Your tiny tornado is saying “tata” to two, and it’s time to party! Third birthdays are so fun because your child at this point truly understands what a birthday is, and that everyone there is celebrating them. Now all you have to do is pick a theme and get to planning. 

Any character or theme your little one loves is fair game, but we’ve assembled some favorites in case you’re stuck. Whichever direction you go from sea creatures to dinosaurs and sweets to the seventies, just make sure you keep the decorations and treats in their favorite colors—and always add lots of balloons.  

Three is really an easy age to “wow” them; just keep the decor cute and the sweets abundant and you’ll have a happy pack of 3-year-olds making memories (and noise!). These are some of our favorite 3-year-old birthday party ideas! 

Young, Wild, and Three

Young Wild and Three third birthday party theme

Photo: Kara’s Party Ideas

What we love about this wording is it can apply to whatever makes your little one “wild.” This execution is on the boho side, but you can also take “Young, Wild, and Three” to the jungle or turn it into a colorful dance party. 

Tea for Three Birthday Party

"Tea for three" tea party-themed third birthday party

Photo: The Pink Dream

A charming little tea party is easy to pull off and the stuff little girls’ dreams are made of. Highlight any of her favorite colors, and you can use mismatched vintage linens and cups from the thrift store if you’d like the “real thing” without risking damage to Grandma’s stuff. 

A Three-Ring Circus Third Birthday Theme

Three-ring circus-themed third birthday party

Photo: Party Lovin

Circus-theme birthdays can be simple or complex; the important elements are tickets for entry, pockets of popcorn, and bright colors as far as the eye can see.

Yippee! I’m Three Birthday Party

 "Yippee I'm three" third birthday party theme

Photo: Instagram/whatmomslove

Pull together all their favorite things right now (from unicorns to bugs) with an open-ended party theme that’ll be just as fun to plan as it is to attend.

“Three-I-E-I-O” Third Birthday Party

"Three-I-E-I-O" farm-themed third birthday party 

Photo: Momo Party

Fun on the farm is the name of the game with this classic children’s birthday party theme.

Three-Rex Third Birthday Party

 Three-rex dinosaur-themed third birthday party

Photo: Glamfetti

Whether your little dino-lover is a girl or a boy, a three-rex soiree decorated in their favorite hues will be a hit with all their friends.

“Under the Three” Third Birthday Theme

"Under the three" ocean-themed third birthday party 

Photo: The Mama Notes 

From mermaids and narwhals to great white sharks, combine your tot’s favorite ocean creatures with shells and sand for a sensational sea-themed party they’ll adore. Pro Tip: Use clear balloons in small clusters as “bubbles” and twist green streamers to emulate seaweed.

Sesame Street Third Birthday Party

Sesame Street-themed third birthday party 

Photo: Kara’s Party Ideas

The beloved gang from this classic show will charm your mini muppet and all their buddies. For added fun, create fruit plates that look like their favorite characters, using cut-up bananas for Big Bird, red berries for Elmo, and so on.

Top 3 Princesses Birthday Party

Princess-themed third birthday party cookies 

Photo: Inspiralized

If your mini royalty can’t narrow it down to just one, a three-princess soiree is even better! Princess parties are easy to pull off with readily available decor in every color palette from pastel to brights. 

Threenager Third Birthday Party

 Threenager-themed third birthday party balloons and decor

Photo: Etsy/SimpliOre

It’s another open-ended theme that can highlight what they’re like at three. If you’re celebrating a sassy little fashion-lover, highlight that with all their favorite things. If your threenager is car- or sports-obsessed, that works, too. The “threenager” party can also just be very old school; primary colors, balloons, music and dancing, and a simple cake. Voila!

Third Down Third Birthday Party

Third down football-themed third birthday party food spread

Photo: House of Hargrove

A football party is perfect for your tyke who can’t get enough of the all-American sport. Serve concession-style food and decorate in neutral brown and green—or add the colors from their favorite team.

