Party Plans for a 1-Year-Old's Birthday

by Mandi Titus

A first birthday is a milestone event, not celebrating baby's first year of life but your first year as new parents. Baby's special day requires advance planning to ensure that the party goes as smoothly as possible. When preparing for the party, it is important to keep your baby's temperament in mind, as most kids prefer quiet activities at this age, making a large, overwhelming party a stressful event for the guest of honor.

Guest List

Choose the guest list for you baby's party carefully. Focus on family members and close friends. If you think your baby can handle a crowd, expand your guest list, and invite friends from your prenatal classes, friendly neighbors or families you are close to from your child's preschool or daycare. If your baby is overwhelmed easily, consider having a special celebration for just your immediate family, avoiding any outside visitors.

Location and Timing

Home is usually the best place for baby's first birthday, as it is a familiar environment and is likely already baby-proof, ensuring she will stay safe during the celebration. Take the party into the yard if the weather is nice, or plan an outing to a local park if you have an adventurous child. When planning the party, be sure to take baby's schedule into account, and select a time of day where the guest of honor will be awake to join the the festivities, such as right after her afternoon nap.


Keep the theme simple, or avoid all together, as your baby will not be concerned with -- nor remember -- the party's theme. Choose a theme such as baby's favorite color, animal or toy, and use minimal decorations. For a more adult theme, focus on how your baby has grown throughout the year, with photo displays of him from the last 12 months and a matted and framed picture of him at 1 year for guests to sign with their well wishes.


Finger foods work best for a 1-year-old's party, as they allow the guest of honor and her friends to sample the offerings. Prepare some of your baby's favorite foods for her to enjoy on her special day. Avoid items that are a choking hazard, such as grapes, nuts, hard candies and popcorn. Prepare a special cake for the event, and consider giving baby a cake or cupcake of her own for her to enjoy eating and smashing as part of the festivities.


For a small, family party, planned events may not be necessary, as your family can focus on the guest of honor and simply let him play with some of his presents. A larger party requires some activities to help keep party guests entertained. Provide an assortment of baby and toddler toys in a child-proofed environment to keep young attendees busy. Play simple games such as Pat-A-Cake, Peek-A-Boo or Ring Around the Rosie that families can participate in together. Turn on familiar music, and invite parents to dance with their children.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images