Fun-Filled Birthday Ideas For 3 Year Olds: Themes, Games & More

Is your child’s third birthday sneaking up on you faster than you’d like? Planning a celebration for this milestone can seem daunting, but don’t worry! With so many creative themes and fun games to choose from, making it unforgettable is easier than you think.

From teddy bear picnics to bubble bashes, we’ve got many engaging ideas that are guaranteed to delight both boys and girls.

As a mother of three with over ten years of teaching experience in Milwaukee Public Schools, I understand the pressure of organizing the perfect birthday party. This article draws from my extensive background and personal experiences to offer practical advice and imaginative suggestions that will make your toddler’s big day truly special.

Don’t miss out—read on for inspiration-packed tips!

Key Takeaways

Creative Themes: Unique themes like Bookworm, Teddy Bear Picnic, and Bubble Bash provide exciting and memorable options for 3-year-old birthday parties.

Engaging Activities: Try activities such as water balloon games, treasure hunts, face painting fiestas, and toddler movie nights to keep young guests entertained.

Fun Games: Incorporate classic party games like piñata swings or a Little Athlete’s Birthday Bash with mini obstacle courses to engage toddlers physically.

Simple Decorations: Choose bright colors and DIY decorations that match the party theme. Craft tissue paper flowers or paint mason jars to add personalized touches.

Healthy Snacks: Offer kid-friendly treats such as butterfly-shaped sandwiches, fruit kabobs, cheese sticks, and mini herb pizzas. These make nutritious snacks appealing to toddlers.

Table of Contents

Imaginative Party Themes for a 3-Year-Old

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Throwing a party for a three-year-old can be so much fun! Explore these 3rd birthday party themes to make your child’s day extra special.

Celebrate with a Bookworm Party

Transform your child’s birthday into a magical Bookworm Party. Use the theme “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” or another favorite storybook. Decorate with bright colors and fun props from the book.

Host it at Twirl in Alameda or Ruby’s Tumbling, also in Alameda. These spots offer plenty of space for activities like storytelling and crafts.

Encourage kids to come dressed as their favorite characters or animals from books they love. Create reading corners with cozy pillows and stuffed animals where kids can dive into stories together.

Add a cookie decorating station with frosting and sprinkles inspired by book themes to make it sweet! Offer tiny gummy treats shaped like caterpillars too for added fun.

A little magic can take you a long way. — Roald Dahl

Enjoy a Teddy Bear Picnic

Bring your child and their favorite teddy bear to a picnic in Tilden Park, Kensington Park, or Kennedy Grove Regional Park. Lay out blankets and create cozy spots for the kids to sit with their teddy bears.

Pack finger foods like mini sandwiches, fruit slices, and cookies. Include tea cups filled with juice or milk for a special touch.

Plan fun activities like a nature walk where kids can explore the park’s beauty with their teddy bears by their side. Set up a small stage area for storytime featuring tales about friendly bears.

This gives everyone a chance to relax and enjoy some peaceful moments amidst all the excitement of the day.

Have Fun at a Bubble Bash

A Teddy Bear Picnic is great, but nothing beats the magic of a Bubble Bash. Kids love bubbles! Host this party at Albany YMCA or Habitot in Berkeley to ensure plenty of space for bubble fun.

Fill the venue with bubble machines that produce endless bubbles for hours of excitement.

Set up mini stations where kids can blow their own bubbles using different wands and tools. Have bubble competitions and see who can make the biggest one! Include colorful sugar cones topped with ice cream sundaes to delight little guests during snack time.

A Bubble Bash makes birthday parties unforgettable and joyous for three-year-olds as they grow up so fast!

Explore a Gardening Party

Kids love playing in the dirt and discovering nature. A gardening party is perfect for a fun, hands-on birthday celebration. Choose an outdoor venue like Tilden Park or Kensington Park.

These places offer plenty of space for little gardeners to explore.

Set up mini garden tool sets, seed packets, and sun hats as goodie bags. This theme not only entertains, but also educates toddlers about plants and nature. Decorate with bright flowers and colorful pots to create a cheerful atmosphere.

