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Ideas For Your Baby's First Birthday Party

August 21, 2023

There are so many milestones to look forward to when you have a baby, but one of the biggest is their first birthday. Whoever said “the nights are long, but the years are short” was right on the money. Even if the first few months felt like just one sleep-deprived blur of seemingly endless nights, your baby’s first birthday sneaks up on you before you know it. It might seem a little silly to throw a birthday party when your baby definitely won’t remember it, but their first birthday is a huge milestone for both them and you. Not only did you survive your first year of parenthood, you rocked it—and that’s more than enough reason for celebration. As the saying goes, “Go big or go home” and we’re big believers that your baby’s first birthday should be a bash to remember. If you’re looking for ideas on first birthday themes, activities, and more, we’ve got you covered.

1. Wild ONE

This is a popular first birthday theme that you definitely can’t go wrong with. Not only will it probably suit your baby’s personality, there are so many ways to decorate around this theme. You can make centerpieces using animal figurines and you can fill your home or venue with stuffed animals, using lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, giraffes, or even crocodiles or dinosaurs! The world is your oyster, and this theme is so easy to personalize, you can harness your own creativity or just recreate a Pinterest board that you like.

Cake Smash

A cake smash is a must-do for any first birthday, but it’s especially perfect for a Wild ONE theme. You can dress your baby up as an animal or simply put them in an animal print onesie to get that frame-worthy shot of them happily destroying their cake.

Safari Search

Make a scavenger hunt of sorts by hiding animal figurines in the backyard or throughout your venue, and making a list with clues. You can give each of the kids a pair of binoculars to aid their search!

Adopt An Animal

If you don’t want to prepare goodie bags, you can send your little guests home with a stuffed animal that you used for party decorations. Towards the end of the party, line up the animals on a table or a shelf and either assign one to each child, or let the kiddos pick one out themselves.

2. 1st Trip Around the Sun

This adorable theme is out of this world, and it’s a fun one to decorate around. Your baby’s first birthday marks Earth’s complete rotation around the sun, and what better way to celebrate both occasions than with planetary decorations? Keep things simple, elegant, and monochromatic with sun or moon and star decorations, or go all out with color for all 8 planets (sorry, Pluto).

Saturn Ring Toss

Use large rubber balls and mini hula hoops to do a Saturn ring toss! Line the balls up on the grass and create relay teams to toss a certain number of hula hoops around each ball. The first team to get the most hula hoops around their ball by the end of the timer wins!

Ball Pit

If your younger guests are all babies and toddlers, rather than older children, a ball pit is a fun and engaging activity! Pick balls that go with your color scheme, such as yellow, orange, and white if you’re doing sun-themed decorations, or dark blues, beige, white, and orange for planetary decorations.

Meteor Piñata

Get a round piñata (or make one yourself with papier-mâché) and decorate it to look like a meteor, using gray crepe paper or old newspaper. Fill your piñata with candy or prizes, and let the kids whack it until it breaks, causing a meteor shower!

3. Winter One-derland

If your little one is celebrating their first birthday during winter, Winter One-derland is the perfect theme to ring in this special occasion. If you’re going for a natural, rustic vibe, you can’t go wrong with wintry forest decorations, using snow-topped trees and forest animals as decorations. If you want to play up the magic (think Elsa from Frozen), blue, white, and silver snowflakes can give that snow princess vibe you’re looking for.

Sensory Table

Set up an age-appropriate sensory table for your youngest guests, filling bins with animal figurines and various mediums to use as “snow.” For little ones younger than 2, you may want to stick to taste-safe options, like white rice or homemade cloud dough (using flour and vegetable oil). For older kids, you can use anything from marshmallows to shaving cream, or baking soda mixed with white conditioner!

Make Your Own Snowman

Using cotton balls and glue, have little ones create their own snowmen on pre-outlined paper as a guide. Let them accessorize their snowmen with noses, eyes, arms, buttons, scarves, hats, and mittens that have already been cut out using construction paper. 

Hot Chocolate Bar

A hot chocolate bar is sure to be a hit with both children and adults alike. You can use a Crockpot or an Instant Pot on a warm setting to keep the hot chocolate at a nice temperature. Then, set up small bowls or jars with various toppings, like colorful chocolate chips, marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, and candy canes, so your guests can add whatever they please!

4. Berry First Birthday

Calling all warm weather babies! If you’re celebrating your little one’s first birthday during late spring or early summer, a strawberry theme is as cute as it gets. You can decorate around all the different berries, or just stick to strawberries—whichever you prefer!

Outdoor Picnic

If you’re celebrating outside at the park or even in your own backyard, having a picnic is a fun way to stay in theme and keep the little ones entertained. Spread out your picnic blankets on the grass, load up your picnic baskets with finger foods (including strawberries, of course!) and enjoy the warm weather with all your guests.

Basket Party Favors

Make the sweetest take-home treats for all your guests, using mini wicker or woven baskets to hold items like small jars of strawberry jam, mini baguettes, and strawberry candies. Line the baskets with small gingham cloths to add a touch of picnic-style sweetness.

Make Your Own Strawberry Shortcake

Set up a table for little ones to create their own strawberry shortcakes, using pre-cut cubes of sponge cake, strawberry slices, and canned whip cream. You can give each child a clear plastic cup and have them fill it with as much of each ingredient as they’d like.

Ideas For Your Baby's First Birthday Party

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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