Baby's First Birthday Party Ideas

It's only natural to want to celebrate your baby's very first year. The party itself may only last a few hours, but these tips will help you create fond, life-long memories. We’ve compiled a list of great tips and ideas to help you plan a truly memorable birthday party, whether big or small. You can also use our handy checklist to make sure you have everything you need.

Preparing Your Baby’s First Birthday Party

It can help to break the planning process for your baby’s first birthday party down into two stages: preparing and hosting. With so much excitement and so many ideas floating around your mind, it can be hard to keep focus. A little bit of preparation can help put your mind at ease and help you stay on top of things. Here are a few things you can start planning a few months in advance:

  • What theme you want to go for

  • When you want to throw the party

  • Where the event should take place

  • Who is on the guest list

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll find it a lot easier to plan all the little details that follow. Try to answer them in the order they’re listed above to keep things running smoothly.


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You may find you are drawn to a particular theme before starting any other plans for your 1-year-old’s birthday party. If not, try to select a theme early on if possible, to make other decisions easier later on. We know it can sometimes feel a little like searching for a needle in the haystack, but once you start brainstorming, we’re sure you will come up with something perfect to celebrate your little one.

Also be sure to keep the budget in mind. Costs can escalate quickly in the party planning world. We all want the best for our children, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. Some of the most memorable party themes can be achieved on a limited budget.

Check out the following list for some inspiration and help deciding on a theme for your baby’s first party.

  • Babys’ favourite things. Does your little one gravitate towards a favourite toy or particularly enjoy a certain book? Are there any games or activities they seem to enjoy more than others? Take inspiration from your little one’s favourite things for their birthday party!

  • Their nursery. Take a look around your baby’s nursery. Does it have a particular theme? If you’re a fan of keeping things en vogue, match your baby’s first birthday party to the birth announcement and nursery for a truly personal approach.

  • Pop culture. Lots of things have happened during your baby’s first year on the planet, and not just in your household. Think back on the year and any key events that took place. Maybe your favourite artist released a new album? Or a big film or TV series swept the nation? A pop culture theme is sure to create special nostalgic memories for your little one to look back on in years to come.

  • The classics. Still stuck for ideas? Why not opt for a trusted classic? There are a wide range of proven hits available, like:

    • Animals, safari, or the zoo

    • Fairy tales or classic stories

    • PJ party

    • Under the sea

    • Princes and princesses

    • Superheroes

    • Outer space

    • Flowers

    • Tea party

    • Seasons or nature themes

    • Sports, like football or tennis.

While picking a theme can be great fun, it’s not necessary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with planning a fun party with classic decorations, like balloons or a banner or cake topper reading ‘Baby’s 1st Birthday Party’.

At the end of the day, the key goal is to have a memorable event. Your little one won’t remember being at their first birthday party when they’re older, but that doesn’t mean they won’t love looking back on the photos and seeing what they looked like as a baby!

When and Where to Throw Your 1-Year-Old’s Birthday Party

Deciding on a theme can help you work out where to throw your little one’s first birthday party. If your budget is on the smaller side, you can opt to host from your home or garden. However, if you’ve opted for a specific theme like a royal theme, picking a location like a villa could help to really capture the ambience.

Other great locations for your baby’s first birthday party include restaurants, playgrounds, campgrounds, and kids’ play areas.

It’s important to keep a number of factors in mind when deciding on where to throw the party.

  • Age. Turning one marks a major milestone for your little one, but keep in mind that they are still a baby. While you may be tempted to plan a fun-filled bash at a play area, remember that your baby and their friends may not be walking yet and won’t be able to participate in organised party activities. Low-key, baby-friendly locations are the best.

  • Guests. Cater to all ages by selecting a venue that offers something for everyone, including parents and older siblings of your baby guests. Other parents will thank you if there are opportunities to enjoy some free time to relax and catch up. We all know how precious those moments can be!

  • Naps. Little ones usually settle down for a nap during the day, so it can be helpful to plan the party around naptime or host it at a location where you and other parents can put your babies down if needed.

When it comes to picking a day, weekends typically work best. You, your friends, and family are more likely to have some free time on Saturday and Sunday, so these are generally the most practical days. But there’s nothing stopping you from hosting a smaller celebration on the day of your baby’s actual birthday.

Who Is On The Guest List?

Once you’ve selected the theme, date and location for this important occasion, it’s time to get to work on the guest list. You may decide to keep things low-key and invite just close family and friends. However, you can also opt to invite extended family, co-workers and other friends with kids for a larger event. It often boils down to the budget and venue, which may have a larger say in the exact numbers than your personal preferences.

Hosting Your Baby’s First Birthday Party

Now you’ve got the main things covered, it’s time to start thinking about the hosting element. Let’s be honest, the most important aspects of any party, including your baby’s first birthday celebration, are good company, tasty food, fun entertainment and lots of pictures to capture those all-important memories.

