Super 1st Birthday Party Ideas

Coming up with 1st birthday party ideas can be overwhelming…yet fun!  Your baby is turning one year old!  How exciting is that?  It’s a huge milestone for both baby and parents.  You’ve probably already cheered and celebrated each little development throughout the first year.  Now it’s time to share those moments by celebrating with family and friends.

Keep in mind your child is not going to remember this party.  I believe this party is more for the parents who haven’t had a chance to sleep, let alone party, during baby’s first year! Okay, just kidding…you really just need an excuse to get a new wardrobe for the kid, since they most likely have outgrown everything from the baby shower! Okay, kidding again…it’s all about the birthday child!  Hooray!

I remember my twin daughter's first birthday.  It was a huge celebration, especially since they spent the first 3 months of life in a neonatal intensive care unit.  It was a celebration of true survival that first year of life!  We had a wonderful party and I will always remember it. As of this writing, we just celebrated their 23rd birthday.  Life sure has been crazy since that first birthday!  One day, you too will look back fondly at this first birthday party and wonder where the time went. Be sure to take plenty of photos!

1st Birthday Party Ideas

Here are some 1st birthday party ideas that include simple and creative ways to make centerpieces, decorations, party favors, invitations, and ideas for 1st birthday cakes. Be inspired by the ideas shown here and then feel free to  tweak them to come up with your own personalized 1st birthday party ideas:

1st Birthday Invitations

1st Birthday Centerpieces

1st Birthday Favors

1st Birthday Cakes

1st Birthday Party Themes

The fact that you’re planning a first birthday party means your theme is…well, the number “1”.  But many like to have a secondary theme, too.  Some themes to consider are:

  • Sports

  • Popular characters
  • Favorite Storybook
  • Balloons

You might even get inspired by cute patterns you've seen on some plates and napkins or from a favorite toy that your child likes.

Whatever theme you choose, remember the number “1” is still your main theme and it should be reflected throughout your birthday party decorations.

1st Birthday Party Ideas for

1st birthday invitations are available in many stores, but if you really want to be creative then make your own homemade invitations!  Homemade invitations are a 1st birthday party idea that are easy to do, especially if you have a computer or printer. But, you can still make really cute invitations without a printer, too.  Here are a couple unique ideas:

Cute Photo Invitation Idea

Print or copy a cute photo of your child and attach it to a piece of scrapbook paper.  Cut the picture to desired shape and fit.  Next, glue the photo to a piece of the scrapbook paper to create a “frame” around the photo. A 3”x5” or 4”x6” size would work well.  Write the party details on the back side with a Sharpie marker. Use a ruler to draw lines to write information on it, if needed.

Tip:  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of prints and colors of scrap book papers to choose from!  Find them wherever scrapbook supplies are sold such as Michael’s,  JoAnne Fabrics, or even Wal-Mart stores.

#1 Scrapbook Paper Invitations

Another idea using scrapbooking paper…cut out a large number “1” from it, making it your invite.  You can make each invite the same or use different patterns.  A small floral print in pastel colors or a fun vintage print would be fun! Or look for papers with toys, cars, or anything else that would go with your party theme.   Write party information on the back. 


 Black & White Photo Invite

Black and white photos are popular.  Print a cute photo of your child in black and white for the background.  Then use a colored Sharpie to write party information directly on the photo, avoiding the child’s face, of course. Fold paper in thirds and mail in regular letter envelopes.

Cute Animal Invitations

Write party information on a small gift card or tag.  Attach tag to a cute small toy or stuffed animal using ribbon or twine. Use a hole puncher to make hole for tying the tag.

Cookie Tin Invitation

Write the number “1” and birthday child’s name on a large cookie using cookie icing. Deliver the yummy invites to guests in a box or tin that has party details written on it, or use cute printed labels.

Create your own personalized label on this Create-A-Cookie TinCreate-A-Cookie Tin

 T-Shirt Invitations

Purchase plain T-shirts. Use fabric paint to write a “#1” on the front.  Write the birthday child’s name on back side of the shirt. Like a sports jersey.  Include party information on a tag or paper and pin it to shirt. You can also ask guests, or children of guest’s, to wear the shirt to party.

Party Tip:  Use 2 different colored shirts and then at party create teams for party games based on shirt colors.


 Party Hat Invitations

Make a party hats with a decorated number “1” on them and add party info on back side. Mail it flat.  Ask party goers to bring hat with them to wear at party.

Party Tip: write a “secret code” or letter inside each hat..  Tell guests they’ll receive a special prize at the party if their hat has the winning secret code.


No time to create your own birthday invitations? 

