All birthdays are important, but some are extra special and call for a proper celebration. Families who have recently welcomed a new addition have made it through all the sleepless nights and nappies, and so reaching a first birthday is a real milestone. Whether you are planning a big party or an intimate family gathering, hang out the party balloons and make it an occasion to remember with our special PartyWorld guide to throwing a first birthday party.
Set up your space
Your little one may or may not be on the move, but it’s always worth making sure you have a safe baby-proofed area, especially if you are inviting lots of children. Remove any fragile items and choking hazards, set out a soft play mat and pad any potentially hard edges. Check that you put out toys that are age-appropriate, and it is probably best to put anything special or of sentimental value out of the way! Parents will likely need a safe, clean, private changing area too – provide a changing mat, spare nappies, baby wipes, and a bin, to make things as easy as possible for them.
Pick a theme
A party always flows well if there is a theme helping to create the atmosphere. For a one year old, you might choose a simple idea, like a favourite colour or motif such as a rainbow. Or they might already have cartoon characters, animals, or objects such as diggers and tractors that they show a special affection for! PartyWorld has a wide selection of party theme equipment, featuring favourites such as Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Whatever your choice of theme, you can begin with it on the invitations, and follow it through from décor to food, cake, party bags and even the birthday balloons!
Fancy dress is a great way to get a party going. Other parents will really enjoy getting their little ones dressed up to fit your party theme. Perhaps each child will come as a farmyard animal, or a character from one of your favourite shows. It could be as simple as everyone wearing fairy wings or a mask, but it’s bound to break down any shyness straight away and get everyone having fun from the start. If you are expecting a large group of babies, rather than a variety of ages, you need to choose outfits that won’t cause upset – we all know most 12 month olds hate getting dressed! You could make it a pyjama party, or choose from PartyWorld’s specialized infant fancy dress selection. Or take it one step further, and ask the adults bringing their children to dress up too!
Although one year olds will be too young to play traditional party games, you need to plan how to keep everyone occupied. Sensory play is very popular for babies, so dig out your fairy lights or even hire some special effect lighting for the occasion. Party balloons are a must (and PartyWorld stocks an excellent selection that you can match to your party theme). A bubble machine is always hugely popular with little ones, and when you are putting together your decorations remember babies will find anything with strong colour contrasts, sparkles or shininess the most appealing!
Your one year old might not be criticizing your musical taste yet, but there’s no reason you should have a silent party! Put together a playlist of nursery rhymes, or even better ask a musical friend to lead some songs. Set aside time during your event for everyone to sit down and sing along together, preferably joining in with actions. Provide some child-safe musical instruments to get everyone jamming along. Even if baby can’t join in themselves yet, they will enjoy the sensation of being part of the group singing.
There is no point over complicating this at a first birthday party. Your little one’s friends are likely to be at various different stages of weaning, plus each parent will have different rules about what their child is allowed to eat (especially when it comes to sweet treats!) Most parents will be used to lugging around all the food supplies their baby could possibly need! So think simple and healthy finger foods – vegetable sticks, fruit, perhaps some small pieces of cheese sandwich. Remember a lot of what you provide will end up on the floor – it’s best to create an eating area separate from the main socializing space if possible, to contain the chaos. To add some fun, arrange your finger foods on platters in the shape of smiley faces, rainbows, or even to match your theme. Whatever your approach to food, it’s a good idea to have a large supply of baby wipes, and spare clothes on standby!
A first birthday cake will likely be more about the cute pictures you get of your little one with it, rather than an actual eating experience. So be sure to tie in your cake to your theme by purchasing appropriate decorations and cake toppers. Those big “1” candles are a must to get the perfect picture. There are a whole range of healthier cake recipes out there, so look up ideas that work well for little tummies.
If you are looking for alternatives to the traditional birthday cake, a pinata can be both a way of providing dessert, and a means of keeping everyone entertained! Although one year olds will need some adult guidance, they are likely to really enjoy having a turn at smashing the pinata, which can of course be in the form of something to fit your party theme – check out PartyWorld’s selection of pinata characters for instance. You can fill the pinata with pudding of your choice – and perhaps this will take the form of healthier sweeties that won’t damage new teeth.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, this can be the perfect place to host your party. It allows for more exuberance from the children, and it’s generally easier to baby-proof, especially if you are already used to your child playing there. Outside games can range from sandpit fun to paddling pool splashes; ball pools to bouncy castles. These are all great ways to keep a range of ages and abilities entertained, and to contain the chaos away from your living space! Just be sure to consider any outdoor hazards such as a pond or a drain that needs to be covered, make sure you have plenty of shade and sunscreen available – and of course, have a back-up wet weather plan in place.
Personalise your party
There’s nothing nicer than the personal touch, and although your baby will be too young to appreciate it now, it would be magical to create a keepsake they can enjoy in the future. PartyWorld provides a wonderful selection of personalized products, to give your party that extra sparkle. You could order a personalized pinata to complement your theme. Perhaps get baby bibs or vests printed with your baby’s name and the date; or even get a unique vest made for each baby who attends.
Party bags are a lovely final touch to send your guests away with. Although small gifts are potential choking hazards for young children, and should be avoided, there are still plenty of ways to make a party bag special for your child’s first birthday. Board books make excellent party gifts, as do bubbles or soft toys. Whatever you choose, it will become a special memento of an important day that you can look back on with joy.
Whether it’s your baby’s first birthday or their 18th, PartyWorld is the place to visit for all your party supplies! From party balloons and costumes to decorations, tableware and personalized gifts, make sure your party is extra special by visiting PartyWorld.