Coming Up With A Schedule

Your little one and their friends are most likely still on a set sleep schedule. It’s important to account for this when planning the event, ideally by working around naptime or providing a place for babies to get some sleep. That way the little ones can get the rest they need and give the grownups time to chat away!

Here are a few tips you can follow to help create a timeline for the party:

  • Arrival. Let you guests know what time to arrive and find something for them to do when they get there. It can often be helpful to set up a play area so quests can entertain themselves while you spend time welcoming others. If you’ll be hosting in your own home or garden, put out some play mats and toys in the living room or outside to occupy new arrivals.

  • Food. The secret to any great party: food! People typically expect to eat soon after arriving, so don’t hold back when it comes to serving. That being said, we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after the start time to serve food. You could also put out some bowls of snacks for guests to eat when they arrive to stave off any hunger pangs. Ideally, allow around one hour for eating once the food has been served to give guests the opportunity to get seconds and not feel pressured to eat quickly.

  • Activities. The wondrous thing about 1-year-olds is they don’t require any activities! A party to celebrate your little one’s first birthday can be as simple as letting the kiddos play while the grownups mingle. However, there’s nothing stopping you from preparing a few easy group games or activities in advance.

  • Photos. Capture memories to last a lifetime by taking plenty of photos. You could even ask a friend or two if they wouldn’t mind snapping some pics during the party. Budget permitting, you could also hire or create your own photo booth or hire a professional photographer. If you do opt to hire a photographer, see if they could drop by before the party to get some private family photos.

  • Wrapping things up. Make sure you set a specific end time. There’s no need to stop the party at this time, but setting a time gives your guests the opportunity to plan and leave without feeling they’re heading out early.


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Food Inspiration for First Birthday Parties

Food is always one of the top priorities when planning a birthday party for a one-year-old. With a potentially wide range of ages attending, there are a few different dietary requirements to keep in mind. Here are the main types you may need to cater for, depending on who’s coming:

  • Babies and toddlers

  • Older children

  • Adults

  • Anyone with food sensitivities or allergies

  • Anyone with other dietary preferences of restrictions.

You may decide to base your menu around the theme or location of your baby’s first birthday party. If you’ve gone for a prince and princess theme, nothing says royal quite like mini sandwiches and Victoria sponge for the perfect afternoon tea. Whatever you decide on, it’s always a good idea to include some baby and kid-appropriate snacks like

  • Fruits and veggies

  • Cheese and pineapple

  • Mini sandwiches

  • Chicken fingers

  • Jelly

  • Ice lollies

Games and Activities

As we’ve already mentioned, one-year-olds aren’t quite old enough for traditional party games, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on all the fun. We’ve compiled a list of some fun ideas for your little one’s first birthday party:

  • Free play. Set up a designated area for free play. Put out some soft balls, building blocks, cuddly toys, rattles, stacking toys and wooden instruments for your baby guests to play with to their heart’s content.

  • Bubbles. Nothing lights up a child’s face quite like bubbles. They’re great fun for young and old kids alike!

  • Baby photo guessing game. One for the adults! Get each grown up attendee to bring a photo of themselves when they were a baby and try to figure out who is who!

  • Art. While your one-year-old may not quite be ready for pencils and crayons, that doesn’t mean their older siblings aren’t! Set up a little art station for the toddlers at the party and let them bring out their creative side!

  • Dancing. Who doesn’t love a good dance? Guests young and old will love bopping away to some great songs. Why not ask one of the guests to play DJ so you can boogie away with your little one?

Party Bags

There’s absolutely no set rule about dishing out party bags, but it is a fun way to provide your guests with a fun keepsake. And who doesn’t love an extra slice of birthday cake to enjoy later? You don’t need to go all out – a fun bag filled with sweets and homemade goods with happy birthday written on as a fun memento is more than enough.

If you’re looking for something a little more sentimental, you can also order some personalised goods for your guests. Lots of websites offer personalised mugs, magnets, calendars and ornaments. Make sure to order with plenty of time to ensure everything arrives on time!

Baby’s First Birthday Party Checklist

As you may have gathered, planning and preparing your baby’s first birthday party requires some effort, particularly with all the ideas and details to account for. Take advantage of our first birthday checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything off the list! You can also download it for safe keeping.

Baby’s first birthday checklist

The Bottom Line

Turning one marks a major milestone in your baby’s development. The party to celebrate will be one of the most memorable moments in your little one’s life so far, and one you’ll want to treasure forever. Make sure it’s a real hit by selecting a theme or venue that’s near and dear to you and your loved ones. There are a good number of things to keep in mind when planning, but if you use our handy checklist, you’re all set for a great success!

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