The kids will enjoy planting seeds and watering their tiny gardens while having a blast!

Kids will love a Cookie Craze Party! Set up stations with cookie cutters and decorating pens for hands-on fun. Each child can decorate their own cookie masterpiece. Provide aprons and chef hats to make them feel like real bakers.

Give out goodie bags filled with themed items like mini rolling pins or small jars of sprinkles. Include recipes so parents can keep the baking magic going at home.

The joy on their faces from creating something sweet is priceless.

Spruce up the party area with bright tablecloths and colorful balloons. Use large chocolate chip cookies as centerpieces. Your little guests will leave happy, holding bags of delicious treats they made themselves!

Create at a Little Picasso Party

Unleash your child’s creativity at a Little Picasso Party! With vibrant art projects and fun crafting activities, toddlers can explore their artistic side. Set up stations with paint, crayons, and clay where kids can create masterpieces.

Venues like MOCHA in Oakland or Albany YMCA offer great spaces for such creative parties.

Provide smocks to keep outfits clean, and supply plenty of paper for drawing and painting. You could even arrange a mini art gallery to display their works of art. Add themed decorations featuring iconic artists like Pablo Picasso or Frida Kahlo for extra flair.

Finish the party with an artsy cake designed like a painter’s palette!

Dress Up for a Mini Masquerade

Shift from painting to playing dress-up with a Mini Masquerade party! Let the kids don fun masks and colorful costumes. Set up a face-painting station where they can transform into their favorite characters.

Offer temporary tattoos for added excitement. Personalized aprons make great goodie bag gifts, perfect for keeping those tiny outfits clean during the festivities. Add mini magic trick kits for extra enchantment.

Dance at a Mini Disco Bash

Dance at a Mini Disco Bash turns toddlers into little disco stars. Set up a mini dance floor with colorful lights and play fun music. Kids can show off their dance moves and have a blast! Glow sticks add extra excitement.

Hand them out as party favors along with small toys to keep the fun going even after the party ends.

Play catchy tunes that everyone loves, like old favorites or TV show songs. Simple decorations such as streamers and balloons create a lively atmosphere without much effort. An adult DJ can help keep kids engaged by leading simple dances or games, while parents join in for added fun.

This sets the stage for Engaging Activities for Toddlers next!

Engaging Activities for Toddlers

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Young kids love to explore and play. Make their day special with delightful activities that keep them entertained!

Splash in a Water Balloon Wonderland

Kids love splashing with water balloons! Set up a Water Balloon Wonderland in your backyard or at the park. Use inexpensive balls, bubbles, and chalk to create different play zones.

Fill up colorful water balloons and place them in large tubs for easy access.

Organize games like a water balloon toss or a relay race where kids pass the balloon without breaking it. Totland and Merry-Go-Round in Tilden are great venue options that provide outdoor space ideal for these activities.

Make sure to have plenty of towels on hand for all the little splashers!

Go on a Treasure Hunt

Plan a pirate-themed treasure hunt for the kids. Hide small treasures like colorful candy or toy bugs around your yard or living room. Make simple maps with “X marks the spot” to guide them.

Venues like Tilden Park, Kensington Park, and Kennedy Grove Regional Park offer great spaces for outdoor treasure hunts.

Adventure awaits behind every tree!

You can also set up nature exploration activities. Equip each child with a magnifying glass to search for bugs and plants. This scavenger hunt will keep them engaged and excited!

Join a Face Painting Fiesta

Transform your child’s party with a face painting fiesta. Kids love getting their faces painted, and it adds extra fun to the celebration. Hire a professional painter or use easy-to-apply kits from party stores.

Pick designs inspired by popular characters like Elsa or favorite animals.

Face painting booths can also offer temporary tattoos for those who prefer them. Set up a colorful station with mirrors, so kids can admire their new looks. Consider adding face painting kits and temporary tattoos to goodie bags as thoughtful keepsakes from the day’s festivities.

