1st Birthday Party Ideas

Have a Fun and Memorable Celebration

Before we start talking about 1st Birthday Party Ideas, let me mention from a mom who did it "all" for my daughters first birthday, I'm here to tell you that you don't need to do it all. In fact, very little really since they won't even remember it. But if like me the thought of planning your child’s 1st birthday excites you to no end and you have to do it all or at least some part of all……………… then here we go!

Celebrating your child's 1st birthday is that one birthday that is usually reserved for family and friends (since your child is probably not going to have a great group of friends .......yet). Because this is usually a family affair you may have guests with a variety of ages. This will be important when we're planning party favors, activities, food, etc. Or it might be a birthday with just a handful of toddlers at a park. Do what feels right for you and your child. It’s a good idea to invite the parents of your young guests as well.

Before looking at 1st birthday party ideas, decide what kind of party you want. Normally I would say to ask your child what kind of party they want but because their turning 1, this time and only this time will you have your say.

The party should be something your child will enjoy, although at this age, running around, falling down, getting up and running around again is thrilling enough. They’re so happy to be free and out of those strollers and high chairs that this alone can be your entertainment (but we do have some real ideas for entertainment coming up).

Does your child have a favorite show or character? What character or show makes your child scream with excitement? When my daughter was 1 1/2 years old we went to Disney world and as we approached the entrance she started screaming with delight "Kiki Kiki" (baby talk for Mickey). So of course her 2nd birthday was a Mickey Mouse birthday.

If your child shows excitement towards some character or some show; that's a good place to start forming and idea for a birthday party theme. Otherwise, knowing whom you will invite can help you decide if you want to have the party in your backyard or perhaps a picnic at the park or at a child’s party place. The possibilities for 1st birthday party ideas are endless. Think about whom you will be inviting and if you want entertainment, what would you like it to be.

We celebrated my oldest daughter’s first birthday at the Seaquarium because they made it easy for us. You brought your supplies (tablecloths, plates, etc.) a few days before and they did all the set up so when you arrived the party area was ready to go. The other reason we chose this party location was because they provided built-in entertainment. There were 4 different shows and opportunities to feed some of the animals, like the manatee.

When deciding on 1st Birthday party ideas, smaller is usually better. At this age after and hour or two they usually start to get cranky. So think it terms of 1 to 2 hour parties. 2-hour parties are good for accommodating varying nap times because it allows early nappers to come later and late nappers to leave early. That's just long enough time for little ones to have fun!

1st Birthday Party Ideas

Venues (Locations)

  • Gymboree
  • My Gym
  • At Home
  • Park
  • Petting Farm
  • Mommy & Me Locations
  • Children's Museum
  • Attraction Park (Seaquarium)

Party Theme Ideas

  • There are many 1st birthday party ideas and below are just some of the more popular ones.  Remember that many of themes come in baby characters ( for example Baby Mickey)
  • 1st Birthday Theme
  • Baby Princess
  • Baby Einstein
  • Baby Owl
  • Barney
  • Blues Clues
  • Care Bears
  • Cars
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Circus
  • Curious George
  • Dinosaur Dora
  • Disney Princess
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Elmo
  • Farm Animals
  • Fisher Price
  • Goodnight Moon
  • Handy Manyy
  • Jungle Animals
  • Ladybug
  • Little Mermaid
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Monkey
  • Personalized
  • Peter Rabit
  • Princess
  • Sesame Street
  • Teletubbies
  • Thomas the Tank
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Zoo Party


Once you have decided on your party theme you can use the colors and the concept of your party theme to decorate. For example:

If your theme is Little Mermaid, you can decorate with a "pretend" Under the Sea setting by having a bubble machine and hanging blue balloons from the ceiling.  In this theme there are so many bright and beautiful colors that there are many possible combinations.

Entertainment Ideas

There are many fun things to do with 1 year olds, include any of the following for a wonderful time.

  • Foam Building Blocks
  • Bubbles
  • Balls
  • Music Games
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Coloring Pages and Clunky crayons
  • Playdough
  • Finger-Painting
  • Sprinklers  (careful with the sprinkler heads)
  • Musical Chairs
  • Parachute Games
  • Ball Pit (can use small inflatable pool with balls)
  • Wagon Rides 

Party Food Ideas

Always check with parents about any possible allergies

  • Fresh Fruit Cups
  • Veggie Sticks with dressing
  • Goldfish
  • Pasta
  • Bagel with Cream Cheese
  • PB & J Sandwiches
  • Animal Crackers
  • Cheerios
  • Juice Boxes
  • Water
  • Ice Cream
  • Cake

Join the Party!