Chicago's Best Birthday Party Ideas

How to Celebrate Turning 1, 2, 3 and 4

smarty pants birthday party ideas!

The older your royal highness gets, the more birthday party demands he’ll have. Make peace in the kingdom from the get-go with these ideas.

Turning 1
He’s not on a Buzz, Dora, or Superman kick yet. Seize the chance to send cartoon character-free invitations ($24 and up) from Pixie Chicago. The clean, colorful designs (animals, sailboats, rocking horses) will remind everyone what a sweet and innocent year it is.

Turning 2
Now that he’s moved beyond purees and puffs, order a cake befitting of his gourmet appetite. Deerfields Bakery, with three suburban locations, specializes in custom orders (get one of his masterpiece drawings replicated) and whips up mini desserts in the shapes of dragons and zoo creatures.

Turning 3
Things are getting chaotic, so take the celebration out of the house and into Andersonville’s Swedish American Museum. The third-level classroom can be rented for parties (three-hour rental, $150-$200) and connects to the children’s museum portion of the building, where tykes can pretend to milk a cow and play in a recreated, century-old farmhouse and Viking ship.

Turning 4
You really want to wow him. Smarty Pants can help. The showman travels with his wife, Miss Dena, to entertain kids with interactive comedy, magic, and giant balloons. After each show ($399-$899), there’s face painting and balloon twisting. We love that party guests walk away with cool wearables, like balloon backpacks and hats, instead of the usual poodles and swords.

Remember: You’ve made it another year — and that’s a crowning achievement.

swimsuits!We’re not done yet. Check out more kids’ birthday party invites, decor, and ideas.

this week in chicago!

Little Beans Cafe Kids Yoga
Little posers (strong walkers and up) learn about animals, nature, and basic anatomy through interactive games, stories, and movement.
Why: You need om in your home.
When: June 1-22. Wed., 4:15 p.m.
Where: 1809 W. Webster Ave., at N. Wood St. (773-251-1025). Register online at littlebeanscafe.com. Single class, $15; four-week session, $60.

Michael’s Museum: a Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures
Curator Michael Horvich reveals his personal collection of miniature toys, trinkets, and dollhouse accessories at the new permanent exhibit.
Why: Use magnifiers and rulers to learn about size and proportion.
When: Fri.-Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Where: Chicago Children’s Museum, Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., at Lake Shore Dr. (312-527-1000). Museum admission is free on Thurs. after 5 p.m. (reg. $12).

The popular Roscoe Village maternity boutique opens its second location in Lincoln Park.
Why: New brands like Séraphine and Queen Mum clothing and Koochu diaper bags.
When: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 2120 N. Halsted St., at Webster Ave. (773-525-2120).

Photo: Courtesy of Smarty Pants

2120 N Halsted St
@ Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
Deerfields Bakery - Schaumburg
25 S Roselle Rd
@ Schaumburg Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60193
Deerfields Bakery
813 N Waukegan Rd
@ Deerfield Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015
Deerfields Bakery
201 N Buffalo Grove Rd
@ Old Checker Rd
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
1809 W Webster Ave
@ N Wood St
Chicago, IL 60614
5211 N Clark St
@ Foster Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
700 E Grand Ave
@ the Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611