Birthday Parties for 2 Year Olds

Parent Q&A

2-year old birthday venue Sep 10, 2019 (14 responses below)
  • 2-year old birthday venue

    (14 replies)

    hi parents,

    I’m starting to think about my son’s second birthday (early January).  Our house is not big enough to host, and I’m thinking it will need to be inside since January. I could do an Airbnb and make activities, but wondering if there are good options for really young toddlers where a decent amount of adults could attend and only a few kids. He really loves animals, but the zoo birthday seems a little pricey for only a few kids. 

    Any other ideas?


    RE: 2-year old birthday venue ()

    Hi Mhward! We faced the same dilemma with my son's 2 year-old birthday last winter. I read a suggestion to rent a room at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists on BPN. We ended up renting the Connie Barbour room at BFUU and it was perfect! The room has big windows on each side, a kitchen, and is a large room for hanging out. We hosted around 30 people, about 20 adults and 10 kids, and just had pizza and donuts and music. It was also much more affordable than other room rental options-$45/an hour. They also have a playground outside (it was raining during our party). It wouldn't work for animals, though. Good luck with the party planning!

    RE: 2-year old birthday venue ()

    We just went to Little Farm for a birthday for my son's classmate.

    Open park, farm animals, small play structure, and free!

    Grab a couple picnic tables and bring some food. Also, bring celery and lettuce to feed the animals.

    RE: 2-year old birthday venue ()

    Jungle Gym is a fun place in Concord I think they are located in the new Veranda mall. Lots of cool things you can do although he won't remember. :)

  • Hi all!

    Any suggestions on the best places to have a 2 year old birthday party in the late afternoon, in May? I know a lot of great, outdoor spots but most are only available on reserve. I think I’m too late in the game for that since my daughter’s birthday is in less than a month. Any suggestions on less well-known spots that could be fun? Thanks!!

    Not outdoors but check out Habitot.  Had my 2 year old's birthday there last year and it was a blast. 

    The Rec Room on Adeline in Berkeley

Archived Q&A and Reviews


2yr old Birthday Party Venues

Sept 2009

We're looking for an affordable venue for a 2nd Birthday party. We will have 8 little ones and about 20 or so adults. The B-day is in November, so something with an indoor option is needed, other than that we are open to ideas. Hoping to find something in Berkeley or Albany, but anything in the East Bay is cool. Many thanks BPN members! lori

If you want a great place for a party for a 2 year old, Habitot in downtown Berkeley is very popular with that age group. Kendra

A really inexpensive facility is the parent center in Pt. Richmond. There are tons of toys, an indoor and outdoor space and it is only about $75. for a few hours. A secret bargain! go to

Hi! We have birthday parties at the Berkeley YMCA. We have kindergym parties (perfect for 2 year olds) and splash parties as well. Parties serve up to 20 children and include one hour in the kindergym or pool followed by time in a party room. We supply the table settings and ice water, and a party host. All you need to worry about is the food. Please feel free to contact me directly for details at 665-3238 or email below. Or look on our website to see about specific openings through our online registration. Eden

Trolley for son's 2nd birthday

March 2006

I'm planning my son's 2nd birthday party and would like to charter a trolley. due to the number of people invited, i plan to have it at a local park in alameda. ideally i would have liked to rent a ride-on train that the kids could ride on, but i haven't found one company that does this in the bay area. if you know of one, please let me know! so as an alternative, i thought i'd rent a trolley and take the kids for a ride. the problem i've encountered with renting a trolley is that all of the places i have called charter for a minimum of 3 hours (at a pretty hefty price). since my son, and all his buddies, are only 2, i really only need a trolley for about an hour. i figure it could pick the kids up and take them into town and back, about a half hour ride. i don't think they could handle any longer. does anyone know of a trolley company that charters by the hour or does anyone have any other recommendations to make his train/trolley party really fun? OR if anyone has a homemade train or something like it, can i rent it from you?! nicole

