From time to time I’ll get an email asking me questions about my kids’ birthday parties. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. I’m not the best at party planning, but I find myself very handy when it comes to delegating duties and hijacking other people’s parties and making them my own. According to Pinterest pins, I seemed to pull off his party better than her party, but what do they know?
So if you’re getting ready to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, have no fear, today I’m going to reveal the secrets to planning a first party with the least amount of stress.
There are a few things to decide before you even begin the planning process.
2. How much do you want to spend? Have a budget in mind so you can make shopping decisions easily.
3. What’s most important to you? Keep this in mind as you plan.
Once you’ve answered these three questions you can get to planning. Decide on a location, make a guest list, and start making a shopping list. For each of my kids’ first birthday I wanted to be able to invite all of our friends and family members and make it memorable (for us, cause let’s face it, they aren’t going to remember). Here are my 5 party-planning tips to keep in mind for a first birthday party.
1. Location Location Location
Since Lil’ J has a summer birthday, we did her first birthday party outdoors at a splash pad. I didn’t need as many decorations since we were at a park, and there was lots of entertainment. We still had a theme, but aside from the food and goodie bags, it wasn’t a huge display.
Big T’s party was at our house, but I had a blast decorating for it, and having a specific theme. It was the first party we’d had at our house (because we had just bought it a few months earlier) and I loved not being tied to a small window of time for party set up and take-down. Don’t stress too much about entertainment because kids are plenty happy just being out of their own house and being kids.
2. Keep It Simple Where You Can
After you’ve identified what’s really important to you, keep things simple where you can. Whether it’s with Facebook and Evite invitations instead of the paper kind, or buying the cake instead of making it yourself. I also hit up the Dollar Tree before going to the big box party stores for supplies because I could find a lot of what I needed there for $1.
Keep in mind nap times and your child’s mood before and after. We tend to plan the parties either in the morning before nap time, or in the afternoon, just after nap time. I usually don’t schedule them to last much more than a couple hours because it seems to be plenty of time for play time and cake, and the kid’s attention spans are good for about that long.
4. The Perfect Gift
You know your kid best, and chances are you have an idea of what your child would love for their first birthday. I, however, have been surprised with what stood out for favorite gifts for my kids. I tend to lean towards toys they will love and use for a while and typically don’t go all out on an expensive gift since the party in a way, is the main present.
I like a variety of toys from simple to the more advanced. Are you going to surprise him before or after the party? We tend to open gifts after the party and save more time for playing, but some people like to watch the birthday boy or girl react to the gift.
One of my favorite gifts for Lil’ J was a wooden peg toy set. A friend of mine painted it herself, and it was a long-loved toy teaching colors, hand-eye coordination, and matching skills. Lil’ J loved taking the little “people” out and putting them back in over and over. You can pick up these plain wooden pegs at a local craft store and paint them assorted colorful colors. I actually am working on a new set for my son now.
A more advanced toy that’s fun for new 1-year-olds is the Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair. My son loves anything with music, and small places to sit, so this was an immediate win for him. I love that the features and games on it adapt to his age as he gets older. For instance right now on Stage 1 he does little prompts with animal sounds and noises. Stage 2 has more Q & A prompts with pointing out numbers and shapes, and the third stage encourages imaginative play.
Toys like each of these are fun in different ways, and sure to keep their interest for a while.
With each of my kiddos I wanted a whole photoshoot to celebrate reaching their first birthday. For Lil’ J we had a cake smash photoshoot, and for Big T, we set up a photobooth that went with the theme of his party. During the party you may want to hand your camera over to a friend so you can focus on enjoying the party yourself. You don’t have to go all out, taking some pictures as he or she dives into for some birthday cake may be all you want. But please, please don’t forget to get a shot of you with the birthday child. I am still so upset that I forgot to get a family shot of us together on Big T’s birthday.
Did I miss anything? Do you have tips for planning a first birthday party? Let me know what you think in the comments. Everyone who comments before November 22nd will be entered to win a Fisher-Price Smart Stages Chair like the one I mentioned above.
This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of a multi-month partnership bringing my tips to you. However all opinions and typos are my own.