What better reason is there to celebrate than a joyous new addition to your family? Host the perfect baby shower with our Baby Shower Ideas Guide! Read on for baby shower ideas on decorating, party food, baby shower gifts, fun baby shower games, general baby shower planning tips, and more!
Shop all our First Birthday Party Supplies
Browse this guide:
For peace of mind, begin planning 6 – 8 weeks in advance to allow time to purchase and mail invitations, as well as to give your guests time to RSVP and make travel plans, if needed. Don’t panic if you find yourself short on time; you can still plan a great party! Planning ahead simply reduces the risk of conflicts with guests’ plans and may increase attendance.
To simplify the rest of the party planning process, check out our Baby Shower Planning Timeline, take a look at our Baby Shower Etiquette question and answer page, and read the paragraphs below for information on selecting decorations, supplies, activities, and more for the baby shower.
Whether you want to throw the baby shower party inside or out, pastel colors are a must. Combining an assortment of soft colors like pale yellow, light green, baby blue, lavender, light pink, and white will work well whether the mother-to-be is expecting a boy or a girl, or if the baby’s sex is unknown. Keep these classic baby shower decoration colors in mind as you pick out baby shower supplies like:
- Personalized Banners
- Basic Partyware (e.g. plates, napkins, & cutlery)
- Corsages and/or Boutonnieres (i.e. for the mom- & dad-to-be)
- Loose or Arranged Flowers
Start decorating for your baby shower by hanging or floating bunches of balloons throughout the party area. If you know the mother is expecting a girl, consider using a combination of light pink, lavender, and white. If she’s having a boy, consider using pale yellow, blue, green, and/or white. Then, twist together streamers in the same color scheme as the balloons, and hang them along the walls and doorways of the main party area. For a fun touch, you can also hang long strips of streamers in a row across an entryway, creating curtains for your guests to pass through as they come and go. You can also form a canopy of streamers over the entranceway or over the party table by attaching them to a central point in the ceiling, and then down and out to level points on the surrounding walls.
Once you’ve set up the basic baby shower decorations, you can add a special touch to the setting by displaying a personalized banner in a design that complements your other partyware. Have it printed with a unique message such as, “Welcome Baby!” or, “Congratulations, Mom & Dad!”
A diaper cake can serve as both a creative centerpiece and a thoughtful and useful gift for the parents-to-be. Use a large platter or cardboard base as starting support under your diaper cake. Roll up several clean newborn diapers with curling ribbon or rubber bands and form a base “cake” layer by stacking the rolled diapers next to each other. Tie a thicker ribbon in colors that match your baby shower decorations around the entire layer to keep a circular shape. Make second and third smaller layers in the same way and adorn the diaper cake with shampoo, stuffed animals and baby toys, bottles, and other baby shower gifts.
Add a few finishing touches to your decorations by placing fresh flowers in pastel colors and baby-related items (e.g. storks, rubber ducks, pacifiers, baby bottles, etc.) throughout the party area. You can also use baby bibs as placemats or open-top baby bottles as cups. Be creative!
Baby Shower Food Ideas
The food that you serve at a baby shower depends on two primary factors:
- What time are you having the party?
- For a Brunch Party… Serve traditional breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, orange juice, and coffee.
- For a Lunch Party… Consider serving sandwiches, crudites, and cold salads, such as potato or macaroni salad.
- For a Mid-Afternoon Party… Serve lighter fare, such as hors d’oeuvres, mini desserts and drinks.
- For a Dinner Party… You’ll need to serve more substantial fare, such as steaks, baked or mashed potatoes, and green beans; lasagna, tossed salad and breadsticks; or, for a more casual party, hamburgers or hotdogs, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and baked beans.
- Do any of your guests have dietary restrictions? If you don’t know for sure, plan to serve an assortment of vegetarian-friendly foods in addition to meat-based fare. You should also have diet drinks and at least one sugar-free dessert on hand in addition to beverages and treats containing sugar.
If you plan to only serve hors d’oeuvres and other snack-type foods at your baby shower, consider creating or purchasing an assortment of platters. A few options include:
- Cheese Cubes, a Cheese Ball and/or Cheese Spread with Assorted Crackers
- Crudites (i.e. cut veggies) and Ranch or Blue Cheese Dip
- Cheddar Cheese Fondue with Bread Chunks and Apple Slices
- Tossed Salad (Note: As an alternative to traditional salad, try mixing romaine lettuce, frisse, grape tomatoes, dried cherries, candied pecans, and raspberry vinaigrette)
- Pigs in a Blanket
- Chicken Satay
- Mini Vegetable Rolls and/or Egg Rolls
- Mini Quiches
- Tortilla Chips and Salsa
- Potato Chips and French Onion Dip
- Fruit Salad or Cut Fruit (e.g. sliced melon, cubed pineapple, strawberries, grapes, etc.)
