Can you believe it’s nearly been a year? This time last year you were still waiting to meet your precious bundle – and now here you are. Proud parents of a gorgeous, smiling, gurgling, ONE YEAR OLD mess-machine (who’s turned your life, your house and your heart upside down)!
Your baby’s first birthday is a huge milestone for the whole family. You’ve just been through a hard, hard year. You’ve survived sleepless nights, diaper explosions, screaming and teething. You’ve beaten all the challenges and you’ve done a great job. Congratulations! This party is as much for you as for your beautiful baby.
Of course you want to mark the special day in style. But there’s so much to think about! Day sleeps. Healthy choices. Food allergies. Exploring toddlers. How on earth do you put together a fun, successful first birthday party that EVERYONE will enjoy, without going crazy from stress?
Simply check out these 10 fantastic first birthday party ideas!
This is our absolute favorite first birthday party idea, because it’s safe, affordable and sooooo much fun.
Simply get everyone to bring a cardboard box to the party – the bigger the better. Clear a space, arm a few parents or older siblings with scissors, and get creative! Climb them. Sit in them. Sail or drive them. Bash them and bang on them. Build castles, caves, ships or shops… Boxes can be anything and everything. Babies, kids, pets (and Dads) all love to play in them for hours on end.
And best of all – when the party’s over, any boxes you don’t want to keep n can simply be packed down and recycled.
Another great idea is a mini ‘camp’. It’s a long time until your bub will be all grown up and heading off to summer camp – but there’s no reason why you can’t give them a taste of the fun and games right now.
To create your baby ‘camp’, clear a big room or outside area and set up little activity zones. If you set up chairs for the parents all around the outside of the camp area, they can sit, relax and watch the bubs play in comfort.
All of these are great fun for bubs and toddlers:
- Sand and water play
- Mini ball pit (blow up a toddler pool and fill it with plastic balls)
- Soft toy mountain
- Box or blanket fort
- Crawl tunnels
- Mini tent or teepee
- Percussion instruments
- ‘Obstacle course’ of pillows and blankets
Kids of all ages love bright colors – and rainbow parties make for some gorgeous photos! It’s super easy to theme your party area with all kinds of multicolored decorations – you can buy them ready made, or make them yourself out of crepe paper, balloons and cardboard.
When it comes to the food, there’s lots of ways you can get creative, even if you prefer to avoid artificially colored sweets and snacks. You can use rainbow tablecloths, plates and napkins, and make a fruit and vegetable rainbow for the bubs to snack on.
A beautiful arrangement of rainbow cupcakes (you can use multicolored paper cases or removable decorations if you don’t want to color the icing), or even an ambitious rainbow layered cake can create an awesome centerpiece for your party table.
If you want to go all out you can even ask your party guests to come dressed in rainbow colors!
Animals are another huge favorite with kids of all ages. Whether your bub loves dinosaurs, dogs, dolphins or ducks, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to animal-theme a first birthday party.
First up, a quick trawl of the internet will turn up plenty of awesome animal decorations, plus loads of cool ideas if you prefer to make your own. Banners, posters and balloons, soft toys, plates and napkins, and animal themed party favors can all set the mood without costing the earth. If you’re not up to making a fancy shaped cake, any yummy cake or cupcakes with animal cases or decorations work just as well.
These days you can get cute baby suits in the shape of almost any animal going – so why not ask your guests to dress their bubs in costume and really make the party special? And if you’ve got real creative flair, you could even try and master the art of making balloon animals!
Like boxes, balloons are a low-cost, timeless classic for kids of all ages. There’s loads of ways you can get creative with balloons: we love the idea of writing your party invites on them, so the guests get the message when they blow up them up.
Real balloons make great decorations of course, either hanging from streamers or filled with helium. And you can also buy or make posters, plates, party favors and even your baby’s special first birthday cake in the shape of a balloon.
Simply filling the party room with loose floating balloons provides plenty of fun and entertainment for babies, toddler and older children.
And when it comes to clearing them all up afterwards, all you need is a pin!
Hand and feet painting party
If you’re bold and fearless and you don’t mind an almighty mess, this is a super cute idea for your first birthday party. Big sheets of paper and trays of washable poster paint are all you need to create wonderful first birthday keepsakes.
Before you start, make sure you lay down some sort of protective sheeting or you’ll soon have paint all over your house or garden! If any of your baby guests are already walking, simply get them to step in the paint and run around on the paper. Crawlers and pre-crawlers can dip their hands in the paint and then make multicolored handprints on the paper. Make sure you write each bub’s name on their ‘creation’ so their parents can take home their extra special party memento.
Don’t forget to put out plenty of water and towels so you can clean up the bubs after the painting fun is done – and warn your guests to dress themselves and their kids in old clothes!
Play center party
If you don’t fancy the hassle of catering and cleaning up after a big bash, why not hold your baby’s first birthday party somewhere else? Many play centers have separate ‘soft play’ areas for babies and toddlers, where they can play and crawl around in safety. There’s usually plenty for older siblings to do, too, and often somewhere the parents can get a well-earned coffee.
The center may be able to offer you themed decorations, catering and maybe even your own party room. Make sure you check whether they will allow you to bring your own snacks, and if they offer healthy choices suitable for all your guests.
Choosing a play center takes all the stress out of arranging your baby’s first birthday party. Simply send out invites and turn up on your special day with your bub – and of course, that all important cake!
If your baby’s first birthday falls in the warm season, you could take the party outside instead. A park with a sandpit or toddler play zone, or even just a lovely, grassy field, is a perfect spot for a party picnic.
Picnic food is always a favorite with kids of all ages. You could ask people to bring a plate to share, or pack up a yummy picnic yourself. Paper plates and cups mean there’s no mess to worry about back home.
Simply bring some rugs to sit on, umbrellas for shade and a few balls for the kids to crawl after, and you’re all set.
Intimate family party
Many people prefer to keep that first birthday party small and intimate. You can save yourself a lot of stress if you restrict the guest list to just the people who mean most to you and your baby. If you don’t invite other children you’ll only have to time the party around your own bub’s nap routine, and you won’t have to worry about food preferences and allergies.
You can still make your party super special of course, with a cute theme or color scheme, and a gorgeous cake. But instead of chasing around after your bub while worrying about whether your guests are having fun, you can relax in the company of people who just want to take care of YOU.
Our final favorite idea for marking that all-important first birthday is to take your bub on a family outing to somewhere special. After all, this is YOUR day as much as theirs, and they only need you to make them happy. There will be plenty of time for wild parties over the years to come!
If there’s a petting farm, zoo or aquarium nearby, they can be wonderful experiences for all the family. Watching your gorgeous bub’s reaction to their first rabbit, elephant or dolphin is a heartwarming memory you’ll treasure forever.
Botanical gardens, boat rides, or even feeding the ducks at your favorite park are also lovely activities to do together, while you take time out and reflect on what an amazing year you’ve just had.
Whether you go all out or keep it intimate, however you choose to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, we hope you have a fun, fabulous and unforgettable day!