First Birthday Party Ideas

These first birthday party ideas are simple, easy and my absolute favorites.

A 1st Birthday party theme is in my opinion the most special of birthdays and it really is your chance to show off your gorgeous baby and how he or she has developed and grown.

1st birthday girl

However, a birthday party for this age group can be quite overwhelming for a small child. All that noise, all those new faces and all that attention can be quite scary. So my advice is to not go overboard and keep the party simple. Keep it simple and you will have much more fun and much less stress.

If this is the first birthday party that you have ever organized you may be feeling a bit anxious but trust me, it is not so hard. You really don't need to do anything fancy as the main attention will be on your child and not on the decorations.

Top Tip: Keep the party length to no more than 2 hours maximum and try and fit it around nap and meal times.

First Birthday Party Ideas - Invitations

There are many shops and online stores where you can buy ready made 1st birthday party theme invitations but you can save money by making your own and it's not difficult.

Your invitation wording could go something like this:

1st Birthday Invite 

Little X is turning ONE
Let's celebrate and have some fun.
We'll clap and dance and sing and play,
So please join us on this special day.

P.S. Mums and dads can come with you. And don't forget a diaper too!

  • Write the details on a square piece of paper and then fold it just like you would a cloth diaper. Secure with a small safety pin. Simple but cute. 
  • Write the invite on a plain luggage label and tie to the end of a rattle or other small baby item. 
  • Write the details on a plain wooden building block and tie with a ribbon to represent a gift.
  • Decorate plain card invites with pictures of your baby or images cut out from magazines. Sprinkle with a little glitter and baby talc to give that nice fresh baby smell.

If you'd rather buy 1st Birthday invitations, then I think these are prefect and just so cute:

First Birthday Party Ideas - Costumes

Your baby is never going to have so many photos taken of him/her so you want to make sure s/he looks as cute as can be. Baby clothes have never been so cute and you have a mammoth choice. 

I personally think whatever you feel is your favorite baby outfit is just perfect and to make it extra special, just add an accessory or two such as a pretty hair bow or a birthday bib. 

There really is no need to go overboard with fancy dress costumes. Besides whatever your baby wears, he or she is going to be the star of the show!

First Birthday Party Ideas - Decorations

Depending on whether you are having a particular first birthday theme, balloons and streamers always go down well with the younger kids but there is no need to over do it. 

Top Tip: Burst balloons are a choking hazard for children and babies. Make sure that you throw away broken balloons straight away. Babies will put anything in their mouths that looks bright and interesting so be on your guard.

A special feature could be a Growth Wall whereby you have a frieze with photos of your child from birth to one. You could also highlight milestones such as first tooth, first step, and first word and so on.

Set up a Soft Play Area and also a Quiet Room space for those that will need a nap or some quiet time. 

Think about any Siblings who might also be coming to the party and have a play area and suitable toys for the age group.

Make sure you have a clean and safe space for heating up baby food and bottles and plenty of kitchen wipe!

If you would like to add a bit of pizzazz and to highlight it as a "1st birthday theme", then 1st birthday theme party ware could be the way to go. Below are some ideas for really cute decorations which will look great in any setting. 

First Birthday Party Ideas - Food

A one year old doesn't eat that much and they don't have a hugely varied diet – adults do though! Therefore cater mainly for the grownups and any older siblings that will be at the party.

They are also not tidy eaters so make sure you have a dedicated food area and try to avoid too many foods that are 'fun to play with' such as jelly, otherwise you will have a lot of cleaning up to do!

 If it is a nice day, it might be an idea to eat outside. Set up a big picnic rug so the kids can eat and move about as they wish. If the weather is cold or wet, you could still set up a picnic area in your house.

Fun food ideas are:

Top Tip: Some babies will have a mouthful of teeth and others maybe only one or two so make sure you cater for both.

1st Birthday Cake Idea
For something really simple, prepare a basic cake using a packet cake mix or my all-in-one cake recipe and bake in a shaped tin. When cool, decorate it with frosting and smarties. So simple but so effective!

More Birthday Cake Ideas

First Birthday Party Ideas - Games & Activities

In reality kids under the age of 2 years are not going to be very receptive to playing group games or doing anything that has rules. Plus their attention span is going to be limited and playing a game in a group is a bit daunting for them. 

However some simple clapping and singing activities can work really well, especially if the mums and dads join in too. I've put together a list of simple easy and fun games which are perfect for this age group. Click here for my favorite 1st birthday games.

First Birthday Party Ideas - Favors

You really don't need to go overboard with favors or prizes. I find that one or two items is plenty and the most important thing is to make sure that they are safe and appropriate as they will probably end up being sucked or chewed at some point!

Favor ideas could include:

  • Small soft toys or cuddle cloths
  • Chew toys 
  • Building blocks
  • Noise making toys such as rattles
  • T-shirt printed with a printed personal message on it
  • Bibs and small clothing items 

You May Also Like...

First Birthday Party Games
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Preschool Party Games


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