First Birthday Party Ideas
You've brought home your newborn just 12 short months ago and watched them grow into a little bundle of joy. Celebrate all the memories your little one has given you over the past year with a wonderful first birthday party!
We have tons of first birthday party ideas for girls and boys. Read on for tips on 1st birthday party ideas, 1st birthday games and activities, and 1st birthday party foods!
Shop all our First Birthday Party Supplies
Browse this guide:
First Birthday Invitations
First Birthday Decorations
First Birthday Party Food
First Birthday Party Favors
First Birthday Party Games & Activities
Planning & Invitations
While in most cases a birthday party is just for the child, a first birthday party
is a bit different. The truth about your baby's first birthday party is that it is really an opportunity for the parents to celebrate making it through the first year! Don't get overwhelmed planning for your child's first birthday party, have a friend or relative help you out. Here are some 1st birthday party ideas and planning tips to get you started.
First Birthday Party Invitations
- Choosing a 1st birthday theme will make it easier to decide on decorations, partyware and activities for your child's party. Consider using one of our first birthday theme patterns, or choose a party theme based on your child's favorite book (Olivia), TV character (Elmo, Pooh), toy (teddy bear, blocks), or perhaps a favorite color. Browse our first birthday party supplies to get started.
Looking for a classic theme? We have tons of adorable generic 1st birthday themes including: Barnyard 1st Birthday, Turtle 1st Birthday, and Ladybug 1st Birthday.
- Select a location for your first birthday party that is familiar to your child. This could be your own home, a grandparent's home, or a park you visit frequently.
- In our experience, the best time of day for a baby's 1st birthday party is immediately after naptime. A well-rested baby is much more likely to enjoy a birthday party full of lots of noise and excitement.
- A good length for your first birthday party age group is between 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Be aware that not all babies and toddlers will be comfortable participating in 1st birthday party games and activities. Some of them may enjoy the party more from the safety of a parent's lap.
Let your friends and family know that you want to celebrate your child's 1st birthday in their company with some creativity and fun. We have come up with a few creative ideas for making your child's first birthday invitations exciting!
- For a special touch, let us print personalized 1st birthday invitations to match your birthday theme! We'll include your child's name and all the party details with a background design that complements your 1st birthday party theme.
- Create a small paper diaper with the party invitation written inside for your 1st birthday party! To do this, fold a square piece of paper in half on the diagonal and cut it to create a triangle. Then fold all three corners of the triangle to the center so that the ends touch or slightly overlap. It should now look like a folded diaper. Open up the diaper and write your party invitation inside, then fold the corners back into place and hold them together with a safety pin.
- Attach a card-style invitation to our personalized 1st birthday items with curling ribbon. Items such as personalized bag tags and luggage tags are great for your guests' diaper bags and strollers.
- Include 1st birthday party stickers in the envelope with your invitations. Seal your 1st birthday invitations with a 1st birthday personalized sticker printed with your party details or a special first birthday message!
- Cut a large No. 1 from colored cardstock and attach a small photo of your child to the front. Print your child's name underneath the photo and write the party information on the back side. Remember to measure your envelopes first to get the right length and width for your 1st birthday invitation cutouts.
- Try using a fun rhyme inside one of our blank First Birthday Party invitations:
Our bundle of joy is turning one,
So come on over and join the fun!
With snacks and decorations and games galore,
Our friends are all we're waiting for!
Decorating & Food Ideas
First Birthday Party Decorations
In addition to basic party supplies like first birthday tableware
. Choose from our list of decorating ideas to create a festive atmosphere for your child's first birthday party.
First Birthday Party Food Ideas
- Lay a blanket in one corner of the room to hold stuffed animals, picture books, dolls, plastic truck toys, or other toys for babies and young children to play with as they arrive.
- Celebrate in style with a personalized 1st birthday banner to commemorate your child's first birthday. After the party, ask your guests to sign the banner and leave notes with permanent markers for the birthday child to read when they are older!
- Make the birthday boy or girl really stand out by decorating his or her high chair with one of our adorable 1st birthday highchair kits.
