A sports theme knocks a 2-year-old's party out of the park with a combination of athletic decorations and sports-related games. If the entire guest list falls in the toddler range, you'll want simple games that keep the whole group involved. Short games that match the short attention span of toddlers work best to avoid wandering or whining party guests.
A toddler-friendly obstacle course gets the kids moving to fit the athletic theme of the party. An obstacle course works at many different locations as long as you have enough space for the 2-year-olds to move around without colliding. If you have the party at a park, set up an obstacle course that goes up and down the slide, weaves through the swings and loops around the basketball court. At home in your backyard, set up your own obstacles such as a sawhorse the toddlers climb under, a kiddie pool to wade through and a pile of cushions to scale.
Several active party games fit into the sports theme and keep the toddlers entertained. To make classic party games such as Simon Says and Follow the Leader fit the theme, add a sports twist to them. For example, during Follow the Leader, pretend to swing a baseball bat or toss a ball. If you have enough adult supervision, you can set up different sports game stations such as ring toss or a basketball shooting contest with a toddler-height hoop. The young party guests can play the games that appeal to them with the help of adults at each station.
Even toddlers understand the concept of a race. For 2-year-old children, a simple race is best. If you add too many complicated elements, they'll forget what to do or get frustrated. If you don't want to simply run from point A to point B, add a few simple challenges. For example, turn it into a relay race in which players take turns running across the yard, tossing a ball in a large basket and running back to the starting line. Another option is to incorporate a sports element while they race. You might have the toddlers hit a plastic golf ball with a kid-sized golf club as they race. Ribbons for all young participants when they cross the finish line makes this activity more enjoyable for everyone.
Games that incorporate sports elements often mean you need a large play area. If you're short on space at your 2-year-old's party, add the sports theme without the large sports movements such as running or throwing. One example is to print small pictures of different sports equipment. Hide the pictures around the party room and let the toddlers find and collect as many of the pictures as possible. For toddlers who enjoy playing dress-up, a collection of sports-themed costumes is an option to keep them entertained quietly. Another option is to read a short kids' book related to sports. If the kids get restless, have them act out the story while you read.