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First Birthday Ideas
Celebrating Baby’s first birthday?
This first major milestone for your teeny tot is certainly a reason to rejoice! With your child beginning to observe and understand things, this is a great occasion to create a memorable experience for your loved ones.
From traditional and cultural to hip and modern, you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding the theme for this celebration. Regardless of how you end up planning the party, this is a great occasion to bond with family, friends and your precious little one.
Although your child may not remember the big day, you certainly will! Make use of this general check-list to help you plan the perfect party:
Most first birthday parties are for the adults in your child’s life (family and friends). If your child gets fretful during large or noisy gatherings, invite only your nearest and dearest for the celebration. If your baby loves people and other babies, then the more the merrier!
However, keep it to a manageable number of guests, bearing in mind that you will be caring for your little one at the same time.
If you are inviting other babies or toddlers, parents of the little ones should be included as guests so they can assist their children and you if necessary.
When celebrating your baby’s first birthday, pick a venue that provides ample space to accommodate all.
If you’re planning on a small get-together for the occasion, hold the birthday party in your own home. Your child will have his/her own toys for entertainment and won’t be overwhelmed by foreign surroundings
For larger parties, choose a restaurant that caters for children’s parties – better still if they can provide a private function room so that you won’t have to worry about the little ones wandering off on their own.
Many babies of this age are still on all fours, so baby-proof a play zone filled with age-appropriate toys for your little guests. Set chairs around the zone for parents to relax and watch.
Even though it’s a special event, it’s important not to interrupt your child’s schedule so he/she is in a good mood for the celebration.
The ideal time for your baby’s party would be either morning or late afternoon – pre- or post-nap when babies aren’t tired. Plan the party to last an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Babies have short attention spans and run out of energy and interest quickly.
Party themes aren’t important to a one-year-old. However, you might want to aim for a colour-coordinated look to match your baby’s birthday cake or party dress. It’s more for the benefit of the keepsake photos than your baby at this stage.
Should you elect to go with a theme party, you could consider some of these fun and colourful themes – rubber ducks, bugs, ladybugs, butterflies, animals. Other favourites include Sesame Street or Barbie.
Alternatively, go with simple themes such as colourful dots, squares, alphabets or numbers. These can be easily made from colourful construction paper.
You could also give your party a personal touch by making a collage of your baby’s photographs. Hang it on a wall where everyone can take a look.
Choose a menu for the party that both children and adults will like. At the same time, keep the food simple as most of it will probably end up on the floor!
Opt for finger foods like nuggets, potato chips, baked potato wedges, French fries, mini-sandwiches, sliced fruits, cookies and crackers. Look for child-friendly beverages like milk, juice, soda and water.
Your mini guests will probably eat very little food so aim for a variety of taste, texture and colour rather than quantity.
No party is complete without a birthday cake. A birthday cake can range from delicious to creative to absolutely gorgeous, but do go easy on the sugar.
A wonderful option would be to get a smash cake. A smash cake is a smaller cake just the right size for your baby. At his/her first birthday, it’s unlikely that your child will be eating with a spoon or fork. The first instinct will be to grab the cake. Give your child an individual cake or a cupcake and then serve a larger cake for the guests.
Many parents video their child blowing out their first birthday candle. Do watch out for excitedly waving hands and keep the candle some distance away until the Birthday Boy or Girl is ready to blow it out! But don’t stress too much. Sit back and enjoy watching the little one try earnestly to blow out the candle
Loud bangs from party poppers and bursting balloons may frighten your baby and discarded poppers and balloons are a serious choking hazard at this age, so save them for next year.
Why not have some musical fun, such as dancing with your baby or a nursery rhyme tape on in the background?
If you have space, you may want to hire a small party train – little ones can enjoy short rides along with their mothers. Your baby will also enjoy peek-a-boo games, lots of bubbles and finding toys hidden in a box or under a cloth.
Party bags are not really necessary at your child’s first birthday party. However, if you are feeling generous and really want to give a going away present for your little guests, opt for a small, safe soft toy or a board book to chew on.
Keeping in mind the age factor of your little guests and the danger they might pose. Forget about the usual goodies like sweets and balloons. You could also choose bibs, teething rings, rattles, bath toys, plastic animal models and feeding accessories like colourful plates, cups and water bottles for the little ones.
Check out this range of Tollyjoy products that are great as party gifts!
Some people may find it difficult choosing a suitable present for a baby.
So make it easy for your guests by giving some suggestions. You could say that interactive picture books or illustrated nursery rhymes would be a welcome addition to your toddler’s growing library.
A gift idea that lends a personal touch is getting your guests to help create a photo album. Snap Polaroid photos of your baby with guests and place the developed photo on a piece of paper so that they can write a message to the child. You can compile everything into a book to be given to your child when he or she is older, as a nostalgic memento of the people who helped to mark this important milestone.
Another great idea is for your guests to help with a time capsule. Ask each guest to bring something they think will age well over the years, for example, a dollar note, news article or even a tiny model toy car. Look out for a sturdy water-proof, termite-proof box or container and store the mementoes for your child to open at a later date, e.g. their 10th birthday.
On the other hand, if you feel that your family and friends have showered your baby with enough gifts over the past one year and don’t expect your guests to bring any gifts, then you could write something on the invitations to indicate ‘your presence is gift enough.’
If hosting the party at home, remove your carpet and opt for a large washable mat instead.
• Remove your sofas and couches to the far end of the room, to accommodate more crawl space for the little ones.
• Keep a watchful eye on the party area for hazards such as forks or small, easily swallowed objects.
• Make sure you have a willing volunteer to take plenty of photos or video tape the happenings as you will probably be too busy on that day.
Babies will play alongside each other, not together. So keep a variety of toys available within a large, safe floor space.
• Breastfeeding mums will appreciate somewhere quiet and private to breastfeed.
• Have somewhere clean, handy and well-equipped for nappy changing. Keep spare diapers, toilet paper and hand towels ready.
• Store away precious ornaments and breakable items.
• Keep pets well out of the way.