40+ Unique First Birthday Party Ideas
Singing “happy birthday” to your baby for the first time? Here are some 1st birthday party themes to help you celebrate.
It feels like just yesterday you were talking about names and nursery colors, and now you’re discussing guests, games and birthday gifts for your baby’s first birthday. How is your baby one already?! If figuring out the right first birthday theme is stressing you out, then your best friends over at Chatbooks are here to save the day. Whether you’re looking for color specific themes, Instagram-worthy party decorations or anything in between, we’ve got baby’s 1st birthday party ideas just for you.
Once it’s time to actually enjoy the first birthday party you spent all that time organizing, don’t forget to be in the moment and celebrate with your friends and family. After the big celebration (and their first birthday photoshoot), you’re going to have a lot of photos you’ll want to get off your phone, and into your hands. Print your favorite photos in your fave subscription, Monthbooks, and send the grandparents a copy in a Classic Photo Book.
Celebrate your tiny animal lovers’ first birthday with a woodland theme in your house, backyard or at a park. Go for animal prints and earth tones like greens and browns for decorations, and put all your stuffed animals to good use by placing them around different areas of your party.
If you’re having trouble choosing a color for your soon-to-be 1-year-old’s birthday party, why not go with the color associated with their birth month? Jewel tones are classic, and you can use different shades of the color to create a monochrome color palette that’ll impress your guests!
If you have a baby that’s into trucks—or is always getting messy—embrace their passion for getting down in the dirt with an outdoor party. Stick toy trucks as toppers onto their cake and use every circle (from the cake to the plates) as an excuse to use tire decor. This is the perfect time to break out all your Hot Wheels!
If you have a sandbox—or your family’s been itching to get one—a Safari-themed birthday party is the perfect excuse to break it out. Use hard or plastic toy animals (or grab them from the dollar store), and go for animal print or yellow and orange colors when picking out decorations. Let the kids see what animals they can find in the sand!
Head under the sea with blues, greens and bubbles, oh my! Think ocean-themed snacks like crab-shaped cookies and sea-themed dinnerware like clam-shaped napkins. Your Little Mermaid lovers will have a fin-tastic time, and you can always go for an ocean theme if you’re looking for a gender neutral idea.
If astrological signs are important to your family, or you find them incredibly cool, you can’t go wrong with a horoscope theme. Go for stars and moons when picking out decor, and find a backdrop with the constellation that represents your child's zodiac sign. And if you follow the Chinese Zodiac, you can even gift your little one with a toy animal that represents their zodiac sign.
Don’t want to pick one color? Have ’em all! Dress your 1-year-old in rainbow colors and go for bright colors when it comes to desserts and decor. You can’t go wrong with a multi-color ball pit, and when it comes to the birthday cake, don’t be afraid to cover the frosting in bold, multi-color sprinkles.
A Year in Photos
It’s wild to think how fast your baby’s first year has flown by, though it’s no surprise you took a million pictures to document every sneeze, diaper blow-out and cuddle. Whether you have framed photos, or gorgeous Monthbooks featuring every stage of your baby’s life so far on the cover, celebrate every achievement and every month as your little one grows with the best backdrop of all: Your baby!
You know the song and your kids do, too, so what better way to celebrate your baby’s affinity for the song than with a baby shark themed first birthday party? Go for underwater and gray, silver and white colored decor, plus any foods you serve can have cute nicknames like “great white snow cones” or “hammerhead cupcakes.”
If your 1-year-old is as sweet as a peach, you already have the perfect theme picked out. Go for soft oranges, reds, pinks and yellows when thinking of decor, but go hard on the fruits and sweets! Adding dried peaches on top of desserts will make for a sweet surprise, too.
Why choose one thing to base their 1st birthday party around when you can celebrate with all their favorites? If your little one loves dolls, bananas and Taylor Swift songs, that’s all you need! Go for banana-flavored desserts, blast some T-Swizzle and break out all the dolls your baby has accumulated. They may not remember it, but it’ll be the party of their dreams!
This is your excuse to snap photos of your baby with a floral crown! Think soft, neutral hues with grasses and plants, in addition to vintage decor, will make for a super dreamy first birthday party.
If you’ve got a little one that’s always on the move, this is the theme for your busy bee. Go for yellow and black decor and outfits, and choose honey-flavored or honeycomb-looking treats, like honey-flavored candies, Teddy Grahams, or just yellow and black adorned foods and desserts.