Host a Toddler Movie Night

After face painting fun, settle the kids down for a cozy toddler movie night. Pick a short and simple movie suited for little ones. Classics like “Finding Nemo” or “Toy Story” work well.

Make it special with comfy seating—bean bags or pillows are great! Keep snacks on hand like popcorn, fruit slices, or soft cookies.

Ensure the room is dim but not too dark to avoid scaring them. Consider providing small blankets for extra comfort. This relaxed setting helps shy children feel included without pressure to interact constantly.

It’s an ideal end to an active party day.

Play Nature Detectives

After watching a fun movie, let the kids explore nature. Plan a delightful nature walk or bug hunt in your backyard or nearby park. Provide magnifying glasses for the little adventurers to inspect flowers, bugs, and leaves up close.

This activity makes them feel like real detectives investigating their surroundings.

Create goodie bags filled with magnifying glasses and nature-themed stickers as keepsakes for the tiny explorers. Encourage curiosity by asking questions about what they found during their exploration.

This game not only entertains, but also educates toddlers about the beauty of nature around them.

Learn at a Little Einsteins Science Party

Kids will have a blast at a Little Einsteins Science Party! Guests can explore science-themed activities like simple experiments and fun discovery stations. Host the party at the Lawrence Hall of Science for an engaging experience.

Children might learn about bubbles, magnetism, or even make their own slime!

Set up different activity tables with easy science experiments. Kids love making volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar or creating mini rockets using balloons. Provide lab coats and safety goggles to complete the scientist look.

This theme turns learning into a playful adventure!

Take on a Lil’ Ninja Warrior Challenge

After learning at a Little Einsteins Science Party, shift gears with a Lil’ Ninja Warrior Challenge. Set up an obstacle course that toddlers can tackle. Use soft mats and foam blocks for safety.

Include tunnels to crawl through and small ramps to climb.

Host this event at My Gym in Walnut Creek or Super Franks in Pleasanton. Both offer toddler-friendly setups perfect for little ninjas. Encourage them to balance on beams and hop over barriers.

Give out headbands as party favors to make it more exciting!

Mix it up at an Ice Cream Social

Set up an ice cream social to delight every child at the party. Offer a variety of flavors like chocolate and vanilla, and set up toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.

Provide an area where kids can decorate their cupcakes or cookies too! This will keep them busy and excited.

Create a relaxed atmosphere with colorful teacups for serving small portions of ice cream. Have extra napkins handy for spills. Parents can enjoy watching their little ones mix it up while having fun with different desserts options.

Next on the list is playing Nature Detectives—an adventure in your backyard!

Exciting Party Games for Toddlers

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Toddlers love to play and explore at parties. Fun games keep them entertained and active.

Mold and Play at a Play Dough Party

Kids love to mold and play at a play dough party. It’s a perfect way to keep them entertained and engaged. Set up crafting stations with different colors of play dough, cookie cutters, and rollers.

Add in some small toys for extra fun. The Albany YMCA offers great venues for such parties.

Crafting activities like these help boost creativity and fine motor skills in young children. Include goodies like mini rolling pins, molds, or shape cutters in the goodie bags for guests to take home.

MOCHA in Oakland provides similar spaces ideal for this theme too.

Enter a Candyland Party

Step into a Candyland party filled with sweet treats and bright colors! Decorate the space with oversized candy props, colorful balloons, and streamers. Serve an array of candies, cupcakes, cookies, and other sugary snacks that will delight every child.

Set up fun games like “Candyland Treasure Hunt” where kids search for hidden candies.

Include interactive stations such as a cookie decorating table or a mini cupcake bakery. Kids can create their own sweet masterpieces to enjoy later. Provide goodie bags filled with small toys and more candy for guests to take home.

The vibrant theme ensures an unforgettable celebration for your little one!

Swing at a Piñata Party

Kids love a piñata party. Hang a colorful piñata in the backyard. Fill it with small toys and candy for extra fun. Toddlers take turns swinging at the piñata until it bursts open.

Add outdoor games to keep toddlers engaged. Set up simple activities like bean bag toss or hopscotch nearby. Everyone will enjoy the excitement of swinging, breaking, and collecting treats from the piñata!