- Make a height chart for all the guests to sign and hang it just inside your door. Cut a 5-foot-long piece of white paper and draw a design along one side from bottom to top. For a girl's 1st birthday party, you might draw a long green stem with a large flower at the top, and for a boy's 1st birthday party, you might draw train tracks with a train chugging off the top corner.
- Make a decorative timeline of the past year to display at your child's first birthday party by clipping photos and notes of special milestones to a clothesline with clothespins. Include a picture from each month of your child's development and special events such as the first time they stood or their first word.
- Place your favorite photos of the birthday child on tables in the party space. Set out the baby book or a photo album from the past year. Have guests write a 1st birthday message in the book for your child to look back on when he or she grows up!
- Display a newborn outfit and a clothing item in your child's current size to show how much your baby has grown over the past 12 months.
- Spell out your child's name in building blocks and place it on a shelf or table.
Babies and toddlers can become very cranky on an empty tummy, so be sure to have age-appropriate snacks available during the entire 1st birthday party. You will want to give your own child a good snack before the guests arrive. Here are some more food, snack and cake ideas for your child's first birthday party.
- Consider giving the birthday child his or her own small cake to dig into. This is their first opportunity to completely get covered in birthday cake so have your camera ready! If you are concerned with giving your baby too much sugar or potentially allergenic ingredients, a separate cake is a perfect opportunity to give your child something to smash into while providing your grown-up guests with a traditional birthday cake. If you don't want a messy baby, you can give them their own special cupcake with a 1st birthday candle!
- For the toddlers at your child's 1st birthday party, stick with familiar food items such as teddy bear shaped graham crackers, fish shaped crackers, dry cereal and perhaps some teething biscuits.
- You will want to cater to the adults at your child's first birthday, too! The adults attending your party may be holding their own child in one arm, so choose food that can be eaten with one hand. Consider serving a submarine sandwich cut into small portions, a vegetable tray with dip, mini meatballs with a tasty dipping sauce, and cut fruit and cheese.
- Making a first birthday cake in the shape of a "1" is fairly easy to do yourself. First, bake a 9-by-13-inch cake in any flavor and let cool. Using a serrated knife, cut out the shape of a 1 and frost. You can also use our first birthday cake pan and then decorate the cake to fit your theme.
Party Favor Ideas
First Birthday Party Favors
Your adult guests will appreciate favors that serve as keepsakes of your child's first birthday party. Attach some sentiment to the 1st birthday favors you give to your grown-up guests. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take tons of pictures at your child's first birthday party, and make certain each guest gets a chance to pose with the birthday child. After the party, send out 1st birthday party thank you notes attached with the pictures you took!
- Give your grown-up guests 1st birthday personalized lollipops that match your party theme. Customize the lollipops to read "Thanks for coming to [Child's Name]'s First Birthday Party!" or get creative with wording specific to your theme.
- At the party, if your adult guests brought children, have each child make a handprint by covering their palm in non-toxic paint and pressing it onto blank paper. Write the date of your child's 1st birthday and a special message on the paper so your guests can remember the occasion! Purchase inexpensive for each guest and fill each with the handprints your guests made. If a guest did not bring children to your 1st birthday party, you can make extra handprints of the birthday child to give them.
Party favors for babies and toddlers should be chosen with safety in mind. We suggest the following favors for your first birthday party:
Also check out our complete 1st birthday favor sets
and personalized products such as zipper pulls, placemats, and stickers.
Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
- First Birthday Party Supplies: Includes paperware, invitations, personalized items, favors, and decorations for your party theme.
- First Birthday Personalized Items: Check out our exclusive personalized items including invitations, bookmarks, stickers, and more!
- Birthday Party Decorating Ideas: This guide will tell you how to decorate for your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table, and how to make your own party decorations.
- Parties Under $100: Use this guide to celebrate in style without breaking the bank!
- Party Budget Estimator: Download this guide to help budget your expenses.
- More Birthday Theme Ideas: Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child's next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.
Games and Activities
Stage a music parade with you and the birthday child leading the way!
How many bean bags can your toddlers toss at a target?
Plant a garden that will grow every year on your child's birthday!
Start a yearly tradition with a growth chart!
Here are creative ways to scrapbook birthday wishes for your child!
Ask your family members to participate in this story time activity.