Don't know if you would consider changing the location of your party, but I think I saw a trolley one day at the park area at Lake Merritt outside Fairlyland. May be owned by Fairyland. Might give them a call for more info. Good luck. anon

The Golden Gate Railroad Museum in SF used to provide rides on their steam engine for children's birthdays, but unfortunately, they are not currently open to visitors. There is the Tilden Steam Train, and AMTRAC or BART of course (any ride great for kids of course), but there aren't any opportunities for riding trains in the Bay Area that I've found either. With my train- obsessed son, I've noted that he's never been much impressed with riding or seeing real steam trains (Skunk Train, the one at the California State Railroad Museum, even the Thomas Steam Engine at Roaring Camp). But he loves the steam engine at Tilden, trips in real trains with the family, his play trains and track, and all books about trains. IOW, you may find that your son may not be much interested in, even a little scared, of a big sized moving machine, like a trolley. Your liability concerns are extreme also, with other small children. Your son should be really happy if all the kids just got to wear engineeer hats and eat birthday cake with a train on it - even if he was much older, 4 or 5.

Activities for 2-year-old birthday party

Aug 2005

We are getting ready to have a birthday party for our two year old son. We are having it at our house. Hopefully we'll have good weather and we can all hang out in the back yard with the play houses, slide, little pool, etc... We have invited about 6 kids from 20 months to three years, all kids he knows and has played with. We're having the festivities from 11-2 so as to somewhat preserve nap time. We are planning little, kid friendly foods like raisin boxes, goldfish crackers, cheese pizza squares, fruit, etc.. I don't think we should do formal present opening since I think they're all too young to sit and attend to that but we do have goodie bags for the birthday boy and guests. I'd love for those who have been there to comment on the above. In addition, what kind of activities, if any can I plan. Should I just let them free play for 3 hours or plan simple elective activities like dance time, follow directions (everybody touch your nose, moo like a cow, etc...), playdough time, musical instruments with music, etc... I'd love any feedback regarding any ideas. S.W.

I would say no organized activities, and give goody bags as the guest arrive. Have the goody bags, play-doh, stickers, pens, paper, chalk, water squirt bottles available, and then allow free play and have enough supplies to let the guests take some home. My daughter is four and her parties have been fun unstructured time with her best friends. We just went to a super-structured birthday party (dance time, story time, treasure hunt time) and the kids were polite but they seemed bored, and you can't even expect two year olds to be polite. LC

We just had a 2 year old birthday party in a park. The two hits were:
- spraybottles with water in it (adjust them so they make mist)
- a popup firetruck (to walk in), a tent or a tunnel would h! ave done the same job
If you want to have a moment where they all do something together, just play ''Ring around the rosie'' or ''Hokey pokey'' or such. My daughter enjoyed the long afternoon of party well into the evening. One expection was the moment where everyone's attention suddenly centered on her: the cake and candles. Have fun, Julia

What works best for 2nd birthday parties?

March 2004

As my daughter's 2nd birthday approaches, I'm wondering what kinds of parties people have found most fun for kids and adults at this age. Most of the 1st birthdays we went to were large, fun, chaotic parties with lots of kids, lot of adults, lots to eat and drink,and little by way of structure. Does this work with a group of 2 year olds too, or do they have more fun when the party is organized around some simple activities? If so, what kinds of things have people found most successful with a gaggle of toddlers? How about ideal size? thanks. Katie

2nd Birthday parties can be so much fun. I found that at this age, the children are mostly happy to just be able to play.

We went to Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda for my daughter's 2nd Birthday. It was wonderful: the kids could run and play (in a safe and confined space), and it was a bit different from their normal activies.

For slightly older children, however, more structurec activities can also be wonderful. As part of my What's Cooking business, I teach cooking classes for children. This is popular for birthday parties, too.