Meet Animals at a Petting Zoo Party

After having fun swinging at a piñata party, imagine the delight on your child’s face as they meet gentle animals up close. A petting zoo birthday invites toddlers to interact with friendly goats, sheep, and bunnies.

Consider popular spots like Children’s Fairyland for your venue. This Oakland gem offers an enchanting setting that’s perfect for little ones.

You can also try Super Franks in Pleasanton or Tilden Park and Kensington Park if you prefer outdoor venues. These locations provide ample space and ensure safety while kids explore.

Hosting a petting zoo party combines hands-on learning with pure joy, making it unforgettable for all guests!

Sip Tea at Tea Time with Teddy

Sip tea with Teddy for a delightful birthday party! Set up small tables with mini sandwiches, scones, and jam. Whipped cream adds a sweet touch. Invite children to bring their favorite teddy bears.

Decorate the area with soft blankets and pillows.

To make it funnier, include toy tea sets in goodie bags. Add mini tea spoons and cups too! This theme promotes sharing and pretend play among toddlers, creating lasting memories for everyone involved.

Compete in a Little Athlete’s Birthday Bash

Host a thrilling Little Athlete’s Birthday Bash for your toddler. Set up mini obstacle courses with hula hoops, cones, and tunnels in the backyard or at My Gym in Walnut Creek. Include activities like a small relay race and hopping on balance beams to keep the kids moving.

Choose exciting themes like Mini Olympics to make it more fun. Hand out simple medals or ribbons as party favors. Organize games such as sack races or three-legged races; these will delight the young participants while engaging parents too.

After all the excitement of sports activities, move on to ….

Camp out at a Happy Camper Party

Set up tents and sleeping bags for a Happy Camper Party in your backyard. Let the kids explore nature with activities like bug hunting and leaf collecting. Light up their night with mini camping flashlights, making this a memorable adventure.

Prepare simple outdoor cooking stations where little ones can help make s’mores. Add fun by using compasses to teach basic directions during a treasure hunt. Fill goodie bags with useful camping gear to take home, ensuring they remember this special tea party outdoors!

Shine at a Glow-tastic Birthday Bash

Glow-tastic birthday bashes are perfect for three-year-olds. Lights off, glow sticks on! Decorate the room with neon balloons and glow-in-the-dark stars. Use black lights to make everything pop.

Little ones will love dancing in their bright outfits at this unique party.

Provide fun activities like a glow-in-the-dark scavenger hunt or glowing bubble stations. Hand out glow sticks, bracelets, and small toys as goodie bag treats. Remember to capture those special moments with a camera that loves low light!

Tips for Party Decorations and Setup

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Choose bright colors and fun patterns. Craft simple decorations with your child’s favorite characters or themes.

Pick a Colorful Scheme

Bright colors can make a huge difference at your three-year-old’s birthday party. Pick bold and happy hues to match the theme. For instance, use green and yellow for a Gardening Party or blue and pink for a Bubble Bash.

Use banners, balloons, tablecloths, and even dress-up accessories in your chosen palette. This helps set the mood and keeps kids excited throughout the event. Plus, colorful schemes make photos look amazing! Venues like Twirl in Alameda or Ruby’s Tumbling also love bright decorations that bring energy to their spaces!

Craft DIY Decorations

Bright colors can make any theme stand out. Use them to craft DIY decorations that match your party’s vibe! Make banners with colored paper and string. Cut out fun shapes like butterflies or stars for a whimsical touch.

Get playful with items you already have at home. Create tissue paper flowers or paint mason jars to hold snacks. Decorate tables with these and add matching balloons for more flair.

These simple crafts save money while making the party look amazing!

Create a Safe Play Area

Creating DIY decorations adds a personal touch to any birthday party. Ensure the play area is safe for toddlers. Use soft mats or rugs to cushion falls and remove sharp objects from the space.

Separate active zones from quiet areas with furniture or partitions. Habitot in Berkeley and Totland are great examples of venues designed with safety in mind. Swiper-based dress-up parties can be fun but watch for tripping hazards like long costumes or loose accessories.

