One-derful First Birthday Themes

(Olesia Bilkei)

First birthdays are milestones that you don’t want to overlook. Your little one has gone from a tiny infant to a walking and talking toddler with a budding personality. Pat yourself on the back, Mom and Dad. It’s time to celebrate! Looking for themes for your party? Try some of these.

My First Rodeo
This is a fun western theme for your cowgirl or cowboy. Older partygoers can play Lasso the Bull with hula hoops, Pin the Tail on the Horse or Toss the Cow pie (beanbag). Younger guests might enjoy a sensory bin with dried beans and mini cowboy toys. You can have a photo booth with Wanted posters and cardboard cutouts of cowgirls/boys. BBQ, slaw and baked beans would go nicely with this theme.

One Berry Sweet Girl
Children are the only humans who can pull off wearing fruit on their clothes and look cute. Game ideas include a berry smash with water balloons on a points board or a scavenger hunt around the yard to find plastic fruit. Dinner ideas include blueberry goat cheese flatbread; berry, chicken and spinach salad and a white chocolate fondue with berry dippers for dessert. Berry smoothies will be a hit for all ages.

One Beary Cute Boy
A little boy and his teddy bear is a classic image. Games for adults might include Guess the Famous Bear (Yogi, Fozzie, Paddington, etc.). For the kids, try Musical Bears (passing the bear around until the music stops) or a teddy bear race holding the bear between your legs. Serve picnic-style foods for a teddy bear picnic or make cute bear toast with nut butter, banana ears and blueberries for eyes and a nose.

First Trip Around the Sun
This theme could be set up to include the sunshine or the night sky. If you choose the sun, serve everything yellow on charcuterie boards—honey butter and crackers, cheese, deviled eggs, yellow cake pops and yellow fruits. Older kids can decorate sun catchers or get prizes from a sun or spaceship piñata. Kids can play Moon Rock Tag (like dodgeball but with softer objects like bean bags or balloons). Add a photobooth with images of aliens, spaceships, planets, sunbeams or sunglasses.


One Groovy Birthday
Here’s a perfect theme for your little boho baby. Have everyone come dressed in groovy clothes. Fill a sensory bin with peace signs, smiley faces and daisies for the little ones. Adults and older kids can make tie-dye shirts in boho colors or paint pet rocks. Your menu could include appetizers that were popular in the groovy era—pigs in a blanket, mini quiches, Swedish meatballs, shrimp cocktail and ambrosia salad.

Rookie of the Year
With summer around the corner, baseball is a great outdoor theme. Have everyone dress up in their favorite jerseys. Invite everyone to play kickball or whiffle ball with the older kids and adults. If it’s warm enough, get out the slip and slide for sliding practice. You can also practice throwing by knocking down cans with a ball or bean bags. Serve hot dogs and other ballpark food like popcorn, nachos, cotton candy and slices of pizza.


One Lucky Duck
Rubber duckies are friendly for all ages. Everyone can play Duck, Duck, Goose or pull a floating rubber duck for a prize. Keep the kids busy for hours looking for mini ducks in the party space. Have relay races where the players have to walk like a duck. If you have a crafty group, party supplier Oriental Trading offers DIY rubber ducks for the guests to decorate themselves. Use a duck cookie cutter to make duck-shaped cheese and mini sandwiches, and cookies for dessert.

Wild One
Animals are a fun party theme because you can find them everywhere. Provide animal ear headbands, glasses or feet for your guests to wear. Hire a face painter or an animal balloon artist to entertain your guests. Your menu could include snake roll-ups (pinwheels or sushi), lion head hummus and carrot sticks, tiger face Cuties and monkey bread for dessert.

First Bee Day
Bees are so cute for a first birthday party. Kids can have a nectar race by filling ice cube trays using a turkey baster or go on a neighborhood scavenger hunt looking for things that start with “B.” Crafty guests might like to make bee jewelry with black and yellow beads. Serve the guests chicken and waffles with honey or syrup, dips with waffle pretzels or foods that start with the letter “B,” like burgers, burritos or brisket.

Pam Molnar is a mother of three and an avid party planner. She believes every good party has good food, entertaining games and a Pinterest-worthy theme.


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