According to the PBS Child Development Tracker, 2-year-olds are curious about the world around them, and they use their limbs and motion to learn by trial-and-error methods. At this time, children -- both male and female -- like to play pretend, incorporating elements of their lives into their imaginative play. Children at this age also enjoy looking at words and pictures in books, though they cannot yet read. When planning a birthday party for a 2-year-old boy, consider these elements of the child's development as you decide on a theme.
At this stage of development, your 2-year-old boy probably enjoys being read to and looking at the pictures in the books that are read to him. Though boys develop verbal skills very slowly, most 2-year-olds can correctly identify pictures of cats or dogs or people. Use your 2-year-old's favorite books to design a theme for his birthday party. If he enjoys the Clifford series, hang red streamers and pictures of Clifford the big red dog around your house. Decorate his cake with images of Clifford, or ask a baker to do so for you. Consider asking friends with dogs to bring their dogs to the birthday party, or take your child to a shelter to play with dogs.
Draw on Imaginative Play
At this stage in his development, your 2-year-old probably has toys or imaginative games that he often plays with. Observe your son's imaginative play with an eye for his favorite toys and themes. If he often plays with a school bus toy, for example, design your party around the theme of the yellow school bus. If your 2-year-old loves Elmo, purchase an Elmo balloon that sings "Happy Birthday" and an Elmo cake. If your child likes to pretend that he is a prince, design your party according to royalty and castles; ask your guests to dress in royal costumes, and buy a prince crown for the birthday boy.
Use Play Skills
At this age, boys are exploring their range of motion and generally enjoy using their hands to mold clay or turn doorknobs. They also begin exploring objects and enjoy throwing balls back and forth, even if their throws are not yet strong. A birthday party for a 2-year-old boy, thus, might carry a sports theme. Purchase or make a cake decorated with different kinds of balls, and allow your child and his guests to play with balls in the backyard or driveway.
Music and Dance
A 2-year-old boy is unlikely to show any affinity for "The Nutcracker" or for ballet, but it is at this age that boys begin testing their rhythm and noise skills by doing simple dances, playing finger games and banging on drums. Buying real drums for a toddler is not advisable since those drums are likely to get broken, but allow the children at your birthday party to play with toy drums or even to play "music" on pots or pans with a wooden spoon.
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