Provide shaded spots if setting up outside, particularly for summer celebrations involving outdoor activities. Keep emergency contacts handy and ensure adult supervision around water stations, bounce houses, or climbing structures.

Prepare for an Outdoor Party

Check the weather before heading to a park like Tilden, Kensington, or Kennedy Grove Regional Park. These venues are great for fun activities such as bubbles and treasure hunts. Make sure you have a plan in place in case it rains.

Set up covered areas with tents or large umbrellas to keep guests dry.

Ensure adult supervision at all times during the party. Designate clear play areas and use bright decorations to mark spaces where kids can roam safely. Plan activities that suit your theme but also adapt easily outdoors, such as nature walks or ball games.

Toddler-Friendly Food and Drink Ideas

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Serve colorful fruit skewers for a fun snack toddlers will love.

Serve Kid-Friendly Snacks

Fill plates with fruit and veggie platters. Slice apples, grapes, carrots, and cucumbers into bite-sized pieces. Make butterfly-shaped sandwiches using sunflower seed butter and jelly.

Arrange fruit kabobs for easy snacking.

Mini sandwiches are a hit at parties! Offer scones with jam and whipped cream too. Toddlers love simple treats like these. Keep the snacks colorful to appeal to little ones’ eyes!

Offer Healthy Treats

Set up a table with fresh fruit and veggie platters. Include mini herb and vegetable pizzas for variety. Choose fun shapes to make the fruits more appealing.

Cheese sticks and fruit kabobs are also great options. They’re easy to hold and eat, perfect for little hands! Offer these treats at venues like Albany YMCA or Habitot in Berkeley.

These snacks will keep kids happy and energized during the party without a sugar rush.

Gather Birthday Cake Inspirations

Choose bright and fun themes for your toddler’s birthday cake. Consider a colorful cupcake tower decorated with sprinkles. Add favorite characters from books or shows to make it extra special.

A cookie decorating party can also inspire the perfect cake. You could have cookies baked into a creative design on top of the cake itself. For an ice cream social, try a cake shaped like an ice cream cone or sundae!

Set up Beverage Stations

Set up a beverage station that matches the party theme. For a Bookworm Party, you can serve “bug juice” and fruity punches in colorful bottles. At a Mini Disco Bash, offer water in fun cups with glowing straws.

Ensure all drinks are easy for little hands to grab. Use small pitchers or dispensers, they can manage without spills. Keep hydration options simple and healthy by including water alongside fruit juices.

This way, toddlers stay happy and refreshed while having fun!

Ideas for Party Favors and Goodie Bags

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Send each child home with a fun keepsake from the party. Pick items that are age-appropriate and spark joy!

Choose Age-Appropriate Gifts

Pick gifts that suit the age and interests of 3-year-olds. Books make great presents, especially if they are colorful and filled with fun stories. Personalized treasure boxes with small trinkets or coins matching the child’s age will delight them.

Gift certificates for experiences can offer exciting new adventures. Mini garden tool sets inspire little green thumbs to explore nature. Sun hats or personalized aprons add a special touch to any gardening-themed party.

Creative goodie bags ensure each child leaves happy and excited for their own next adventure.

Pick Creative Goodie Bag Options

Fill goodie bags with fun and useful items. Include cookie cutters and decorating pens for a creative touch. Play dough tools can provide hours of playtime at home. Add mini sports equipment like little balls or jump ropes to keep kids active.

You can also add foam crowns for decoration activities during the party. Kids will love decorating their own cookies, so include small packs of sprinkles and icing tubes. These thoughtful touches make each bag special and memorable.

Personalize Party Favors

Give kids something special to take home. Personalize party favors with themed gifts like aprons or cookie cutters. A Little Picasso Party could include decorating pens for art projects.

A Cookie Craze Party might have personalized cookie cutters and sprinkles.

Customizing favors makes children feel unique. Add the child’s name or a fun design related to the theme, such as teddy bears for a Teddy Bear Picnic. These small touches show thoughtfulness and make the party memorable for everyone involved.