No problem, here are super cute ones you can purchase:

Have a cupcake themed party with these adorable First Birthday Girl Novelty Invitations Pkg/8. So cute!

First Birthday Girl Novelty Invitations Pkg/8

And for the boys... First Birthday Boy Novelty Invitations Pkg/8.

First Birthday Boy Novelty Invitations Pkg/8

Girls First Vertical Invitation Personalized Vertical Invitation

Girls First Vertical Invitation Personalized Vertical Invitation

Boys First Vertical Invitation Personalized Vertical Invitation

Boys First Vertical Invitation Personalized Vertical Invitation

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1st Birthday Party Ideas for

Picture Frame Centerpieces

Place framed pictures of your baby that reflect some of the milestones accomplished during his/her first year. For example, use photographs of the:

  • first bite of cereal or peas
  • first bath
  • first visit with grandparents
  • first time crawling
  • first holiday celebrations

Use different frame sizes to make it interesting.  Paint the frames, if desired, for a more uniform look. Make them all white, or use your party colors.  Check out dollar stores for some good deals on frames.  You can also add flowers, candles, or a cupcake bouquet in between or in the center of them framed photos to complete the look.

These are adorable! Use these Chalkboard Square Black Frame as part of your centerpiece, or to hand out as favors after the party. Frames can be wiped clean and re-used, too.

Chalkboard Square Black Frame

"Lace" Framed Photo

Paste a photo of your baby (trimmed to fit) onto a paper doily, creating a lacy “frame” around it. Then attach it to floral wire or some type of stick.  This allows you to insert it into flower arrangements or elsewhere. Be creative!

Styrofoam #1 Centerpiece

Cut a number “1” out of a piece of Styrofoam, using sharp knife.  Then, decorate or paint it. Place several small ones down center of table, or use a large one in the center.  Secure to a solid base to prevent from tipping, if necessary.

Foam allows for plenty of easy decorating options.  It’s lightweight, it’s easy to stick or glue things onto it, and it’s easy to cover or paint. Cover the foam with whatever you’d like.  Perhaps silk daisies, lace or pearls for a girl birthday.  Use baby photos, fabric, ribbon, a cute camouflage print or paint blue for a boy birthday. Use your imagination and have fun!

This idea also makes a great craft project for an older sibling, making them feel included in the birthday party planning, too. 

Edible Centerpieces

Make a cute lollipop centerpiece or a cupcake bouquet.  They are fun to make and fun to eat! Edible centerpieces can be made from many different food items.  See all the  foods that can be turned into delicious edible centerpieces and be inspired to come up with some of your own 1st birthday party ideas using food!

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1st Birthday Party Ideas for

There are plenty of cute birthday favors available for purchase, or you can make your own homemade 1st birthday favors!  Here are some unique ones:

Filled Jar Favors

Fill empty, and thoroughly washed, baby food jars with candy or mints.  Then, glue a cute fabric square to top of lid.  Tie ribbon or twine around edge of lid.  Glue in place, if necessary.  Add a sticker or label to the front of jar with a “thank you” written on it. A small jelly jar would work equally as well.

These cute Favor Jar With Fabric Cover Kit Pkg/18 makes it easy.

Favor Jar With Fabric Cover Kit Pkg/18

These are equally as cute! Simply fill with small candies and cork the bottle. Corked Jar Favor Kit Pkg/18

Corked Jar Favor Kit Pkg/18

Don't forget the candy for your favor jars...

Personalized MY M&M'S® - Makes a great birthday party favor!

Sippy Cup Idea

Fill a cute “sippy” cup with candies or small toys.  Hand out to young guests. (Caution: Be sure toys are appropriate for age!)

 Cupcake In a Cup

Another cute 1st birthday party idea for a favor is to place an individual decorated cupcake into a small clear plastic cup. Removing cupcake liners or baking the cupcakes directly in pan will make it easier for guests to eat directly from the cup. (For taller cups, you can stack two on top of each other, as shown in photo here).  Wrap each cup with plastic, or use basket wrap.  Tie a ribbon at the top and attach a label or sticker thanking guests for coming to the party on the front of cup.  Or, attach a gift tag with handwritten note on it. This is a great idea if you are serving one large cake for the party, therefore allowing guests to take cake home, too!  As an option, attach a plastic fork or spoon to go with it.

Personalized Lollipops

Hand out lollipops to each guest.  Personalize them with fun stickers or labels that thank the guests for coming.   These would also be great for a lollipop or a candy themed 1st birthday party idea.  See more about lollipop centerpieces here.