For spring birthday parties, pastels are a no-brainer. From soft blues and greens to purples and pinks, pastels are great for decor like tablecloths and balloons to outfits for your 1-year-old. And who doesn’t love pastel-colored desserts?!
Go with this theme for a creative take on your little superhero’s smash cake party! Pick a cake, bowl of whipped cream, or whatever dessert you’d like in front of your baby (superhero outfits are totally appropriate here, too), and let them smash away as you get tons of cute photos. If you need more smash cake ideas, we’ve got you covered.
It’s no surprise that kids of all ages love balloons, which works out perfect because balloons make for an amazing backdrop. Use balloons of their favorite color or toy (like firetruck-themed balloons), or go for a hot air balloon theme and incorporate rainbows and patterns you may see in the sky.
Winnie the Pooh
You don’t need to name your baby Christopher Robin to celebrate their first birthday with this theme. Go for red shirts and honey-themed dishes and desserts (and honey-flavored, bear-shaped Teddy Grahams are a perfect snack for this party), and paint jars and vases from the dollar store to look like Winnie’s honey pots.
When it comes to unicorns, think pastels, glitter, and rainbow decor, though anything sparkly and colorful will work. Whether you go for a sugar-filled piñata or pointy party hats that can be used as “unicorn horns” instead, your little one will love seeing their fantasy come to life!
Your baby is going to have a lot of firsts, and quite a few of those firsts will happen before their first birthday party—so why not celebrate with them? Use a table to display important items like the first baby blanket or first pacifier, and screen any photos or videos of firsts, like the first time trying solid food, or the first time they rolled over.
Eric Carle’s iconic children’s story is full of colors, imagination… and food! Arrange cupcakes to look like the shape of the hungry caterpillar (bonus points if the frosting mimics the caterpillar’s colors), and set up snacks from the story, like apples, lollipops and pickles — and don’t be afraid to make a few look like they’ve had a bite taken out of them!
First Trip Around the Sun
This super cute theme is all about sunshine (or, the Milky Way if you want to go for an interplanetary theme). Go for bright yellows and oranges to celebrate your baby’s first trip around the sun with their 1st birthday party! They’re the center of your universe, so it only makes sense to base your entire party around the sun. Bonus points if you sing, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”
It’s a pARTy!
Break out all the art projects for this one, from a watercolor squirt gun and DIY clouds to rainbow bubble art and outer space sensory bottles. Set up tables for crafts and art projects, and plenty of protective layers if there’ll be any paint or glue.
Getting Down and Dirty
If your little one is always getting dirty—and let’s face it, when aren’t the kids coming home with mud and dirt all over them?—this DIY mud play area is perfect for avoiding messes but indulging in fun. Using brown paint, ziploc bags and tape, you can create a no-mess mud pit anywhere. Just add toys and let the kids use their imaginations!
While your 1-year-old may not be able to win gold quite yet, your future Olympian (and older party guests!) can participate in Olympic-themed backyard games that are fun for the whole family! The kids can work on Olympic-themed crafts while you chow down on the super tasty gold medals you created.
While your little ones may not understand your Lunchables references, charcuterie boards are all the rage for a reason—is it even possible to grow out of your cheese and crackers phase? Even if they can’t appreciate the display, build a charcuterie board your kids will love! From cheese and crackers to sausage and grapes, there’s plenty to choose from. And if your kids have more of a sweet tooth, take inspiration from this sugary take on the classic charcuterie board.
It may be too soon to see if your 1-year-old has a green thumb, but your little sprout sure has grown these past few months! Celebrate their milestones with a craft all your guests will love, and one that will grow alongside your baby. Try this drip paint method for super cute and easy painted pots to add your plant or flower of choice into! Who doesn’t love going home with a party favor they can enjoy for years to come?
At only one year of age, your baby probably loves sticking their hands into everything (and then their mouth). This super easy and aesthetically pleasing edible foam is perfect for your 1-year-old and their guests to play, toss and even put in their mouths. Keep ‘em entertained while you snap the best photos!
Your little one may not have been born in the ‘90s, but it sure was a decade to remember! Whether you were born in the ‘90s or just love the aesthetic, you know it’ll be a theme your guests will love. From Dunkaroos and Cosmic Brownies to decor based around Nintendo and AOL Instant Messaging, these are the memories you’ll want to snap pics of.
Kids love slime. You know it, we know it, and they know it. It’s fun to stretch and mash, but not so fun when they put it in their mouth—and you know your baby will definitely see if they can eat it. Instead, whip up a batch of edible slime for your little one (and any other young guests) to enjoy.