Three Cheers Cheerleading Birthday Party 

 "Three cheers" cheerleader-themed third birthday party cake topper

Photo: Etsy/InnoCreativeCo

Ready? Let’s go! If your sporty 3-year-old is a lover of Cheer, you’ll need pom-poms everywhere, and a cute little uniform to wear. Consider skewing this theme classic Americana with vintage photographs of cheerleaders from around the country—it’ll turn out so cool.

Beauty & the THREEst Third Birthday

Beauty and the Beast-themed third birthday party cupcakes and centerpiece

Photo: Mommy of a Princess

If you’re searching for a Disney theme, this classic tale has lovely colors and even more fabulous characters. Stacks of books, red roses, and—of course—mini-baguettes make it feel festive and fun.

Pirate’s Life for Three Third Birthday Party

Pirate-themed third birthday party cake, cupcakes, and desserts 

Photo: Kara’s Party Ideas 

Your little matey and all their booty-loving pals will treasure a pirate-themed third birthday party.

This Little Fairy Is Three Third Birthday

Fairy-themed third birthday party decorations and treats 

Photo: The House of Hood Blog

Fairies are such a pretty party theme for a 3-year-old, bringing magic and whimsy to life before their very eyes. Scour vintage and thrift stores for tiny ceramic houses and other objects that will decorate your cake table, like shown here.  

1, 2, 3 Strikes You’re Out Birthday Party

Baseball-themed third birthday party decor

Photo: Bower Power Blog

Your little slugger will have so much fun celebrating the love of the game – and another trip around the sun—with this easy-to-execute, sporty party.

Lucky Number Three Birthday Party

Lucky charm-themed third birthday party decorations

Photo: Inspired by This

Rainbows, clovers, little pennies, and all the good luck things come together in this adorably unique party plan. Don’t forget the glitter!

“Three-Ow” Kitten Theme Party 

 Cat-themed third birthday party dessert table and decorations

Photo: Project Nursery

Any cat-loving cutie would enjoy a kitten themed third birthday. Go monochrome or pick out their favorite pastels and remember: You can never have too many cat items on display. Meow!

Easy as 1, 2, 3 Third Birthday Party

70s-themed third birthday party confetti

Photo: Etsy/HandcraftedParties

…Or “Let It Three.” A 1960s or ‘70s party is the coolest way to celebrate your groovy little buddy. From VW vans to peace signs, and daisies to vintage toys, skew it any direction they’ll love and just make sure to match the scene with music from the era. 

"Three Spirit" Third Birthday Party

Ghost-themed third birthday party invitation

Photo: Etsy/PixelPerfectionParty

You don’t need a Halloween birthday to plan a ghostly gala! Have spooktacular fun any time of year when your “three spirit" celebrates with their besties. Add the option of coming in costume to make it extra-special. 

Three Little Butterflies Third Birthday

Butterfly-themed third birthday party decorations 

Photo: Fun365

To be clear, a “Three Little __” party can incorporate just about anything, from puppies to crayons. But a butterfly soiree is one of those themes that combines whimsy and nature beautifully, while being easy to plan and assemble.

3, 2, 1, GO! Third Birthday Theme

Race car-themed third birthday party balloons and decorations

Photo: Thoughtfully Simple

Black, white, and cool all over, a race car-themed party is the perfect way to celebrate your little three with a need for speed.

Fancy & Three Third Birthday Party

Fashion-show-themed third birthday party favors and decor 

Photo: The Chickabug Blog

A dress-up and makeover party will delight your fashionista and friends. Consider buying cheap accessories, like sunnies, hats, and necklaces, so the guests can go home dripping in them as favors.

“Land of the Three” Third Birthday Theme

Land of the Three patriotic-themed third birthday party dessert table 

Photo: Kara’s Party Ideas

Especially apt for a summer birthday, a patriotic themed party could really make your little firecracker light up with delight!

More Party-Planning Ideas:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.