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First Birthday Party Guests, Food, Fun & Games!

Katlyn Joy |22, November 2013


Your baby's first birthday is a momentous occasion. And while baby won't remember it, you will and of course, you will be recording every moment, right?

Planning baby's first birthday party requires one central idea. Remember, this party is for your one-year old baby. Therefore, going crazy over the top is unnecessary and would possibly be distressing to your baby. Have you ever seen a baby overloaded by too much sensory input? If yes, then you know that you do not have a bounce house, a clown brigade, pony rides or the singing magician.

First Birthday Party Theme

Start your planning by selected a party theme. Choose something with the central thought in mind. Granted, most one-year-olds don't have an enormous amount of passions and pastimes, but what does your baby like? Does baby love boats? Does she have a character that makes her squeal with joy? Does she go crazy for puppies? If nothing stands out, then pick something benign, age-appropriate and simple.

The theme will set your color scheme, décor, game ideas, as well as your cake decorations. For instance, a puppy theme could be brown and white balloons, spotted balloons, pin the tail on the puppy, face painting with puppy designs with a dog-shaped cake.

Guest List

Who do you invite to baby's first birthday? It is best to invite people with whom your baby is around frequently such as:

  • Grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins,
  • Playmates from daycare and their parents,
  • Neighborhood or park friends,
  • Close family friends.

Keep the children invited down to about five or less — unless you have a big extended family with many young children! However, you will want to limit the baby and toddler list because it's a recipe for wailing and fit-throwing and the babies may act up, too.

If you have many children invited, work around a typical kid time schedule. If the party starts too close to lunch or naptime and you will have the perfect set up for a miserable time. Keep the activities popping along. If you devote too long a period of time to any one thing, you risk a mutiny amongst the tiniest visitors. Also, keep the party length to a maximum of two hours.

Party Invitations

Make simple themed invitations and thank you notes at the same time. There are simple designs to be found online and printed for free, or come up with something simple on your own. Be sure to ask for an RSVP so you can plan accordingly.

Party Decorations

Of course your decorations will be determined by your theme, but don't feel compelled to overspend on this. You can use a little creativity and save a lot of money. For a zoo theme, you could set out animal cracker packages. For a train theme, you could create railroad tracks using black masking tape on the floor. Just remember to ensure toddler safety by avoiding any choking hazards. If you use balloons at all, have them out of reach, or provide constant supervision when little ones are with balloons. Mylar balloons are best because they will float to the ceiling and will limit accidents, but be sure to tie them out of reach of tiny hands.

Decorate the door to let guests know they are indeed at the right destination. Limit the decorations to one area. You need not decorate the porch, living room, kitchen, and back yard for instance.

First Birthday Party Games, Food & Photos


You can use a mix of baby only games along with a baby-grown up team assortment of activities. Provide face painting supplies to parents along with instructions so parents can paint their own baby's faces. Have a race with cardboard boat cut outs with parents and kids working together. Just remember to make the games short and simple, and so if they don't exactly enrapture the guests, they are over quickly enough.

Don't leave anyone out when giving out prizes. Kids are not gracious losers as a rule. Make the prizes appropriate to the theme and child-safe.


Consider your guest list when planning the menu. You may want to have a kids' menu, as well as a separate menu for the grown ups. The best plan is to make finger foods. If you are having a puppy party, the theme would work with hotdogs, puppy chow treats served in adorable little doggy dishes, crackers shaped like dog bones, and so on.

Have some snacks available throughout the party to keep toddlers from having meltdowns. Also make sure to have non-sugary drinks available. Most little ones are limited in their exposure to high fructose drinks these days, and you don't want to get the kids wired at your party.

Photos and Videos

Get someone else to video the event so you don't need to worry about it. Take the photos you can't live without, and then let someone else do the rest. You want to enjoy the party and the moments.

Baby's first birthday party is a special event that will only happen once! While you do want to make it as simple as possible, be sure to include memory building activities, special photo ops, and schedule plenty of time for baby's first taste of cake! That is the one special memory that will stay with you forever!

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