A slip ‘n slide may be too advanced for your little one, but if the weather’s warm and you want some pics of your baby in their super cute swimsuit, use a sprinkler for a safer, easier version of a pool party? And don’t worry about buying a sprinkler if you don’t have one, as long as you have a hose you can DIY a sprinkler that all your guests will totally love! And if you need another outdoor game to play while you dry off, try outdoor tic-tac-toe.
Head outside to your backyard or a local park for a reading of The Giving Tree and choose an activity that goes with the book’s central theme of compassion and volunteerism — like making art that can be hung in hospitals or care facilities. (Even if your 1-year-old isn’t the best at coloring inside the lines yet!). Instead of presents, ask guests to make a donation to a local charity.
If your 1-year-old’s birthday party is headed to Isla Nublar for a visit to Jurassic Park, this is a great time to break out that inflatable dino costume you’ve been holding onto for the past few Halloweens. Grab your kids’ dinosaur toys and hide them indoors or outdoors, between cushions, bushes or in a sandbox. Place them in gelatin or plastic eggs so the little ones have to dig or hatch the dinos they find.
Even though they’re not old enough to play Hogwarts Legacy (or discern the difference between, “it's leviOsa, not levioSA!”), you can’t go wrong with a magical theme. Draw a tiny lightning bolt on the birthday girl or boy’s forehead, plus add them to and Harry’s iconic glasses to any desserts you serve, and create “wand” snacks out of pretzel sticks. Place 4 objects featuring Hogwarts House colors in front of your infant and see which one they choose! And don’t forget to write “Happee Birthday” on your child’s cake, just like Hagrid did for Harry.
Between encores of “Let It Go” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” your baby’s favorite Disney singalongs are the perfect soundtrack, and theme, for their 1st birthday party. Turn the party into a karaoke sing-a-long, break out any dolls or toys featured in the movies, and dress your little one like the main character they love.
Alice in Wonderland
From miniature cakes and tea drinks to funny hats and caterpillars, this whimsical theme is perfect for going wild with decor, food and drinks of all different sizes and shapes. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a bunny, stopwatch or deck of cards for decorations, and don’t forget: We’re all mad here!
Somewhere, over the rainbow… your 1-year-old is celebrating their birthday! Set out multi-colored foods, from carrots to M&Ms, and different backdrops, plates and napkins, and entertainment (like pool noodles or party hats) to stay on theme. The best part is, you can use any colors you want, so no worries about coordinating!
Whether you have access to a pool, an inflatable kiddie pool, or aren’t planning to use a water feature at all, your pint-sized privateer can celebrate their birthday in style—and avoid walking the plank. Hand out eye patches, serve up bowls of Pirate’s Booty to snack on, plus set up tiny treasures for guests to find, like doubloons (aka gold chocolate coins).
There’s one thing all kids understand, and that’s the power of candy. And while this event isn’t Halloween, you can’t go wrong with sugary treats on the buffet table and a piñata filled with mystery candy. While the birthday baby may not be able to take a whack at the piñata themselves, you can dress them up as your preferred candy and go super sweet with all the decor.
Night Under the Stars
Hang a sheet indoors or outdoors, set up a projector, and spread out tons of blankets for a super personalized show. Your baby’s first birthday is all about the milestones they’ve accomplished, the memories you’ve already made with them (even if they can’t remember), and the amazing future ahead. Take a moment to showcase your favorite photos and videos of your 1-year-old with family and friends using a projector for a night under the stars, dedicated to your baby.
This classic story, which may have been one of your favorites as a child, is awesome for your future marine biologist. If your little one is in awe of their fish toys and stuffed animals (or The Rainbow Fish is their favorite bedtime story), channel gray, blue, shimmery silver and small pops of color to bring the iconic story to life. Serve foods like fish sticks and Swedish Fish to stay in-theme, and dress your birthday baby in blues and shimmery colors, too.
Don’t be afraid to go for it when it comes to your baby’s first birthday party! Party planning can be stressful, which is why these unique 1st birthday party ideas can help you cut down on researching and get to planning! And after the hour spent organizing decor and outfits, you’re going to want to save every moment from their first party. Print every photo from their first birthday in a super high-quality photo book like a beautiful Classic Photo Book, or add pics into your Monthbooks or Monthly Mini photo book subscription.
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Classic Photo Books
$7 a month
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Classic Photo Books
From $10 a month
$7 a month
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$7 a month
Classic Photo Books
From $10 a month