Birthday Blocks

Birthday Blocks (1)

It can be hard to plan games for kids to play at a birthday party for a one- or two-year-old. At this age, kids are still engaging in “parallel play,” so you’re not going to have great luck corraling them into organized games of Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Simon Says. Instead, foster their enjoyment and let them socialize side-by-side with this cute idea, care of 365 Toddler Activities That Inspire Creativity.

Before the party, wrap any building blocks you have around the house in wrapping paper. I used alphabet blocks,leaving the alphabet face of each block uncovered, to encourage the children’s curiosity about what was hidden underneath the paper. If you prefer, you can wrap the blocks completely.

Birthday Blocks (2)

Kids can either build with the wrapped block or – more likely! – will want to tear the wrapping paper open and discover the blocks inside; this way everyone gets to tear open a “gift” at the party! Whichever way they play with them, the kids are sure to have fun.

Dump Cake

Dump Cake (8)

We had a construction truck theme for Travis’s second birthday. When I stumbled across this recipe, I thought: what better name for a construction party cake than a “Dump” Cake?

It turns out the name has nothing to do with dumps or construction sites, but rather with the fact that all of the ingredients are simply dumped into a baking pan, no mixing or measuring required. That means your toddler can literally make it him or herself! It was a doubly-perfect recipe for his second birthday cake.

Dump Cake (1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans sliced peaches in juice (such as Native Forest)
  • 1 box vegan yellow cake mix
  • 12 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  1. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish, and have your child dump in the peaches, including the juice.
  2. Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the fruit. (Adults: you can step in and make sure the mix is sprinkled evenly, if your child is concentrating things in one corner).
  3. Add 12 tablespoons of butter, spaced evenly over the top. (Again, adults may need to do a little “clean up”).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour – the cake should be bubbly.

Dump Cake (2)

You can also prepare a version using 1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple and 4 cups cherry pie filling. Native Forest’s canned pineapple is vegan, but I needed to step in with a tiny bit of prep for a homemade cherry pie filling, meaning Travis didn’t quite make the second version all by himself… but close enough!

Dump Cake (7)

He was so proud when the moment came to blow out two candles, and tell relatives he had made the cake his “whole self.”

Dump Cake (9)