- Finger Sandwiches
- Pita Bread Pockets Filled with Hummus
- Tortilla Wraps Filled with Cold Cuts, Lettuce, Tomato Slices, Cheese, etc.
- Mini Desserts (e.g. tiny tarts, cheesecake squares, cookies, petits fours, etc.)
As for drinks, a bowl of fruit punch or sherbet punch (i.e. 1 tub of sherbet mixed with 1 2-liter bottle of ginger ale) is perfect. Additionally, consider supplying an assortment of sodas, bottled water, and/or juice. At your discretion, you can also serve alcoholic beverages at your baby shower such as Mimosas or frozen daiquiris.
If you find yourself scratching your head while trying to think of the perfect gift, you aren’t alone. To come up with a thoughtful gift that the mom- and dad-to-be will really appreciate, consider what qualities a good baby shower gift might have; for instance, it could be…
- something the expecting parents will need to take care of their newborn;
- a gift the baby will enjoy;
- something that will enhance the parents’ excitement about starting a family;
- an item for both parents to enjoy (i.e. not baby-related); or,
- something special from you, just for the mom.
If you still aren’t sure what to give the parents-to-be, consider these more specific ideas:
- A Gift Basket Full of Baby Supplies (e.g. bottles, pacifiers, toys, etc.)
- A Baby Blanket (Note: If you know how to knit or crochet, make the blanket yourself for an extra special gift!)
- Baby Clothes in Neutral Colors (unless you already know the baby’s gender)
- Unique, Homemade Gifts Like a Baby Sock Corsage, a Diaper Wreath, or a Bassinet Gift Basket (Note: To do the latter economically, have all of your guests pitch in to buy the bassinet, and then fill it with one smaller gift from each guest.)
- Parenting, Baby Name, and Other Baby Books for the Parents (Note: We recommend Baby Be Loved by Susan Ann Stelfox and Joel Dugan, and The Baby Book by William Sears & Family.)
- A Unique Picture Frame or Album to Use for Family/Baby Pictures
- A Baby Book
- A Baby Bank (Note: Turn this into an activity by asking your guests to dig through their purses and pockets for loose change. Then, pass a jar or piggy bank around, and ask your guests to drop in their change. Give the collected money to the mom to help start a savings account for the new baby.)
You may wish to coordinate with your guests for some or all of the gifts so that the parents don’t receive duplicate items. To simplify this process, encourage the mom-to-be to register her baby shower at a baby store and pick out the items she wants or needs for the baby. Or, if the shower is a surprise, register the parents secretly, and then provide your guests with the registry information.
Baby Shower Favors
In addition to gifts for the parents-to-be, good baby shower etiquette suggests you should also have gifts prepared for your guests. These can come in the form of a few larger door prizes, or as small parting gifts for every guest. Great door prizes include restaurant, spa, or movie theater gift certificates; gift or gourmet baskets; and DVDs or CDs. If you would like to give each of your guests a single favor, consider items such as candles, sachets, or small picture frames. You can also put together favor bags with a few items in each, such as mildly-scented bath products and, of course, chocolate!
Discovery Game – Create a list of 10 to 15 things that a person might like, might do, might have, or might have done. Examples include, “Someone who has traveled to France,” “Someone who loves Italian food,” or “Someone who is wearing blue.” Make sure you have at least one statement per guest, and preferably more in case there are some that no one matches. Type up the list, and print out a copy for each of your guests.
At the party, give everyone a copy of the list and a pen or pencil. Tell the players that they have 3 minutes to find a guest who matches each statement on the list. In those 3 minutes, all of your guests will learn at least one thing about everyone else at the party! Award a prize to the person who finds the most matches.
“Who am I?” – Write the names of famous moms, cartoon characters, inanimate objects, or anything else (preferably within a theme) on index cards. Tape an index card to each guest’s back upon their arrival. Explain that the card has a name on it, and they are not allowed to take the card off, look at it, or have another person read the name to them until the end of the game. Likewise, they may not tell any other guests the names taped to their backs.
The object of the game is for each guest to figure out what person, character or object they’ve been assigned by asking other guests questions like, “Am I an actress,” or “Do I have blonde hair?” If desired, you may award a small prize to every guest who correctly guesses the name printed on their card.