Visit my website for more information:

Happy Birthday! Michelle

When our older daughter turned two, I made a ton of homemade playdough in different colors, some with sparkles. Then I had a huge low coffee table covered in butcher paper and laid out the play-dough with a lot of kitchen utensils (garlic press, pastry trimmers, etc) and many plastic cookie cutters. The kids had a great time. The adults sat around and shmoozed. There was cake and presents. Done! When our 2nd daughter turned two, we had a big inflatable wading pool (it was a hot day) and lots of bubble-making implements. The kids got wet and splashed, the parents sat around and shmoozed. Cake and presents. Done! Keep it Simple

For our daughter's 2nd I made cupcakes, and then gave each of the kids (we kept is small-ish, about 7 kids total) a plain cupcake and an individual bowl of whipped cream (seemed healthier than the usual frosting), and placed several bowls of sprinkles on the table. Frosting their own cupcakes kept the kids occupied for a long time, and they were very excited about it! Paper table cloth and plates made the clean-up easy. Parents ate simple brunch food, coffee and mimosas, stood around chatting, ready to help little hands when needed - but really, the kids were very motivated to be self-sufficient with this activity! I highly recommend it. believer in low-stress b-day parties

We just celebrated my son's second birthday. I really wanted to keep things simple in order to avoid inflating birthday party expectations too early and it make things easier on myself (I'm 8 months pregnant).

We had 6 kids over plus the family members that are in the area. We didn't have any structured games, just free play time inside and outside. We had very kid-friendly food (peanut butter sandwiches, cheese, crackers, juice boxes) and the obligatory birthday cake. We actually asked for no presents (we really don't need any more trucks around here), so opening presents wasn't a part of the party.

My son and his guests had a terrific time! In fact, my son keeps asking to have his friends over again for another birthday party. And the format kept the stress level, expense, and clean- up to a minimum. You'll have plenty of time for fancy birthday parties later, when your kid starts asking for one! Keep it simple!

My son turned 2 in feb and we just wanted something very small (not because big is bad just because it would be easier.) We still ended up having 6 kids (mostly around 2 yrs.) Plus a mom and dad for each child. So in the end this small party was fairly big, but I enjoyed it and so did my son and the other kids I think mainly because it was casual. A piniata (pull string, not bash style -filled with little rubber balls, little cars, other trinket toys but somewaht durable- and gave the kids little gift bags to collect the toys in) and the cake cutting were the only formal activities, and I also got a ton of play dough (cheap and very fun), and some extra bouncy balls (like 1$ each at longs). We opened the presents without fanfare one here and there, and even had some of the other kids open the presents as my son really didn't care much. I actually wanted no gifts, but decided to request something used or a toy/book they had laying around the house they no longer use, because everyone seemed to brush off the no gift rule and I didn't want someone to be embarressed that they were the one that actually listened to my request. We scheduled our party for 11am, to avoid nap issues, but if I could do it again I think I would have scheduled it for late afternoon say 3 or 4. Anyway that was our experience I think you need to think about what kind of party you are up for giving: small and intimate or large, and if you want small invite no more than 6 families because mine seemed big with that many. (Don't count on some not coming, I invited 6 and everyone came).Good luck, you'll have a blast.

The large, chaotic parties you describe for 1-year-olds will also work fine for 2-year-olds, but a 2-year-old may have some ideas of her own for a party theme or activities, which you should incorporate if you can. Don't try the classic party games that involve lots of rules, turn-taking, or winners and losers (e.g., pin-the-something-on-the-something), but 1- to 6- year-olds will enjoy arts/crafts activities (younger kids can scribble while older ones create more elaborate works of art) and semi-structured games like hunting for ''prizes'' you scatter around your yard (just make sure you let the smaller kids start before any older ones, and that there are more than enough prizes to go around). One or two such activites, plus plenty of ''free play'' time, plus cake and presents, will make for a very satisfying party.

