1st Birthday Themes for Babies

1st birthday party

Babies have a lot going on around the time of their first birthdays. Many speak their first words and take their first steps near their birthdays. They are busy!

A birthday party will be a new experience. Frankly, first birthday parties are more ABOUT the baby than for the baby. To have the best chance that your baby will actually enjoy the party, keep it short and simple.

When you want to create eco-friendly parties, you may not want to buy character branded throwaway cups, plates, and decorations. Party-in-a-box may not be your way. With a little extra creativity, you can throw an eco-friendly first birthday party that is sensitive to your baby’s development and needs.


1st Birthday Theme Ideas

If you are looking for a theme for your baby’s birthday party, try a simple idea around their favorite things: shapes, animals, or colors.


Bubbles & Balls Party Theme

Reusable kids birthday party hat

Decorations. Rather than balloons, decorate with toys. The balls on the walls can be added to your baby’s toy box after the party. Our reusable party hats have a bubble theme and our reusable party banners have pom-poms to carry the theme through.

Games & Activities. If your party guests will just be babies and their parents, blowing soap bubbles may be enough of a game by itself. If you have older children at the party, have one or more people blow bubbles while the job of the children is to pop all of the bubbles before they reach the ground.

Food. Cake molds are available in all sorts of shapes, including balls. You may not want to serve a meal if you are trying to keep the party short, but snack foods can also follow the bubbles and balls theme with blueberries or melon balls.

Favors. If the guests are babies, share the ball decorations at the end of the party or give each older guest a bottle of soap bubbles. If you are looking for a keepsake toy to give as a favor, the HABA Trioli clutch toy follows the bubbles & balls theme.

HABA wooden toy with balls


Animal Party Theme

Children with animal facepaint

Decorations. Use stuffed animals as decorations. Set up animal scenes using toys, play cloths, and other items you already have on hand. If you like hats, you can print images of animals and attach them to a headband for each guest.

Games & Activities. For babies, print the images of a dozen different animals on cards. Give each baby a card and ask them to make the noise the animal makes. Have everyone else guess the animal. For older children, you could play the same game without sounds making it animal charades. Of course, you could always play Stick the Tail on any animal. (Don’t use pins with babies.) You could even make the game a gift with the Endangered Species Memory Game, though this is a game that the baby would probably need to grow into. Face painting is always a favorite, so each child could choose a favorite animal to be for the party.

Food. Use small animal-shaped cookie cutters to make cookies. You can do the same with slices of melon or toast.

Favors. I like to make kids’ party favors a nice gift that children will use. Organic cotton soft animal toys have enough personality to keep the attention of a one year old baby, and they have balls on the hands and feet for chewing and teething. Animal bookmarks also make a nice party favor for the guests ages 3+, especially if they are tucked into a small animal book.

Reusable bookmarks animals


Favorite Color Party Theme

Natural rubber duck

Start your preparations for the party by letting your baby choose an outfit in her favorite color. My daughter chose everything yellow by the time she was one year old.

Decorations. You can make the theme color dominant without making absolutely everything the same color.

Games & Activities. Have everyone name things that are yellow, calling out as soon as they can think of something. If the children are very young, go slowly. If all of the guests are babies and not yet talking, ask them to point, choosing yellow things from groups. For older children, let each choose their own favorite color and draw on the windows with window and glass crayons. This can be a helpful activity to keep older children occupied if the babies need a break for a while.

Food. Orange juice popsicles are yellow, and cheese and crackers will also keep to a yellow theme. Even if your theme color is blue, it isn’t very hard to find food that will fit. Pretzels dipped in blueberry yoghurt are blue and so are blueberries.

Favors. A bright yellow rubber duck really screams yellow. Playsilks also make nice but inexpensive party favor for a baby. Be sure that whatever you choose is safe for babies. Stay away from the small parts on wooden cars, for example. If you like ducks for a yellow party, HABA also makes a yellow duck clutch toy.

HABA wooden clutch toy duck


A Few Ideas to Keep in Mind

  • Schedule the party after nap time. You want your guest of honor to be at his or her best.
  • Keep the party time short. Don’t let the party linger on long enough that the smallest guests start to miss their routines.
  • Keep the guest list short. If your baby tends to cling to you and avoid crowds, you don’t want to create an uncomfortable situation. There are plenty of years for bigger parties ahead.
  • Vary the activities. Not all of the guests will necessarily be babies, so plan activities and favors for older siblings as well.
  • Sing the baby’s favorite song. In addition to a birthday song, sing a song that the birthday baby loves to keep spirits high.
  • Have two cakes. The first time a baby meets a cake, expect a mess. It works well to have a cupcake or small cake for the baby and another to serve to the rest of the guests.
  • No small parts. Watch out for games or favors with small parts. A one-year old baby will still put almost anything in his mouth.


Games & Activities Especially for 1st Birthday Parties

Baby Photo Guessing. Ask each adult and older child to bring a copy of a baby photo then have everyone guess whose photo is whose.

Keepsake Album. With the baby photos, ask each guest to create a page for a keepsake album for the baby. Take photos at the party to add to these pages. Have guests list their own first words and add best wishes for the baby.

Image © Niderlander | Dreamstime.com

4 thoughts on “1st Birthday Themes for Babies

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