Children’s party ideas: First birthday

All birthdays are important, but milestone ages call for an extra-special celebration, particularly when it’s a first birthday. Whether you’re keeping it small and simple or going all-out, make your child’s first birthday party as magic and memorable as can be with our ideas and inspo...


Set up a play zone

Make the party as stress-free and enjoyable as possible by creating a dedicated play area, rather than setting up lots of different activities around the room. Set up this fun zone with a soft mat and fill it with safe toys that are suitable for one-year-olds, such as stacking games and teddies.

1st birthday decorations

1st birthday themes

Pick a theme you know your child will love and carry it through everything from the invitations and decorations to table settings and cake. The theme could be colour-related, such as perfectly pretty rose gold or bold and beautiful rainbow, or based around a favourite fictional character. Either Peter Rabbit or Peppa Pig will be guaranteed winners for your junior partygoers. You could also go for a jungle theme that will allow you to go really wild and deck out the space with a host of adorable animal accessories?

Top tip: Take some snaps of the set-up before the other children arrive. It won’t take long for your perfectly curated party set up to look considerably less... considered.


Fancy dress

Take the theme one step further by asking children to attend in fancy dress. They may only be one, but having a whole room of little ones in animal onesies or angel wings will create a happy atmosphere almost instantly, as well as looking lovely in photographs. Outfits don't have to be anything too extravagant - animal-themed pyjamas can work just as well as full-on costumes, and will come in useful after the occasion, too. The important thing is to have fun and be creative.


Birthday music

The children may be too young to play proper party games such as Musical Chairs and Pass the Parcel, but that doesn't mean it should be a music-free party. Why not organise a nursery rhyme session to add a tuneful element to the occasion? Set up a playlist of children’s favourites, or better still ask a friend who can play piano or guitar to lead a sing-along. You could even provide basic musical instruments for the kids to use, or create a mini disco with coloured lights, streamers and pom poms.


Peter Rabbit


1st Birthday Party Food

It’s best to keep this super simple as 1) that’s what will work best for little ones, and 2) it will save you some hassle. Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches and fruit and vegetable platters will do very nicely. Arrange the fruit and vegetables creatively: try a smiley face, caterpillar, butterfly, or rainbow to add a touch of fun. Speaking of fun, there is, of course, the cake to consider, too. Tie this in with the main theme by using a cake topper, and make sure you don’t forget the all-important first birthday candles. Cake smashes, when you let your little one smash a cake to pieces and make as much mess as possible,  are very much on trend. You can arrange them through a professional photographer who will often provide the actual cake as well as photographs that you can treasure forever.

Top tip: If you do go for a cake smash, have a spare outfit on standby for afterwards… 

Take it outside

If it’s a summer birthday, you might want to host it outside, so plan some outdoor games and activities, and perhaps get an adult to blow some bubbles for sensory fun. If you have a paddling pool, why not turn it into a ball pit? Outdoors is also perfect for a teddy bears’ picnic: each child can bring along their favourite cuddly, or you could provide a selection that they can take home as a party favour afterwards. Set a space up with paper plates and outdoor decorations, make sure there’s plenty of shade available, and provide practical items like sunscreen, too.

1st birthday

Make it personal

Ensure the birthday boy or girl is truly the centre of attention by using personalised products. This could be just one element, such as the cakeor go all out with banners and balloon bouquets as well. Create a personalised keepsake for your little one by asking friends and family to write birthday messages in a book or on a canvas that can be kept forever.


Party bags

Buying lots of fiddly little toys isn’t a great idea for one-year olds, so why not send them home with a single, larger gift instead? Books are always great presents for little ones, as are soft toys. Whatever you choose, tie it in with the theme of the party for a special memento of a magical day. If you do have older children in attendance and would like to treat them to a traditional party bag, browse the Party Pieces range of party bag toys and treats here.


Everyone at Party Pieces wishes your child the very happiest of first birthdays! Don’t forget to take some photos and tag us on social media @partypieces.

For more children's party inspiration, read our guides to throwing magic, fairy and shark parties



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