The size of the party is really up to you, though of course you have to take into account the size of your home (or other party location). If the idea of a horde of 2-year-olds running around your house scares you, limit the party to 3 or 4 kids and their parents. But if you're a ''the more the merrier'' type, invite everyone you know with a child between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Only you know which type you and your daughter would enjoy more. Have fun! Holly

Rainy day birthday party for 2yo

Nov. 2002

Hello, My son is turning 2 the 23rd of this month and I wanted to make him a little party. My husband and I had thought about doing it in a park. Something simple: wine, cheese and bread for the adults; healthy cake, juice and fruit for the kids. But the rain is almost here and I don't think the park is a good idea anymore. I would love to have it in the house but we ran out of money with the remodeling and we don't have dinning room or living room furniture yet! Could you give me some guidance please? Anonymous

Our son turned 2 in May, and we decided to have a small party at our very small house, planning to set up an inflatable pool outside (one of his bday presents). Believe it or not, it POURED down torrential rain all day!! This possibility had never even crossed our minds at the end of May! Thankfully, we had only invited one other kid (also 2), and several adult friends, so we could all fit comfortably inside. We decided on only one kid guest for several reasons: A) our house is tiny, B) we are on a tight budget, C) the options were to either invite every single kid in his daycare (which most of the other parents do who have outdoor parties) or only 1 non-daycare friend, and D) we realized that, at 2, he really didn't understand the whole birthday party thing yet (even tho he'd been to several big ones and enjoyed them), but at 3 he would understand it much better and therefore this would be the last year we'd be able to ''get away with'' having a 1-kid party. Well, in spite of the rain and the small guest list, he had the time of his life! What really made it special for him, I think, was that we decorated the house and made a really big deal of the whole thing. My husband took him out in the morning while I put up streamers and ballons and set the table (Blue's Clues theme), and when my husband brought him back we all made a big fuss over all the exciting decorations, and how it was his Blue's Clues birthday party, and told him all the people who were coming over, and I think the fact that it was in our house also made it special because he obviously sees our house every day, but on that day the house was transformed! We actually took about a week to remove (gradually) all the decorations, and every morning he'd wake up and get excited all over again when he'd see a remnant of a streamer from the party! He talked about it for months, and he could not have had a better time if we'd had 15 kids and rented out an amusement park. Another nice thing was that the emphasis was not on presents, because there weren't all that many. And because he had only one little friend over, they really got to play together and just have fun being with each other. I have no regrets--I know I'll have to get more creative (and spend more money) next year, so I am really glad that we did what we did this year. Honestly, at 2, what's important to them is that the day seems special and exciting, and that doesn't have to mean a lot of people or a big budget. Plus, you will enjoy yourself more if you are not stressed out planning a big to-do. Save your stress and money for next year, and savor the pure fun of the day this year! anonymous

We had my daughter's 1 year birthday at Wee Play on lower Solano ... Ave in Albany, which was excellent! We set up the front area for adults...with food and drinks....and 9 children played happily in the play area. The adults took turns playing with the children while others ate and chatted. In fact, the party must have looked fun because folks just passing by stopped to ask what was going on and wanted to join in! Amy

Actually, your house with its empty dining room and living room sound absolutely great for a rainy day party. The best parties I've been to have been in vast, empty rooms. Borrow or rent folding tables & chairs if you need to for a little seating, but most people stand during parties anyway, and all that elbow room would be really great, especially for active, pent-up kids.

Low-key entertainment for 2nd birthday?

Feb. 2000

Does anyone have suggestions for a clown or other low key entertainment for several kids for a two year old's birthday party?

It was my impression that kids this young get pretty overwhelmed when you try to entertain them at a party. The thing my daughter and her day-care cronies loved at her 3-year-party was simply the songs we sang. Why not just whip out a guitar, pass out the cupcakes, and sing lots of favorite songs? Do the hokey-pokey, that sort of thing. Save the clowns for five year olds. Good luck!