1st Birthday

A baby”s first birthday is a great occasion to gather friends and family to celebrate. While the baby may not remember his birthday, parents and family certainly will.

First Birthday Party Ideas and Themes

Many people choose to have themes for first birthday parties, ranging from popular childrens characters to specific color or animal themes. If your childs birthday falls near a holiday, a theme to fit that holiday can also be a fun idea. Some popular themes include:

  • ABCs and 123s: Use primary colored paper plates, balloons and supplies and building blocks with alphabet letters to decorate.
  • A Trip to the Zoo: Animal-patterned paper dishes, streamers and more will create a great zoo environment. Another fun touch is to display stuffed animals of zoo animals throughout the party area. Serve animal crackers and an animal-shaped cake to complete this theme.
  • Mother Goose: Decorate with Mother Goose characters, or even have people dress up as Mother Goose characters. Finish the party by reading your favorite Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

First Birthday Party Tips

Aside from the theme and party decorations, there are many things to consider for a first birthday party. Number of guests, time of day, length of the party, food, invitations and any necessary preparations and precautions should all be well thought out.


The easiest way to handle invitations is via e-mail or Evite. Clip art or pictures of the baby can even be added to personalize the invitation or to make it fit with the partys theme. E-mail responses also make it easy to manage RSVP lists.

Those who prefer traditional invitations can still use them to fit the partys theme, but these will be more costly and time consuming.


For most people, first birthday guests will be adult friends and family members. When deciding how many people to invite, consider how much space you have available, how much food you want to have available and how many children will be present.

If young children are on your guest list, inviting their parents to come with them will save you from having to manage too many kids by yourself.

Time and Party Length

Because the average 1-year-old has a fairly short attention span and may become cranky after too long, first birthday parties should generally only last about an hour to an hour and a half.

Plan to have the party in between naps, at a time when the baby is usually most active and happy.


Providing a meal is not necessary for a first birthday party, especially if the party is short in length. For the most part, a few finger foods or platters, like fruit, vegetables or cheese and crackers, will be sufficient.

A first birthday party would not be complete, however, without a birthday cake. This can be homemade or decorated especially by a bakery to fit the party theme.

Other Party Tips

If young children are in attendance, make sure the party area is “child-proofed,” and have some toys out for their entertainment.

Plan activities for all age groups in attendance, including the adults. Games and activities can still be baby-themed to fit with the party, and prizes can reflect your party theme as well. Some popular choices include:

  • Bowling with Baby Bottles: Fill 10 baby bottles with liquid or something else that will weigh them down, arrange them like bowling pins, create a makeshift bowling alley and have guests take turns “bowling” with a small ball.
  • Drawing/Coloring: An activity for kids and adults, provide a table with crayons or markers. Guests can either draw pictures adhering to the party theme, or you can provide printouts that go with the party theme for guests to color in.
  • Photo Frame Signing/Decorating: Put a photo of your baby in a frame with a wide mat around it that people can sign or decorate with markers, glitter pens or crayons.