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My oldest daughter’s birthday is in October, which happens to be a great month for an outdoor party here in Texas. My youngest daughter was born in August of this year, just two months prior, so I was looking for a fun yet simple way to celebrate my oldest’s 2nd birthday. Of course, we could have had it at our house like her first birthday, but with a 2-month-old at home, I was trying to avoid the crazy prep and cleanup that comes along with a house party.
I started thinking about her favorite things to do, and one of her favorite things to do is play at the park. We have a wonderful little park down the street from us that we love. There are some tables and a covered pavilion, so I thought it would be a perfect spot for her party.
And it was! We had our close friends and family there, and everyone had a blast. The best part of it all – it was so simple! Easy planning, easy setup, and easy cleanup!
Here are 10 steps to an easy, fun, and memorable 2nd birthday party at the park:
Party in the Park
1. Find a park of choice and reserve a pavilion (if possible). This was easy for us because we knew we wanted to have it at the one in our neighborhood.
2. Create an invitation list and collect e-mail addresses. When you have a party at the park, you don’t really have to worry about space and the number of people. There is plenty of room for everyone.
3. Send the invitation by e-mail. You can either create your own or order one online from a website like Etsy. (Edit: Here is the cute invitation I purchased for our daughter’s third birthday party at the park.) You can usually get it back electronically fairly quickly. Send the invitation by e-mail to save time and save money on printing and stamps. Your guests can simply reply back whether or not they will be able to come.
4. Visit the park and develop a plan for decorations and seating. The park had plenty of seating with eight small tables with benches under a pavilion along with some park benches around the play area. We did not need to bring any additional tables or chairs… Yay! There were two trash cans nearby, and we planned on bringing an extra trash bag. Because we weren’t able to reserve the pavilion and because I wanted to keep it super simple, I decided not to use tablecloths in case there were others who wanted to use the tables at the same time.
5. Order balloons ahead of time. This was the only decoration we had. We ordered five balloons a few days before the party, and they were ready to go the day of the party without us having to wait. Super easy.
6. Pick up plates, plastic ware, and napkins. We picked these up at the same place where we ordered the balloons.
7. Develop a menu and prepare food. We ordered pizzas the morning of the party and had them delivered to the park. This was great because we didn’t have to worry about keeping prepared food warm or sandwiches cool. We made cupcakes the day before and refrigerated them and then made icing and iced the cupcakes the morning of the party. We purchased bottled water, soft drinks, and juice boxes from the grocery store and had them iced down in a cooler.
The only thing I would change for next time would be the ice cream we brought. We brought individual Blue Bell ice cream cups, cups, and cute paper straws and planned to serve Root Beer and Coke floats. However, the ice cream melted in the ice so it didn’t really work out. Nobody seemed to mind though because the pizza and cupcakes provided plenty of food for everyone.
8. Arrive 20 minutes early to the park. We arrived a little early to set up the balloons, plates, plastic ware, and napkins.
9. Party time! The pizza was delivered 15 minutes after the party started. We brought a Wiffle Bat and Ball set, a soccer ball, and a football in case anyone wanted to play. She got a Cozy Coupe as a gift, and she had a blast riding that around the park. Some of the older kids brought their scooters and bikes and rode around on the sidewalks. We thought about bringing a cornhole set for the adults and our bubble machine for the little ones, but we figured there was plenty to do. After pizza, we enjoyed cupcakes and opened gifts. There was plenty of shaded seating for everyone. For party favors, we gave the kids a container of Play-Doh. There were a couple of families who came to the park while we were there… We offered them pizza, cupcakes, and drinks, and they didn’t seem to mind our taking over the pavilion for that hour and a half.
10. Clean up. We used the trash cans that were at the park along with the trash bag we brought with us. We loaded up the leftover food and drinks and packed the gifts, and we were on our way back home to enjoy the rest of the day.
Everyone had a great time, and it really was so simple.
P.S. Here is the adorable 2nd birthday outfit I bought on Etsy for our daughter to wear during the party. We also bought the matching little sister outfit for our newborn. So cute!
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