Baby’s 1st Birthday Party
Decorating and Menu Ideas
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Fun 1st Birthday Party Ideas to Set the Mood
Unless you plan to invite several children over the age of four, all you need is a safe play area where the children can interact. If you have older children, however, plan a few simple, classic 1st birthday party games and crafts that everyone will enjoy. For instance, for an Elmo party, play games such as "Pin the Nose on Elmo" and "Elmo Says" (i.e. a variation of "Simon Says").
Be sure to applaud the efforts of younger children so that the games do not become too competitive. If a younger child becomes tired or overwhelmed, try having him sit out a few activities and give him the "special" job of awarding the prize to the winner.
Consider asking a favorite babysitter to attend to help coordinate this part of the party. Also, ask parents or older friends to act as partners for younger children during activities.
Below are a few great ideas for making your baby's first birthday truly special and memorializing it for years to come.
Making 1st Birthday Party Memories
A Birthday Garden - Plant a tree or flower that will bloom or multiply each year around your little one's special day, and mark it with a little plaque or sign, if desired. Then, make a yearly tradition of photographing your child by his or her birthday garden.
- For Winter Babies... Plant holly, flowering jasmine, or crocus.
- For Spring Children...There are many flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, lilac bushes, or tree peonies.
- For Summer's Wee Ones... Celebrate with roses, iris, or hydrangea.
- For Autumn Tykes... Clematis, Japanese Maple, or Crape Myrtle work well.
Birthday Books - Create a "Story Time" video of your child's favorite books by having relatives or special friends take turns reading books to the camera during the party. Ask older relatives who cannot read comfortably to describe a favorite childhood memory.
A Photo Album - Gather photos tracking your child's progress this past year, and put them in a 1st birthday photo album or create frames with groups of pictures.
Ask guests to bring a baby picture of themselves to the party. Then, mount the pictures on a wall with photo-safe poster tack, and let your guests enjoy guessing who's who! Keep copies in your child's album or create framed artwork with baby photos of grandparents side-by-side with your child's first birthday picture.
A Growth Chart: Traditional or Not So - Start a tradition by marking your child's yearly progress on a wall that won't be painted over through the years, or on a scroll of paper that you can put up each birthday. Or, try something non-traditional. For instance, on each birthday, take a picture of your child holding a favorite stuffed animal or a clock showing the time he was born. As the years go by, it will be fun to see how small that stuffed animal or clock appears in relation to your growing child.
Birthday Wishes - Ask guests to write birthday wishes for your one-year-old on slips of paper that you can keep in a bottle and open on a 16th or 18th birthday. Or, ask each person to write their wishes around a photo mat that you can later use to mat and frame a first birthday picture.
Keepsakes - Traditional keepsakes include a lock of your baby's curls or a plaster cast of a hand or footprint. You can also create keepsake 1st birthday thank you notes with watercolor handprints. Just dip your baby's hand in some paint and help him "stamp" a few sheets of blank paper. Then, cut around the handprints and paste them on blank thank you cards.
1st Birthday Party Foods
When it comes to food, you can serve theme-related treats like animal crackers for an animal party or sea water (i.e. apple juice tinted with blue food coloring) for an ocean party. Either way, minimally-messy finger foods are best for babies and toddlers, so consider things like:
- Animal Crackers
- Apple Wedges
- Baby Carrots
- Bagel Bites
- Cheese Cubes
- Cut Veggies
- Goldfish Crackers
- Ice Cream Cups
- Juice Boxes
- Mini Cookies
- Pear Wedges
- Pigs in a Blanket
Note: For more theme-specific food ideas, check out the “Plan a Theme Party” section of Birthday in a Box's Party Planning page.