1st birthday party ideas

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  • A baby's 1st birthday is as much for you and your family as it is for your little one, so we're here to help you organise a day that everyone will enjoy.

    When your baby turns one, you’ve both reached an important milestone, and we’ve got all the 1st birthday party ideas you need to give you and your baby a really special day.

    From ideas for easy food and decorations to games, party bags and costumes that little ones will love, follow our guide to first birthday parties.

    And remember, most babies won’t be able to handle the birthday extravaganza for too long, so keep the celebrations short. A couple of hours is plenty of time to celebrate and have fun without risking a baby burn-out.

    So sit back, relax and soak up our 1st birthday party ideas for a stress-free first birthday bash.

    1st birthday party ideas

    First birthday party invites
    First birthday party food
    First birthday party decorations
    First birthday party games and crafts
    First birthday party costumes
    First birthday party venues
    First birthday party bags

    1st birthday party ideas: Invites

    When you’re planning a first birthday party, your first job is the invites! Use our ideas for quick, easy and fun invites plus our hints and tips on how to decide who to invite.

    Your invites need to include your child’s name, the name of the child you’re inviting, the date, start and end time, and location of the party.

    Who to invite?
    It’s probably best to limit the number of people you invite. Your baby might get overwhelmed with the sheer number of strange faces and there’ll be even more for you to do on the big day.

    Try and keep it to close friends and family, with a few little ones to keep your baby company.

    Invite ideas

    Shop bought invites
    The most obvious idea is to buy a pack of invites from a card shop and just fill the details in.

    Personalised invites online
    Websites like Moonpig allow you to make your own invites quickly and easily – you can use pictures of your baby if you like and go for something funny, cute or quirky.

    Homemade invites
    If you’ve got lots of time and some good design skills, why not make your own?

    You could use a computer programme like Microsoft Publisher to design your invites using a template.

    Alternatively, buy some coloured card and make your cards by hand. Have a look around a craft shop for some extra decorations for your invites, such as glitter pens and stickers.

    Facebook invites
    If you’re short of time, a Facebook event is an effective way to get the details of your baby’s party to your friends.

    It’s a good idea to send a message reminding all your guests of the details a week before. Make sure you don’t forget to text any friends who don’t have Facebook or don’t check their accounts regularly.

    1st birthday party ideas: Food

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: TI Media

    Have some fun with the party food at your baby’s first birthday party. Kids love fun-shaped food, so use cookie cutters on anything from sandwiches to biscuits or even pizzas.

    Some one-year-olds won’t have a full set of teeth, so softer foods like cucumber sticks, banana or other things they can chew on are ideal.

    Coloured fruit smoothies and fun jelly and ice cream combos also make great party treats.

    The cake
    An important part of the party is, of course, the cake. While your baby will probably get more on the floor than in their mouth, you will remember your baby’s first cake forever.

    If you want to make the cake yourself, a simple sponge with some party decorations will look and taste great.

    On the other hand, if you’re feeling like you want a showstopper you could have a go at making the pink ice cream cake above, it’s perfectly soft for little ones to enjoy and we promise it’s easier than you think to make.

    Not a fan of ice cream cake? Check out this roundup of the most AMAZING first birthday cakes we’ve ever seen. They won’t be easy to replicate but they’re sure to impress if you can manage one!

    1st birthday party ideas: Decorations

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images

    A one-year-old won’t notice if you go to lots of effort with the decorations, so don’t spend too much time! Follow these tips for decorations:

    • Clear a space in your living room or garden for the party’s main setting.
    • Put down a selection of mats, cushions or rugs for little ones to play on.
    • Steer clear of balloons – the noise of one bursting will frighten little ones and they can be a choking hazard.
    • Cute pictures of your baby will go down well with friends and relatives.
    • Little ones will love bubbles – get a few pots and play with them together.

    1st birthday party ideas: Games and crafts

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: CactuSoup/Getty Images

    Keep activities to a minimum at your baby’s first birthday party. One-year-olds are unlikely to have the attention span or skills to participate in lots of games, so don’t worry too much about organising anything, unless you have some older children coming too.

    These simple games and crafts are great for entertaining babies:

    • Little ones love unwrapping things, so a great party game is to wrap a small present up in several layers of paper and put it in a cardboard box, then give it to your tot and help them as they try and unwrap it.
    • If you’re very organised, babies will enjoy finger painting – but you’ll need lots of adults to help supervise.
    • Play dough makes a fun activity for little ones and they can squish and squash it into all different shapes. Our play dough recipes includes ideas for how to colour and scent it to make it extra special too.

    1st birthday party ideas: Costumes

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: photobac/Getty Images

    A one-year-old won’t really appreciate fancy dress, but they will look cute!

    If you want to get really into a fancy dress theme, you can buy all sorts of costumes for babies – such as animals, super heroes, fairies and loads more. Try a quick Internet search for baby fancy dress.

    If you’re trying to keep costs down or just aren’t that keen on fancy dress, a few party hats will make for some nice pictures.

    1st birthday party ideas: Venues

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: ljubaphoto/Getty Images

    It’s a good idea to hold your baby’s first birthday party at your house or a relative’s house, as it’ll be a familiar and comfortable setting.

    However, you might fancy something a bit different or just want to avoid the cleaning up!

    The park
    If your baby was born in warmer months, a trip to the park is a great option.

    Get some friends to all bring a different food and have a little picnic – babies can play with outdoor toys, roll around in the grass and have a go on the swings!

    Indoor soft play centre
    Any indoor soft play centre that has a baby area is a great idea for a first birthday party! Babies will be able to play on the soft shapes and in the ball pit too.

    You could enquire if the centre does special party deals which can include food and a party bag at the end too.

    1st birthday party ideas: Party bags

    1st birthday party ideas

    Credit: Richard Sharrocks/Getty Images

    Let’s face it, one-year-olds won’t remember what was in their party bag, so there’s no need to spend a fortune on them.

    If you are going to do party bags, we’ve come up with some great ideas to fill them:

    Something cute like bibs or socks will get lots of ‘awwws’ from mums!

    Crayons or chalk will always come in handy.

    Hobbycraft is a great place to buy crafty things, but it’s also worth having a look round your nearest Poundland for bargains.

    A little book might be something that guests can keep for a while.

    They might not be ready to read them yet, but a Mr. Men or Little Miss Book is a nice collectible to have.

    Something noisy
    We all know babies love to make noise! Something like a rattle or some clackers will be popular.

    Babies love bubbles and they’re something they can enjoy playing with along with their parents.

    Don’t forget a slice of birthday cake! Even if it will be enjoyed by mum rather than baby.