Your Guide to First Birthday Parties

first birthday party feature

First Birthday Party Ideas & Games – The Only Resource You’ll Need

There are many birthdays that are celebrated as big life events. A Sweet 16 in American culture is similar to a Quinceañera (15th) in Latin culture. Likewise, birthdays falling on 19, 21, 40, 50 and more carry special meaning for different reasons and almost always constitute a celebration of some sort. But perhaps the biggest celebration and milestone birthday of them all is the first birthday of a child. While the child probably won’t remember much, if anything, from this special day this doesn’t prevent parents from throwing a BIG(!) celebration and 1st birthday party. Based off the pictures and resources below it might be more accurate to say “out of control” or “overboard” in many cases!

While we don’t imagine every first birthday to be as elaborate as some of those outlined below, to help plan out this special event we’ve put together a comprehensive resource for first birthdays, including: signs and banners, themed birthdays, invitations, cakes and desserts and even a few party games. We’ve also included some great resources full of 1st birthday party ideas from across the internet to help you plan your special day.  And while these are specific to first birthdays, no doubt most if not all of them are applicable to any toddler aged child celebrating a birthday. We hope this helps you throw a fantastic party and generates plenty of ideas no matter how extravagant or simple you want the birthday to be!

For birthday parties for older kids make sure to check out our summer games ideas post!

Also, almost all of these ideas, sign templates and more are available on our First Birthday Party Pinterest Board.

1st Birthday Signs & Banners

Since we do signage all day long we’ll start with the signage aspect. 🙂 Below are some of our customizable birthday templates. There are more sign ideas on the Pinterest board. For our templates we offer free design services if you are looking to get a sign (banner, magnets, posters, wall decals, yard signs and more) created for your son or daughter that you don’t see below. Here are some examples of birthday signs as magnets and more that we’ve previously produced. Just contact us and we’ll help you get what you want! You can get our signs in as little as two days so even if you’ve put this off until the last minute there’s still time! Click over here to see all of our first birthday party sign templates.

happy first birthday purple birthday cake

Happy First Birthday Sign With Banner

happy first birthday banner with cake

Happy First Birthday Sign With Animals

happy first birthday sign turquoise

First Birthday Chalkboard Welcome Sign

Happy First Birthday Chalkboard Sign

happy first birthday banner

Happy First Birthday Chalkboard Sign With Picture

happy first birthday owl banner


First Birthday Themes & Ideas

A themed birthday party can be a ton of fun for your little one. Truly only your imagination limits what type of themed party you can throw.  And contrary to popular belief a themed party can be accomplished with just a few props, decor, signage and the right colors. Nonetheless, check out all the amazing 1st Birthday themes below to get your imagination and ideas flowing!

In addition to the many ideas below check out these amazing Pinterest board and blog posts that have compilations of fun themes.


