Babies birthday are supposed to be memorable and fun! But parenting can be a competitive sport and planning your baby’s birthday parties (especially their first birthday) is in a class of its own!
No matter how tight the credit crunch is we all strive for the perfect party, and inadvertently will spend more money on it that we actually planned to. Wanting to celebrate our babies’ first year, in which they learnt and developed so much, it is fitting that we throw them a party to remember, only…. they won’t remember it!
Whether you choose to have a small get together with family and a selected few friends, or you choose to invite every baby and parent in your mum and baby groups, or your child’s entire preschool class, it all takes quite careful planning. There’s food, decorations, presents and activities to organize. And the cake seems to be the item of envy. Did you make it yourself? Did you get a baker to make and decorate it? Or did you buy it off-the-shelf at your local supermarket?
This is what I have learnt about what arranging the best parties:
For all babies birthday parties
- If you have the space, try to have your parties at home. It cuts the costs, you don’t have to worry about transporting food around and it is your baby’s most familiar environment where they are most comfortable. Also, with young babies, the chances are you may have some moms attending the party who are still breastfeeding. It is far easier for them to find a comfy spot to feed their babies and feel more relaxed in your home.
- Try to get an enthusiastic family member or friend to bake the cake for you. It will be made with love specifically for your little one. At most you will probably only have to pay for the ingredients.
- Keep food simple and easy to do. Sandwiches and healthy finger foods are fine. Have some party food available, but don’t go overboard. Given a choice most people will go for the healthier option these days. Offer simple finger foods for the children like sausages, pita, soft crisps, strawberries, biscuits, and raisins.
- Arrange the party at a time when you know your baby would have just had a nap so that they are well rested before the party. Limit the party to no more than 2 hours as all the attention and excitement can be very daunting and over stimulating for your tot.
For your baby’s first birthday
- Keep it low key and simple.
- Don’t give yourself too much to do so you can enjoy the time with your family and your friends.
- Most babies will probably be very little at the party so a calm(ish) environment would be the best.
- Soft music playing and a few cause-and-effect toys will do the trick.
For older children
For 2nd birthdays it is much the same as 1st birthdays, only have more activities on offer.
- Play dough, an art activity, sand play, water play, and outdoor toys are great fun for little ones.
- If you have good weather always have an area outdoors where you can let the children play. Set up the activities there to encourage the children to stay outside.
- If the weather is not so good, have a look at our 20 Rainy Day Activities for little ones.
- Have food that is easy to make, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and chips, sandwiches and fruit and veg sticks are great.
From 3rd birthdays onwards it is a good idea to have a theme for parties. This helps you to plan fun activities and will keep the children busy. Also, bear in mind your baby’s sensory personality. You might be an extrovert who loves to throw parties but your little one is sensitive and prefers calm. Remember it’s your little one’s birthday and a great occasion to let them dictate the ‘rules.’
Great themes for boys
Movement is good for all children, but boys tend to need to move more than girls. Try to have a movement aspect or activity at the party if you know it will be predominantly boys.
Great themes for boys could include:
- Knights and Princesses
- Have a petting zoo visit you and bring their exotic animals
- Bug hunts
- Diggers, building, and woodwork
- Swimming parties
- Treasure hunts
Great themes for girls
- Jewelry making
- Arts and crafts – the more glitter and sequins the better
- Shopping – set up tables with shops with items that cost only a few cents (combs, hair clips, bouncy balls, tea sets). Give each child a few coins to shop with and they can buy their items themselves.
- Fairies and elves
- Dress up parties
- Dance and disco
Great party outings
- The zoo
- The aquarium
- Farm yards
- Picnic at your local botanical gardens
- Movies (for older children)
Classic party games
- Pass the parcel
- Suck in the mud
- Musical statues
- Musical chairs
- Hide and seek
Party packs are fun to give out, but they are not essential. If you do them, put 1 or 2 small toys in them and a few party sweets and that is enough.
Most of all, babies birthdays are fun – enjoy yourself and all the attention focused on your babe. Get into the spirit of the party. Your kids will notice and appreciate it in years to come.
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