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3rd Birthday Party Ideas


3rd birthday party ideas, timeline, theme, games for three year olds


Great party ideas to use in planning a 3rd birthday!

All of our favorite third birthday party ideas for 3 year olds are on one page which makes it easy to pick and choose what ideas will be best for your child, guests and budget.  

You'll find easy ideas for:
* Party games
* Birthday activities
* Themes
* Party Food

And many other great ideas and tips for planning the perfect 3rd birthday.  





Party Tips and Planning
for 3rd birthday parties

Planning the party
While you are planning the party keep a list ready to write down several things that guests or family can help you with during the party.   When they ask how they can help you at the party just pull out the list and tell them to choose what they want to do.  Having these areas covered during the party will be a big help - and will allow you to enjoy the party too. 
1 or 2 adults that can take pictures of the action. 


cut and serve the cake after the pictures have been taken.

Ice Cream
dip ice cream into dishes while the cake is being cut.

a few adults who can take over and explain the games to the kids and supervise during game time.

Arts and Crafts
someone to watch over the activity or art tables and make sure the kids have the supplies they need and offer advice or help when needed.

write down who gifts are from - great help when writing thank you notes! 
Melt Down Zone
someone that can gently remove a child who is cranky or being mean until they can return to the party. 

3rd birthday party supplies at Amazon

3rd Birthday Party Timeline


Change this party time line to suit your schedule.  
This is based on a party from 2 - 3:30 p.m.

2:00 - Guests begin to arrive.  Set up activity tables or have an ice breaker game that you can play with the kids while waiting for everyone to show up.  Some easy activities for tables are coloring, play dough or blocks.

2:15 - Party Game time.   Have 3 or 4 party games ready to play (see list below) and have a few adults walk the kids through the rules and demonstrate.   Always have a few extra games ready then you think you will need just in case they move quicker then you planned and you need to fill some time.   Don't rush through the games if the kids are having fun.  It's okay to only play 2 games if they kids are really enjoying themselves.    

2:40 - Activity time.   Let the 3 year olds paint, finger paint, color, play with blocks, etc.  You could also make decorating a cupcake or cookie an activity.  This is also a good time for entertainment such as a clown, sign-a-long or petting zoo. 

3:00 - Presents - Let the birthday child open their presents or they can do this during activity time.

3:10 - Cake, ice cream and singing Happy Birthday!

3:30 - Party end.  Give guests a goody bag filled with party favors and thank them for coming!

Add 30 minutes to the party if you will be serving brunch, lunch or dinner.   With an afternoon party you don't have to serve a meal - just provide snacks that the kids can munch on during the party.

Party Games for 3 year olds

Mystery Fishing Game
This is a great game that 3 year olds love to play!  Before the party you will need to buy small toys or candy for the "fish" to attach to the fishing pole.  Make sure to have enough for the kids to play over and over.  

You'll need a fishing pole made from a bamboo stick, yarn and a clothespin attached at the end of the pole.    You will also need a place for the "fish" to hide while they attach the prizes onto the fishing poles.   Use a large decorated appliance box, a blue sheet thrown over a card table or a blue table cloth or sheet hung between walls of a hallway.     

Kids will throw their line over into the water and the "fish" attach a prize to their line. 

Treasure Hunting Game
You will need large plastic eggs, party favors, balls, etc. for this treasure hunt game.   The eggs don't need to be filled with candy ... the game is in finding the objects.    Hide the treasure around the party area before your guests arrive.   When it is time for the treasure hunt give the children a small sack to hold the treasure.   Show them an example of what they will be searching for and then show them how to find the objects.   When all the treasure has been found you can have them return the items to a basket and then hide them again.   Extra ... after the games divide the treasure hunt items equally and send them home as party favors.  

Freeze or Statue Dancing
Play some fast music and have everyone dance.   Then when they hear the music stop they must freeze.  Then when you start the music again they can start dancing.  Variation:  Make a CD of different types of music (about 20 seconds for each type) and let the kids change how they dance to the different styles of music.   Have an adult dance with them so they can grasp the concept of changing with the music. 

2, 3 and 4 year old Party games - for more games see our 2, 3 and 4 year old party games  .

Birthday Party Activities for 3 year olds


Sidewalk Chalk
Set out several buckets of sidewalk chalk and let the party guests draw whatever they want.  Or give them some direction using our Sidewalk chalk guide with over 30 things to do with sidewalk chalk. 

Activity Stations

Set up Activity stations where the kids can play with play dough, crayons and washable markers or blocks.  Cover the tables with newspaper or butcher paper for easy cleanup. 

Let the kids try to blow bubbles or have an adult blow bubbles for them to try and pop and run through.   See our easy homemade recipes for bubble solution and our guide to bubble games for more fun ideas! 

Decorate Cupcakes
Give each child a cupcake to frost and decorate.  Fill a small bowl with icing and edible decorations and let them create their own cupcake masterpiece.

Fun Ideas for a 3 year olds party


For the three year old party group your party decorations in 3's.   Bunch 3 helium balloons together around the room, place large "3's around the party table, use tissue paper to make a large "3" for the front door.  

Set up a table with different colored permanent markers and an 8 x 10 picture matte.   Ask adult guests to write a birthday wish and sign their name.   Parents can help the smaller children write their names or make a mark on the picture matte.  After the party use the matte to frame an 8 x 10 birthday photo. 

Birthday Party Themes for a 3 year old


Bubbles Party

Circus Birthday Theme

Art Birthday Party Theme

Big Bird Party Ideas

Bumblebee Party

Mickey Mouse Party Ideas

Candy Land Birthday Theme

Cat in the Hat Party

Curious George Party

Elmo Birthday Party

Old MacDonald Party

Sesame Street Birthday Ideas


All of our theme pages are filled with free ideas for theme party games, activities, decorations, invitations, party favors, goody bags, party food and much more!   We have over 200  birthday party themes to choose from - all filled with great birthday party ideas for 3 year olds for your next party. 

Party Food ideas for the 3rd birthday

Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter from bread, cheese, sandwich meats or hamburger patties to make a fun sandwich that fits in with your theme.  For example use a Mickey Mouse ears cookie cutter for a Mickey Mouse birthday party.  You can also cut shapes out of bar cookies and brownies - and even make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Snack foods such as goldfish crackers, animal crackers or pretzels.

Cut fruits and veggies into small pieces and serve with a fruit and yogurt dip.

Individual ice cream cups, cotton candy, cookies.

Macaroni and cheese in individual cups.

Juice boxes or milk boxes work well and won't spill easily.

Party Favor Ideas for 3 year olds

Bottles of bubbles
Tube of play dough and a cookie cutter
Story book - even better if you can find them to match your party theme
Party theme toys
Crayons and a coloring book
Treasure items if you play the Treasure Hunt game

If you have some advice or a lesson you learned that would help other parents when they are planning a 3rd birthday party please email us!  We always like to share tips and advice from the experts - you!

Toddler Party Ideas


Birthday Party Ideas for Kids:
















Truth or Dare

Sidewalk Chalk

Water Balloons


Backyard Games

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