Development Family

How To Celebrate Your 2 Year Old’s Birthday Without A Party

A birthday means a party, right?

Well not necessarily, because while many parents do like to throw their child a birthday party, it’s definitely not something you have to do.

The ultimate decision should come down to what you want to do, no what other people might be expecting.

If you are set on the idea of not throwing your two year old a party this year, rest assured there are still plenty of fun ways you can celebrate the occasion with them.

In this post we’ve taken a look at 10 great ideas, many of which will appeal to not only your little one, but to mom and dad too!

Do I Have To Throw My Child A Birthday Party?

Society sometimes makes us believe the only way to celebrate a child’s birthday is by throwing a big party with party games, cake, goodie bags, lots of other kids, an entertainer…you get the picture.

But this simply isn’t the case!

The truth is that moms and dads should never feel obligated to throw a birthday party for a young child, and you shouldn’t feel as though hosting a party is something you absolutely must do.

Some parents prefer to throw a large party and invite friends, family and other kids from daycare, with the total numbers quickly racking up into the 20s or 30s.

Others prefer a smaller, more intimate celebration with just their immediate family.

And there are others still who would rather keep things even more low-key, and celebrate without a “party”.

Out of the three scenarios above, there is no “right” or “wrong” decision or way to celebrate, because the ultimate decision should always come down to what you and your family want.

And if you yourself are thinking of going with the low-key route this year, we’ve got plenty of great ideas for you!

Ten No-Party Birthday Ideas For A 2 Year Old

Birthdays don’t always have to mean parties, so to prove the point here are 10 fabulous ideas on how to celebrate a second birthday without a party.

1. Decorate Your House

Just because you are not throwing a regular birthday party doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t make your home look amazing!

Mom and Dad Celebrating their Child's Birthday at Home

Putting up some colorful balloons, eye-catching streamers and other fun decorations will go a long way to making your toddler feel special on their big day.

And as an added bonus they will also look lovely in any photos you might take or if you have any close friends and family over to celebrate.

If you want to go down this route, you could take inspiration from the girl’s and boy’s decoration sets below.

YSHMFEUX Two Sweet Birthday Party Supplies Decorations ($29.99, Amazon)

Refasy Birthday Decorations for Boys, Construction Party Supplies for 2nd Birthday (17.99, Amazon)

2. Family Day Out

A really beautiful and memorable way to celebrate a birthday in the first few years is by going on a family outing together.

This is what my husband and I did when celebrating our daughter’s first birthdays and I can tell you it was a lovely day all round.

When deciding where to take your child on their second birthday there are hundreds of options.

Some fun examples or activities include visiting a zoo or aquarium, going shopping, visiting a theme park or water park, enjoying some nice food together, hitting the beach or going to a beautiful park.

3. Go On A Picnic

This one is weather dependant but if your baby’s birthday falls at the right time of year and you have some beautiful spots nearby, why not consider a picnic?

The setup will vary in difficulty depending on whether you pre-prepare the food in advance or buy things on your way there, and also on whether your chosen location has things like picnic tables or BBQ grills.

Family Having a Picnic

A picnic is a great option for any parents on a budget, and if you’ve got an active toddler on your hands then abundance of open space in which to tire them out will surely come in handy!

Top tip – a fantastic activity here could be to set up a birthday scavenger hunt, where you can hide small little treats like chocolate, candy or even their birthday present.

4. Go For Breakfast

In our household, many times the least stressful time to go out with our two year old was in the morning, before they got tired and before any tantrums might begin.

So make the most of this time of the day by hitting your favorite breakfast joint and letting someone else prepare delicious dishes like waffles, pancakes, eggs and muffins that all the family can enjoy.

After breakfast, if your schedule allows you could then always take in some of the activities from our list.

5. Play Date

If your home is big enough, then a lovely second birthday activity for your son or daughter could be to host a play date for your child and their friends.

Two toddlers playing together at home

If you do decide to host anyone at home, then you may want to consider decorating your house and baking a cake (see below).

Although the further you go, the more it will begin to resemble a party, which I know is the very thing you are trying to avoid.

6. Soft Play Or Indoor Playground

If your two year old is anything like my daughter was at that age, there’s a good chance they love a trip to the local soft play center.

As with many of the ideas on our list, this activity is versatile, so you can either do it just with mom, dad or baby, or you can go a bit further and invite a few other kids and their parents (for example any close friends that may also have kids).

The latter option is not quite a party, but perhaps a good compromise if you are torn between throwing your little one a traditional party and wanting to do something more low-key.

7. Visit A Toy Store

A super cute way to celebrate your child turning two is to take them to a toy store and let them pick out something that catches their eye.

Their face will probably light up when you tell them they can choose whatever they want (within reason), and the great thing about this activity is you can incorporate it into the family day mentioned above.

8. Bake (Or Buy) A Beautiful Cake

Just because you aren’t throwing a party doesn’t mean cake is off the menu!

You might be tempted to make one yourself, but given baking can be difficult and stressful, there’s absolutely no shame in ordering a cake from a bakery instead.

Close-up of Sliced Cake

Even though I love baking, in the past I’ve done just that and have ordered beautiful and elaborate cakes for my child’s birthdays and never felt guilty for doing so.

Either way, a gorgeous cake will look fantastic in any photos you end up taking, and your little one will no doubt love it when you sing Happy Birthday and help them blow out the candles.

9. Staycation

Why not find yourself a toddler-friendly hotel and celebrate your child’s second birthday in a little style by going on a mini-break with your family.

Family Having Fun In The Park

It’s safe to assume your child will have a great time, and we’ll hazard a guess that mom and dad won’t say no to a night or two away either.

Some popular options include a city break, escaping to a warmer part of the country for a few days of sun, or heading off for a countryside getaway.

10. Vacation

Lastly, if you are looking for an even more extravagant and extra special second birthday activity, we think we’ve got just the thing – a family vacation!

With all those developmental leaps and other challenges like starting daycare and dealing with potty training, it’s fair to assume the past year has had its ups and downs.

So if budget allows why not really treat yourselves and get away from it all for a few days.

Can you think of a better way to celebrate your little angel turning two!


There are dozens of reasons why you might not want to organize a traditional party to celebrate your child’s second birthday, including the cost and stress that comes with throwing a party (both for you and also your child), and the fact they won’t remember it when they’re older.

As we’ve shown above, thankfully there are a lot of fun 2 year old birthday ideas that do not require a party.

And while they vary in cost, they do tend to have one awesome thing in common, which is the ability to spend quality time with your toddler – something which usually isn’t possible at a big birthday party.

How’s that for the cherry on top!

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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