The Big ONE: Sweet First Birthday Ideas

First Birthday Party Smash Cake
Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock
Your baby's first birthday is as much of a milestone for you as it is for your little one. Make the day special with these sweet (and easy!) first birthday ideas.

Smashing Cake

Let your baby dig into her birthday cake, toddler-style. Bake (or buy – whatever works!) a first birthday cake for your guests and then have a smaller smash cake or cupcake that your baby can have all to herself.

Parents Magazine
Parents Magazine

Highlight the High Chair

Plan ahead for photo-ops by making the high chair the center of attention. Tape balloons and streamers to the wall behind your baby's high chair (far enough away so they're out of reach) and decorate the front.

Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock
Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock

Add Accessories

Cute accessories, like a birthday sash or tiny crown, can take Baby's big day outfit to the next level. 

Tara Donne
Tara Donne

Snap Happy

By now, you likely have a few gigabytes of baby pictures. Celebrate your little one by using her sweet face!

Tara Donne
Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: You Are My Sunshine

Sunny Sweets: For dessert, serve yellow macarons made to look like suns by pushing drop-shaped candy around the rim.

Bright Buffet: Make the food table light and cheery with yellow napkins, plates, and cups. Cut out 2" to 3" strips of yellow and orange paper and glue them around the back of the plates to form suns.

Happy Tunes: Play songs like "Here Comes the Sun" and "You Are My Sunshine" during the party.

Tara Donne
Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: Alpha-Baby

ABC blocks are standard toys in any baby's collection. The bright colors and iconic shape create a great party motif.

Big Blocks: Use stencils to cut out letters from patterned craft paper, then use a thin colored tape to add a border.

Photo Favors: Create photo stands by hot-gluing a colored paper clip to the back edge of a block.

Boxed Cake: Serve petit fours for dessert; decorate each one to look like an alphabet block.

Tara Donne
Tara Donne

1st Birthday Party Theme: Party Animal

You can't go wrong with a zoo theme for your baby's first-birthday party.

Plastic Parade Set the scene with toy animals wearing party hats – create a conga line of critters. Cut half circles and roll them into cones, then trim if necessary. Glue a pom-pom to the top and 2 thin ribbons inside for a tie.

Take-Home Treat For favors, decorate small brown bags with paw prints (use a 2" and a 3/4" circle punch to create the shape) and fill with animal crackers.

Maja Marjanovic/Shutterstock
Maja Marjanovic/Shutterstock

DIY Your Decor

To save money and personalize your party, try making the decor youself! Click through the next three slides for ideas.

Add some fringed flair to a plain paper lantern.

Crepe Paper Lantern

Follow this tutorial to make a crepe paper lantern.

Transform empty baby food jars into adorable votive holders.

Recycled Baby Food Jars

For first birthday party decorations, find a second use for those cute baby-food jars.

  • Stripe jars of different sizes with washi tape to create mini vases. 
  • To make favors for the adults, use a nail to poke a hole in the top's center and then paint. Fill jar with candy, seal, and insert a lollipop into the hole.
  • Baby-food jars make perfectly sized votive holders.

Stamp your baby's handprint on napkins for an extra special touch to tableware.

Handprint Napkins

Trace your baby's hand onto craft foam, cut out the foam, and glue it to a piece of cardboard to make a stamp. Use letter stamps and a date stamper to add your baby's name or initials and birthday.

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