Planning and Organizing the Birthday Bash

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Make a fun timeline for the birthday party.

Design a Party Timeline

Start the party with a fun activity. Set up a welcome game or craft. Let them make simple crowns or decorate cookies for 15 minutes. Next, move into an active game like “Simon Says” for another 15 minutes.

This keeps kids moving and giggling.

After games, it’s snack time! Serve kid-friendly snacks like fruit slices and mini sandwiches for 20 minutes. Make this part of the timeline relaxed, so everyone can catch their breath.

Follow snack time with your main event—like a dress-up party or watching a short movie—for about half an hour.

End with cake and singing happy birthday in the last 10–15 minutes. Keep goodie bags ready to hand out as guests leave. Parents can help handle tasks to keep the schedule smooth and enjoyable for all!

Manage the Budget for a Toddler’s Party

Hosting a toddler’s party on a budget is possible with some smart planning. Choose inexpensive items like balls, bubbles, and chalk for park parties. These simple toys provide hours of fun without breaking the bank.

Places like El Cerrito parks offer affordable clubhouse rentals for just such events.

Consider hosting the party at venues that are easy on your wallet but still loads of fun. Round Table Pizza in Pinole is a great option for those who want to combine food and fun. Other recommended spots include Twirl in Alameda or Ruby’s Tumbling in Alameda.

These places often have packages that keep costs down while ensuring kids have an amazing time.

Handle Invitations and RSVPs

Begin by making a guest list. Aim for about 10–12 kids, mostly 3-year-olds with a few older siblings aged 5 to 7. Send out invitations at least two weeks in advance.

Ask parents to RSVP by a specific date. This helps you plan for food and activities. Keep track of responses to know who is coming. You can involve parents in tasks like supervising games or helping with snacks.

Safety Measures and Comfort Tips

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Ensure the party space is safe and secure. Keep a small first aid kit handy for minor mishaps.

Manage Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Planning a birthday party for toddlers requires care, especially with food allergies and dietary restrictions. I learned this firsthand with my 12-year-old’s birthday party. Snacks like sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit kabobs work great because they avoid common allergens.

Many snacks contain nuts or dairy, so these options are safe choices. Ask parents about any specific allergy concerns before the party. This helps keep everyone safe and happy while celebrating your little one’s special day!

Ensure Adult Supervision

It’s crucial to have adults watching over the kids at all times. Toddlers can be unpredictable and may get into mischief quickly. If you’re hosting a party at venues like Twirl in Alameda or Ruby’s Tumbling, check if they provide staff to help supervise.

This ensures extra pairs of eyes are keeping everyone safe.

Set up a roster for parents to take turns supervising different activities and play areas. This way, no one gets overwhelmed, and kids stay safe while having fun. For outdoor activities, make sure boundaries are clear, so children do not wander off.

Keeping an eye on the little guests will ensure a smooth and worry-free celebration.

Prepare for Emergencies

Always have a first-aid kit ready. Accidents happen, especially at kids’ parties. Keep band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and ice packs handy. Also, know the location of the nearest hospital or emergency room.

Watch the weather forecast if your party is outdoors. Prepare for potential rain with tents or canopies to keep everyone dry. Have a backup plan for indoor activities just in case bad weather strikes.

Keep contact numbers of parents who are dropping off their children. Having this information will ensure quick communication if needed. Make sure adults supervise all activities to prevent mishaps and tears.

People Also Ask

What are some fun themes for a 3-year-old’s birthday party?

Popular themes include animal safari, princesses, superheroes, and favorite cartoons like Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig.

What games can we play at a 3-year-old’s birthday party?

Games like musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey, and treasure hunts are great choices for young kids.

How can I make sure all the kids have fun at my child’s birthday party?

Plan activities that suit their age group and keep them short to match their attention span. Also, ensure there is plenty of space for them to move around.

Are there any safety tips I should follow during the party?

Yes! Always supervise children closely. Keep small items out of reach to prevent choking hazards and ensure all toys are safe for toddlers.




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

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