Celebrating the first-year milestone is usually as much about the parents surviving their first year of parenthood as it is about the baby’s big day. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan an age-appropriate activity or two for your little one’s first birthday. The key at this age is to keep things simple and choose a time of day where your baby is at their best (fed, awake and changed!). Attention spans and patience are low at this age, so don’t overwhelm the guest of honor!

First Birthday Party Activities

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere!

You can entertain the young set for longer than anyone can imagine with bubbles. You can make your own big vat of bubbles (1 cup distilled drinking water (soft water makes better bubbles), 1 tablespoon Dawn Original dish soap (makes the best bubbles), and 1 teaspoon of glycerin , which you can buy at craft stores or online) and purchase various styles of bubble makers at the drugstore or toy shop, from the simple classic dip-and-blow types to the bigger motorized kind. Babies don’t care — they just love those bubbles! Have adults take turns blowing them for the little ones and wait for the squeals of delight.

Treasure Boxes

We’ve all heard the old joke that babies like the boxes your gifts come in better than the actual toy itself. Well, this activity plays on the idea. Collect boxes of various sizes and collapse the four flaps of one end inside the box, then wrap the boxes in decorative paper. This way one end will be open for easy access to the “treasures” inside. Fill the boxes with stuffed animals or any manner of baby-friendly items (soft blocks, squeaky toys, oversized trucks, etc.) and place the boxes in a circle for the babies to explore. Don’t be surprised if they play with the boxes more than the goodies you put inside, though!

Baby Orchestra

Create a music room for your baby and friends to explore. Place age-appropriate instruments in a circle, play a fun CD of kids’ music, and let them create a baby orchestra! Make sure to have multiple instruments of the same type so sharing isn’t a problem. And if you set aside a room for this, make sure the room is baby proofed.


Start inviting your guests to celebrate your baby’s first year with invitations like the one below from our Baby’s First Year invitation gallery.

Baby's First Birthday Invitation


NEXT: Get even more kids birthday party ideas!