1st Birthday Themes

120 Kids Birthday Party Themes

24 Themes by Spaceships and Laser Beams

51 of the Best Birthday Party Ideas (Themes) For Girls


sunshine themed party

Source: Sunshine Theme Party from Kara’s Party Ideas


caterpillar pottery barn

Source: Pottery Barn Caterpillar Theme 


royal themed party

Source: Royal Themed Party – Hostess With the Mostess


places you'll go theme

Source: Places You’ll Go Theme – Baby Making Machine


busytown theme

Source: Busytown Theme – Tried and True Blog


carnival theme party

Source: Carnival Theme Party – Kara’s Party Ideas


nautical party

Source: Nautical Theme Party – Spaceships and Laser Beams


royal and princess theme

Source: Royal/Prince Theme – Kara’s Party Ideas


caterpillar theme

Source: Caterpillar Party – Lady’s Little Loves


circus theme

Source: Circus Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


under the sea theme

Source: Under The Sea – Moms and Munchkins


modern theme

Source: Modern Theme – 100 Layer Cake-let


airplane theme

Source: Airplane Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


baby elephant theme

 Source: Baby Elephant Theme – Spaceships and Laser Beams


places you'll go

Source: Places You’ll Go Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


minnie mouse theme

Source: Minnie Mouse Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


mickey mouse theme

Source: Mickey Mouse Theme – Sweeties Freebies


jungle safari theme

Source: Jungle Safari Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


monster theme party

Source: Monster Theme Party – Visual Vocabulary


winnie the pooh party theme

Source: Winnie The Pooh Theme – Hostess With the Mostess


dr seuss theme party

Source: Dr Seuss Theme Party – Hostess With the Mostess


dr seuss party ideas

Source: Dr Seuss Theme Ideas – Incredible Infant


Invitation Ideas For First Birthday Parties

Like themed parties, invitations are only limited by your imagination. You can create DIY invitations or buy them from a wide variety of places. We’ve found the best places to look are Pinterest and Etsy with the latter often being promtoed on the former. We’ve included just a few of the more common themes used for birthday party invite designs. There are lot more on our Pinterest board. So whether you want to create your own or buy them hopefully these offer a great starting point. We have no relationship or vested interest in promoting any of the Etsy items or shops below.

birthday theme and picture invitation

Source: Twisted Sister Shop – Jungle Themed Birthday Invite


chalkboard plus picture birthday invitation

Source: Unknown

 turtle birthday invitation

Source: Amy’s Card Creations – First Birthday Turtle Invitation


cowboy birthday invitation

Source: Joy Invitations – Cowboy First Birthday


timeline birthday invitation

Source: Hello Baby Invitations – UNO Timeline Birthday Invitation


one shaped birthday invitation

Source: CLacey Design – Baby Boy First Birthday Invitation


milestone birthday invitationSource: Particular Paper – Custom Birthday Invitation


Cakes, Treats, Snacks, Desserts & More!

It wouldn’t be a party without lots of sugar and delicious desserts. And it wouldn’t be a first birthday party without a smash cake! Check out these amazing desserts and start planning out what you want to do for your little one’s birthday. Note that some of these treats are also actually part of a bigger theme if you’re still looking for theme ideas.

cookie monster cookies and theme

Source: Catch My Party


dr seuss birthday cookies

Source: Tiny Oranges


golf birthday party cookies

Source: Hostess With the Mostess


penguin birthday cookies

Source: Party Frosting


dragon birthday cupcakes

Source: That’s Nerdalicious


sophia's dress from cupcakes

Source: Catch My Party


camo birthday cake

Source: My Kitchen Escapades


how to make smash cake

Source: One Little Project


snowman birthday cake

 Source: Flickr


smash cake tutorial

Source: Director Jewels


green egg cookies

 Source: Kindergarten Super Kids


birthday cake popcorn

Source: A Sweet Spot: Home


monkey birthday cake



spiderman cupcake cake

Source: Sweet E Cakes


elephant birthday cake

Source: Cake Central (link has lots of other fun cakes)


mickey mouse birthday cookiesSource: Party Frosting


 baseball cookies for birthday

Source: The Recipe Girl


ice cream cone cupcakes

Source: Cone Cupcakes


ladybug cookies

Source: Babycenter


first birthday cakeSource: Cakes Decor


first birthday smash cakeSource: Simply Mars


First Birthday Party Games & Activities

The child of the hour is only turning one but that doesn’t mean there aren’t games to be played! Here are just a few creative and easy ideas for games for one year olds and even a few for their guests.

In addition to the images below here are a few sites with suggestions for games:


1st Birthday Party Games

First Birthday Party Games and Activities


baby crawl game

Source: Hostess With the Mostess


baby relay for adults

Source: Let’s Get Together


first birthday party games

Source: Moms and Munchkins


first birthday game

Source: Crystal and Co.


Even More First Birthday Party Resources & Ideas


BabyCenter – First Birthday Guide

The Bump – How to Plan Baby’s First Birthday Party

Style Me Pretty – Collection of First Birthday Parties By Readers

She Knows – 10 Tips For Planning Baby’s First Birthday

Fisher Price – Quick Guide For First Birthdays – First Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday In A Box – First Birthday Party Ideas

Punchbowl – First Birthday Party Ideas

Celebrations – 1st Birthday Party Ideas, Themes, Inspiration and More

Hostess With the Mostess – Collection of Readers’ First Birthdays

Dustin Heap

Before, Dustin had several jobs after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. These included positions in two different SEO agencies and Everyday Health, a leading online health brand. He’s worked with both big and small businesses and lived in New York City, Toronto, and Salt Lake City. He currently does the marketing for and has experience in a variety of areas under the digital marketing umbrella. Outside of work he loves spending time with his family, sports, books, wood fired-pizza, grilling and smoking meat, and the geopolitics of the Middle East.