Congratulations, mama. You have a one year old! The chances are you can hardly believe that the little bundle you brought home from the hospital is already so big. You’ve both earned a party, so here’s everything you need to know about planning a baby first birthday celebration.
In this article: 📝
- How to celebrate your baby’s first birthday
- First birthday ideas
- Ideas for first birthday themes
How to celebrate your baby’s first birthday
The first rule of baby party planning is to keep things simple. It’s hard to play host while looking after the guest of honor who still needs their regular naps, diaper changes, and snacks. It’s ok to choose whatever option feels easiest to you.
But whether you go for a trip to the park or a full-on birthday blowout, it’s a great opportunity to start a tradition. You could write your little one a letter with good wishes for their future. You could take their picture in a particular chair and plan to do so every year to see how much they grow. Taking their hand and footprints is also a popular idea. However you celebrate, you’ll never regret recording these memories.
Now, on to the party plan.
First birthday ideas
If your baby is happy in a highchair, a family-friendly restaurant is a great venue, especially if there aren’t a lot of other kids on the guest list. On the other hand, if your baby is part of a whole gang of cousins, neighbors, or children of friends, a play center might be more fun.
A party in the park is great for summer-born children. As long as there’s some shade and a picnic blanket, you can spend hours sharing food and watching the world go by. There’s also nothing wrong with staying at home and having a party in your living room or your garden. The birthday child will be in their element and you can enlist some of your guests to help with the cleanup.
Whatever venue you choose, you might want to find a quiet area for the smallest guests to hang out in if it all gets too much. Parties can be overstimulating, which might lead to some overwhelmed babies and some birthday tears.
Your one year old is probably still taking at least one nap a day. Whatever else happens, the party is likely to go more smoothly if they still have the chance to sleep.
If other kids are coming, a 2-hour party is often as much as they can handle. And, while older kids might think it’s fun to stay up late, most babies don’t appreciate being kept up too far past their bedtime (even if there is cake involved).
Finger food is your friend when it comes to baby birthday parties. Think pizza slices, chips, veggie sticks, berries, and simple sandwiches. A menu you can eat standing up will make it easier to stave off hanger for the smaller guests, and it means less washing up for you.
Of course, there’s also the cake to think about.
Opinions are divided on the cake smash tradition, but who doesn’t love a picture of a baby with frosting smeared around their mouth?
Whether you choose to bake your own sugar-free birthday cake or go all out with a personalised cake from the bakery, your baby is going to think it’s the best day ever. Just maybe don’t let them stuff themselves with chocolate cake if they’ve never had a big slice before. Little tummies are sensitive and no one wants to see it in reverse.
By the way, you’re probably going to have to help your one year old to blow out their candle. Does that mean you get to share their wish? Probably. You deserve it.
Think of the best parties you’ve ever been to. What were the common features?
Good friends, some music, and the chance to be the center of attention? Babies love these things too, so you don’t have to plan a lot of entertainment for a baby’s first birthday party.
If it makes sense for your group, there are a few games you can try. You can sit with your baby during Hot Potato, they can dance during Musical Statues, and they’ll love watching everyone play Simon Says.
Make sure you have photos to look back on by asking people to take pictures of your baby, the other guests, the cake, and the decorations. It’s also easy to put a photo booth together. Just find a blank wall and provide some fun props such as funny hats, big sunglasses, or feather boas. If your child has a dressing-up box, you’re probably good to go.
One word of wisdom: make sure that people are taking pictures of you as well. Far too many mamas are always the people behind the camera, and you can never have too many pictures of you with your little one.
Ideas for first birthday themes
Not all first birthday ideas include a theme, but if you love the chance to stretch your creative muscles, putting one together can be a lot of fun.
- Colors: This can be as simple as matching your plates to your balloons. Bright candy colors, especially contrasting purple and turquoise, are all the rage. You could also go with a rainbow theme for all the joy your baby brings to your life, or just choose their favorite color.
- Animals: Maybe your baby has a favorite animal toy, or they get excited every time they see a dog. Jungle, farm, or pets can all be adorable themes.
- Beach: Serve ice cream, decorate with pool toys, or even have your guests wear their beach gear to the party.
What do you get a one year old for their first birthday?
What to get a baby for their first birthday? They’re still too young for toys with small pieces, but they’re starting to get interested in something more “grown up” than the lovies and soft rattles they played with when they were tiny (and they’re willing to find it in the kitchen cupboards if they have to). Whatever you choose, you guarantee that the guest of honor will have fun tearing open the gift wrap.
If you’re starting a gift list, consider blocks or trains to start a collection that you can add to as they get bigger. Simple jigsaws, sorting toys, and musical instruments are fun as well.
Art supplies like finger paints, baby-safe markers, or colorful paper are an alternative choice. Maybe throw in a painting smock as well. Craft time can get messy.
Finally, you could add to the birthday baby’s library. And you can make their first birthday presents extra special by asking your guests to write an inscription or bring their favorite book from their childhood.