Your toddler is turning four, and if they didn’t have an opinion about their party before, they certainly do now! For me, this was always the age where they started to seem like more of a kid than a baby.
For a 4-year-old birthday party, you can go all-family or invite some of their little preschool or daycare friends. Just keep in mind that parents will likely want to stay, so plan accordingly with food and space. While having a couple of activities or stations does take some planning, it will take the pressure off of you to entertain a group of kids hopped up on sugar.
Make their birthday extra sweet and memorable by choosing a theme they’ll be over the moon about. If you’re on a budget or party decorating isn’t your thing, plenty of these can be thrown together without a lot of time, money, or skill. Here are our favorite themes for celebrating your baby turning four!
Related: Best Toys & Gifts for 4 Year Old Boys (a VERY picky 2021 list)
1. Farmer’s market party
I love the idea of a farmer’s market theme, especially for 4-year-olds, who can so easily become engrossed in imaginative play. Let every child decorate their own reusable grocery bag, and set up a market with crates of real or fake food. Kids can fill up their bags and check out using fake money. Have tons of fresh fruits and veggies as snacks, and cookies and cake with produce-inspired decorations.
2. Fairy party
Make this magical party theme come to life indoors or out in the backyard. Decorate with fairy lights, butterflies, flowers, and light pink. You can get really creative with a menu inspired by fairies and the forest (if that’s your thing). For an activity, the kids can make a fairy wand, fairy garden, paint a fairy house, or play fairy party games. You can find inexpensive fairy wings online for party favors.
3. Gemstone party
Around this age, both of my older kids went through a phase of being very interested in learning about and collecting gemstones and minerals. The main focus of the party can be a gem mining activity, which you can create yourself or purchase kits for. The dessert menu can be gem-inspired with rock candy, geode cookies, Gold Mine bubble gum, and Pop Rocks. Kids can take home a small bag of gems and a gem guide.
4. Finger painting party
This is a really fun idea for a group of kids, especially if you’re able to host the party outside. Each child can get a personalized art smock and make their way to individual easels or folding tables covered in craft paper. Provide plenty of different paint colors, a few ideas to get them started, and let them go to town. Bright and colorful decorations, snacks, and desserts will bring everything together.
5. Build-a-fort party
There’s no denying it, kids absolutely love building and playing in forts. With this age group, you are going to have to help with the construction phase. Fort building supplies include plenty of blankets and sheets, chairs, a table or two, clamps, clothespins, clothesline, and duct tape. You can also choose to go with a premade fort situation like indoor tents and teepees. Make it extra fun with giant pillows, lights, snacks, and activities.
6. Stay wild, moon child
If you genuinely enjoy party planning and decorating, you have to check out this dreamy moon-inspired birthday party over at Kara’s Party Ideas. I love the pink, purple, and blue color scheme, gold stars, lush flower centerpieces, and moon decor. If you’re up for it, this whimsical boho party theme would certainly make it a day to remember.
7. Trolls party
Those crazy, colorful trolls will provide you with a lot of material, from music to decorations to activities. You can get as wild as you want to, with glitter, felt, pompoms, rainbows, and balloons. Provide fun accessories like costume jewelry, flower hair clips, sequin headbands, and boas. For activities, have a dance party to the Trolls soundtrack, make rainbow bead necklaces, or use temporary spray-on hair color.
8. Bounce house party
A party at your local bounce house has one main perk: you don’t have to host. The bounce house will provide a party room and may have food add-ons, and you can let the kids go wild in a location that is not your home. This is usually, generally speaking, a pretty affordable option. Many bounce house party places also have trampolines, rock walls, games, or slides. Alternatively, you can rent a bounce house for your backyard.
Related: Best Toys & Gifts for 4 Year Old Girls (a VERY picky 2021 list)
9. Candy birthday party
Give the kids what they want with a party inspired entirely by sugary sweets. For this one, you can choose the Candyland or sweets shop route. Either way, the main feature is a dessert table with tons of colorful candy in different shaped bowls and jars. Bright balloons, swirly lollipops, cupcake towers, candy stripes, and large confetti will make it picture-perfect. Just make sure you’re prepared for the sugar high!
10. Pete the cat
There’s something about that groovy cat that kids just love, and he has so many adventures that you can take your party in plenty of different directions. Pete eats a bad banana, has white shoes, plays his guitar, makes sandwiches, and has four groovy buttons. Pick your child’s favorite book or episode for inspiration. For a party favor, send home that book for each kid to enjoy.
11. Sloth party
Have you ever seen a 4-year-old get ready for school in the morning? Sloths are funny, slow, and make a silly party theme. Invite party guests to “come hang” for the afternoon with a sloth pinata and decorations, tree branches and leaves to mimic the rainforest, and adorable sloth-inspired cookies or cake. As an activity, provide coloring pages and supplies to make a sloth mask.
12. Four-nado party
If you love wordplay and have a wild child on your hands, throw them a Four-nado birthday party. Decorate with lightning bolts, storm clouds, and a tornado made out of streamers. Serve Bugles (tornadoes), cotton candy (storm clouds), Twizzlers (twisters), and a tornado-inspired cake. For an activity, you can do the tornado-in-a-bottle experiment.
13. Army and Camo theme
A lot of little boys (including mine) love to play with toy soldiers and pretend to be soldiers themselves. Decorate with black and as much camo as possible, and throw in some greenery, netting, and rustic decor. Load up on little toy soldiers in various sizes and have a dog tag and toy gun for each party guest.
14. Tutti frutti party
There are so many adorable party supplies out there for a party inspired by fresh tropical fruit, including tutti frutti party hats, plates, invitations, fruit balloons, and personalized shirts. Bring it all together with colorful balloons and garland, fruit salad, fruit pizza, and punch. This would be perfect in the summer as a pool party or with water balloons and a slip and slide.
15. Pj masks
If your 4-year-old can’t get enough of Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko, this is a perfect party to throw on a budget. Check out the DIY decor ideas and free printables over at Nikki Said What to get started. You’ll want a black, red, green, and blue color scheme, a PJ Masks backdrop, cityscapes, and masks. Instead of stressing over a cake, go with bright and bold red, green, and blue cupcakes with PJ Masks cupcake toppers.
16. Vintage car party
Transportation-themed parties are so popular for little boys and for good reason- they just love anything with wheels. But if you’re looking to switch it up a bit, consider going with a more understated, vintage birthday party. Get inspired by vintage model cars and gas pumps, old road signs and license plates, and take it from there!