Birthday Milk Chocolate Lollipops Personalized Milk Chocolate Lollipop

Birthday Milk Chocolate Lollipops Personalized Milk Chocolate Lollipop

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1st Birthday Party Ideas for

#1 Cake Pan #1 Cake Pan

A child’s 1st birthday cake can be quite a messy, but thrilling, experience! 

The first bite of birthday cake for baby is usually given from either a small separate cake just for them, or a slice of a larger cake.  It could also be a large cupcake.  Be sure you have a camera ready because it’s sure to provide some great photo opportunities! The birthday child will probably laugh or cry at this experience, depending on his/her personality. Now, if your child happens to be one of those intense-thinker types and just stares at the cake, you may need to gently take their tiny hand and place it on the cake to get them started.  What…you don’t want to disappoint all those guests who are watching and waiting for that big messy moment, do you?    

It would be wise to place baby in a high chair with a drop cloth underneath for this event!  You can use any old sheet or drop cloth, or you can purchase a cute 1st birthday party one like this:

Lil' Angel High Chair Kit

Lil' Angel High Chair Kit

Themed 1st Birthday
Party Ideas...

Ladybug Theme Party

A popular 1st birthday party idea or a younger kids party idea is to have a ladybug theme.  Black and red are the colors used. You could include some green, for grass, if you want, such as using a solid green tablecloth to place cute patterned plates on.  Certain times of the year you can actually purchase live ladybugs!  I remember checking it out when my kid's were small, but it was the wrong time of year to get them. I thought it would be fun for the kid's to release them in our yard and would be good for the yard, too! Some garden stores or pet stores may be able to help you with that.  If not, look online. 

For decorating, start by purchasing some cute ladybug patterned tableware.  Then, create fun ladybugs out of food items that the kid's can eat.  Make them out of rice crispy treats, or decorate the top of cupcakes to resemble the ladybugs, use ladybug picks, or simply frost with red icing and place chocolate chips evenly around to resemble the spots of the ladybug.  Black icing could also be used.

Add red & black balloons and you've got a fun ladybug them party for the kiddies!

Buy this wonderful Ladybug Fancy Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle and all you have to worry about is making the food!

Ladybug Fancy Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle

Bake your own cake using this cute Ladybug Cake Pan. Easy pattern to decorate.

Ladybug Cake Pan

Protect your floor or carpet from food and spills with this Lively Ladybugs "Happy 1st Birthday" High Chair Kit

Lively Ladybugs

Don't forget ladybug favors! These are perfect... Ladybug Bubble Bottles

Ladybug Bubble Bottles

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Race Car Theme Party

Ready! Set! Go!  A fun 1st birthday party idea for a boy is to create a  a race car themed party?  Make or purchase black and white checkered flags to insert into your centerpiece.  Make a cake with a race track piped in icing, and then place small plastic toy cars on the track.  Make favors by filling up small jars or cups with black and white M&M candies, or other edibles.

For a party game idea...have a race!  Each child can be assigned a lane, which you can make using colored duct tape on the ground.  Pin a number on each racer's back, which you can make ahead of time from construction paper.  Then let the race begin!  Give a small prize to everyone for participating in the race and a winners ribbon or small trophy for the 1st place winner.

Make the birthday boy feel like a real champ with this cute 1st Birthday Champ Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit.

1st Birthday Champ Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit

How perfect are these for a race care themed birthday party Race Car Candle Set Pkg/4.
Race Car Candle Set Pkg/4

Winning 1st birthday party idea!

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Zoo Animal Theme Party

A cute 1st birthday party idea is to have zoo animal theme.  Start with cute plates, cups, and napkins.  Add a few balloons, and you're on your way!  Use cute stuffed animals as part of your decorations by placing them around the table.  Add small plastic animals to your cake and create "zoo" foods to eat. 

For example:

  • Make sugar cookies and draw zebra stripes on them with cookie icing
  • Have a bowl of cut up fruit or banana slices and label it "monkey food"
  •  Have bowls of peanuts in the shell with a tag that says elephant food
  • You can also make rice crispy treats and mold them into an animal shape
  • Make a lollipop centerpiece with lollipops that have an animal sticker placed on the front of the wrapper

Sweet At One Girl Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit

Sweet At One Girl Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit

If there are older children, plan a fun party game like zoo races! Each race must be run like a specific animal would run.  For example, an elephant race must be run with hands held in front of you like a trunk.  A zebra race must run like a horse gallop, an ape race must be run with hands on ground too.  Give the racers an example of how they should run before each race.

Hand out these adorable Mini Zoo Animals as prizes, or as party favors.

Mini Zoo Animals

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