baskets with 100% fruit pouches suitable for babies from 6 months, and some organic corn crackers that the little ones love to nibble. These definitely went down very well ha! The second
- Drinks – when I host a party there usually are all kinds of beer or wine. This time, however the dads were driving and the mums breastfeeding so although there was some wine and alcoholic beer ready, I mostly stuffed the fridge with non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic grapefruit and lemon cider, coke, lemonade and local fruit juices. I also prepared several jars of chilled water with fresh mint and lemon slices. Lastly, I do love my coffee so I had that too – for easier prep the 3in1 Café Latté sachets which are so simple but still a great quality. They were delicious!
- Decorations and supplies – the party decoration was very simple but decent! I got some balloons, number 2 candle in blue for the cake, some candles for the table decoration, glass jars for kiddy treats, decorated skewers with kiddy theme, paper plates and cups (so easy to clean up both skewers and paper dishes since there was a bonfire ha!), napkins with a watercolour pattern and a bunch of wide colorful straws. To be very honest the things got pulled off the table almost immediately as the kids started playing, eating and running around so I counted on that in my preparation! I didn’t overdo it with the precision and also used paper things that can’t break and kids can easily throw then in the bonfire after use.
- Activities and music – Okay, onto the entertainment! My friends are so easy going and they didn’t let me down yet again! Just the atmosphere of the garden was enough to move into the relaxed mood. The day was sunny, we had a handful to do around the kids and we chatted away nibbling and preparing more food. I expected the girls wanting to lay down on the grass with their crawling 6 months olds so there was a washed old large square sleeping bag ready for that. The bonfire was entertaining as well and as I mentioned earlier my parents prepared two little ‘stations’ for kids to play, one with a pool and toys, second was the swing hanging off an old walnut tree. I even had my two absolute favourite garden games ready too – French pétanque and a set of badminton rackets. Loooove to play!! But we chatted so much we didn’t even get to those! Also, thinking back I may have forgotten to hit replay on my salsa YouTube playlist once the garden got busy oops! I often use Bossa Nova Café music tracks or some calm HYGGE music playlist, all easily found on YouTube and simply played on a smartphone in the background!
It was a must-repeat!
We really enjoyed the time. I try to make my boy part of the preparations so he enjoys the process as well. And after it’s the fun play time when I remind myself what a sweet boy he is and how much friendships matter. What are your useful tips for a kiddy birthday party?