Door Prize Games
Dirty Diaper Door Prize – Fold white paper napkins into small diapers (one for each guest). Make 1-3 (depending on the size of your guest list) “dirty diapers” by marking the inside of each with a brown marker or lipstick. Alternatively, you can hide a small item, such as a raisin, in a couple of the diapers.
As your guests arrive, give each a randomly-picked diaper with a safety pin so they can pin on the diaper. Then, at the end of the party, have your guests check their diapers. Award a door prize to each guest who has a dirty diaper.
Scratch & Win Cards – Cut several index cards in half lengthwise to create two long strips per card; cut enough so that you have at least one strip for each guest. Draw 3 pictures on each card using a different combination of pictures each time. For example, draw a baby bottle, a diaper, and a pacifier on one card, two pacifiers and a bottle on another card, and so on. Depending on the number of guests you’ve invited, choose 1-3 cards to be winning cards. On those cards, draw 3 of the same picture (e.g. 3 baby bottles or 3 pacifiers). When you are done drawing all of the pictures, color over each card with a silver crayon.
As your guests arrive at the party, give each a scratch card. Award a prize to whoever gets a card with 3 of the same picture.
Other Fun Shower Games
Draw a Baby – This game is fun, easy, and always hilarious. Hand each guest a sheet of paper, something hard to write on (e.g. a piece of cardboard, a magazine, etc.), and a pen, pencil, or marker. Have everyone put their sheet of paper on top of their magazine/cardboard/etc., and then hold it on their head with one hand while trying to draw a baby with the other. Take turns revealing each “masterpiece” for a good laugh. Award a prize to whoever draws the best- and worst-looking babies.
“Who Know’s Mommy Best?” – Come up with a list of 10-20 interesting facts about the mom-to-be. This list might include things like where she’s travelled, her favorite food, her middle name, or anything else about her. Write each item in the form of a question (e.g. “What has Jane collected since she was 6 years old?”).
At the party, gather your guests in a circle, and begin asking them the questions you’ve prepared. The first person to “buzz in” and answer correctly gets a point. Optionally, you can include the mom-to-be in this game by awarding her a point for every question that goes unanswered by her guests. (After all, she’s so interesting and diverse that even her friends don’t know everything about her!) Award a prize to whoever has the most points at the end of the game.
A-Z Baby Name Game – Give each guest a piece of lined paper and a pen or pencil. Have everyone write the letters A through Z down the left sides of their papers, skipping every other line. Set a timer for 2 minutes. When you start the timer, each player must try to write down one baby name for every letter of the alphabet. You may limit it to girl or boy names only, if desired. All players must stop when the timer buzzes.
Go through the lists as a group, letter by letter, comparing everyone’s answers. Players get one point for every unique name they write down. For example, if more than one person puts down “Jessica” for the letter “J,” nobody gets a point for the name “Jessica.” However, anyone who wrote down a different “J” name, like “Jill,” gets a point if they were the only player to write down that name. Award a prize to the player or players who tally up the most points.
Baby Bottle Drink-Off – Fill 4-ounce baby bottles with juice, water, milk, or another beverage of your choice. Give a bottle to each participating guest. When you say, “Go!” the players race to see who can drink the contents of their bottle first. This a hilarious game to observe as it’s a lot harder to drink from a baby bottle than most people realize. (Note: If you’re planning a co-ed party, make this a men-only competition for a real laugh!)
Pass The Gift – Place a small gift (e.g. a miniature picture frame, a candle, or a gift card) in a box, and wrap the package with wrapping paper. Then, add several more layers of wrapping paper overtop of the first layer until you have covered the box with a minimum of 5 (but no more than 15) layers.
At the party, have your guests sit in a circle. Play a CD or tape, stopping the music randomly as you would in musical chairs. Have your guests pass the gift around the circle while the music plays. Whoever has the gift when the music stops gets to take off a layer of wrapping paper. Continue playing until someone takes off the last layer and reveals the gift. That guest may keep the gift.
Photo Activity – Ask each of your guests to bring one good picture of themselves with their children, the mom-to-be, or a group of the expecting mom’s friends. Purchase a large frame that will accommodate one picture per guest, as well as a paper or poster board backing that will fit inside the frame.
At the party, ask your guests to hold on to their pictures until it’s time to do this activity. When you’re ready, get everybody in a circle and explain to the guest of honor that everyone has brought a photo to help inspire her as a mother. Go around the circle, revealing one photo at a time and letting each guest explain why they chose to bring that particular photo. Once the mom-to-be has seen all of the photos, bring out the frame. You can choose to open up the frame and glue the pictures to the poster board at the party, or offer to help with the project after the party.
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.