Inside: Celebrating baby’s first birthday? You’ll love these first birthday games and activities perfect for your child’s special party!
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Every mom wants to ensure their baby’s 1st birthday celebration is perfect. Even though baby won’t remember that first party, turning the big 1 is a special milestone all parents love looking back on.
I remember how much thought I put into planning my child’s first birthday: hours of scouring the web for cute birthday party themes, colorful decorations, and food to fit the theme and satisfy guests of all ages.
But the rainy weather sabotaged some of my plans for having fun outdoors. As a perfectionist and someone who wanted to go all out for the first one, I admit it hurt.
And then, when I saw how happy the kids were with their party treats and basic party activities, I realized all the stress was futile. All they really needed were a few fun games to keep entertained!
I realized it was the simple party activities that the little kids loved the most (and games that helped keep tantrums to a minimum). I’m sharing our favorite birthday party activities with you, in hopes that you too will relax and not put too much worry in appearance, but more so in the overall birthday experience!
The Best Birthday Party Games for a Baby
When you’re considering things to do for a 1 year old birthday, think simple fun that makes sense for developmental milestones and short attention. These are the types of birthday entertainment ideas that will work best!
Bubbles were such a HUGE hit at all my kids’ birthdays! Babies especially seem to go gaga over watching those magical soapy spheres float in the air. Just watch them mesmerized and giggling, trying to catch bubbles. Such a great developmental activity for eye-tracking too!
This inexpensive bubble machine was a MUST for hands-free fun at my kids’ parties. It gave mom and dad a break, and let the bubble fun continue without interruption! You’ll get your money’s worth from these, and can even opt for a cute, kid-friendly design machine like this dolphin one if you prefer. Definitely an easy activity for a first birthday!
As simple as they sound, balls of varied sizes and textures provide a wide array of sensory experiences for little ones making them such an easy play idea at a birthday party. Because babies do a lot of learning through touch, we found these sensory balls especially fun.
Just arrange them on a blanket in a corner and voila — your first activity “station” for party games.
Another fun first birthday idea is a ball pit! Fill a small inflatable pool with BPA-free plastic balls and you’ve got a super fun ball pit that will keep babies entertained for hours! If you’re worried about little balls flying all over the place, know that it’s usually an inevitable part of the fun, but this colorful pool is large enough to work some magic. Note: You can even use a pack-n-play or kid-corral if you already own one.
For even MORE fun, add a baby slide to the ball pit and watch little ones climb and slide down into a safe area.
Want to make your baby boy or girl’s party even more memorable? Create a fun photo station to capture this special milestone. We had an adorable dinosaur photo booth similar to this one during my eldest son’s party and it was truly a special touch and huge HIT. Each child got to poke their head through to snap a photo to take home!
You can create one yourself with a paint set and cardboard poster or buy a colorful backdrop and props!
Have a crawling or walking baby? Then get ready for some fun!! When a baby is on the move, you know they never want to stop. Ride-on toys bring lots of fun and adventure for the thrill-seeker!
If your little one is not walking yet, either of these makes a great choice: Stride-n-Ride Lion and Stride-n-Ride-Elephant. For more active babies, you can’t go wrong with this Little Tikes Giraffe Ride-on my son loved!
Ride-on toys usually work best as a birthday party activity when you have more space, like a contained yard or playroom.
If the weather is nice and you are celebrating outdoors, a water table makes an AMAZING activity for a kids’ party sure to keep guests happy! Babies will adore all the sensory play possible — whether pouring and dumping water or just splashing about.
Note: You can also bring the water table indoors and fill with baby-friendly sensory activities — just be sure to add a tarp underneath to make clean-up easier!
If your little one enjoys a good game of peek-a-boo, he will have a blast crawling through a simple pop-up tunnel. You could go all out and create an obstacle course for baby to crawl through and retrieve a few stuffed animals and sensory balls for an even more fun party idea! This brand even lets you connect a tent and ball pit to the tunnel – talk about an adventure!
If you have space for it, bring in a small child’s slide! Your active baby will love climbing up a step or two and you can help them slide down – just be sure to supervise for this one especially if you have had toddlers around, hehe!
Below are a few favorites of ours:
- Little Tikes My First Slide – Small, affordable, durable and trusted brand
- Step2 Sports Activity Center – Really low to the ground and safest for baby; 3 in 1 activity
Not afraid of a little messy play? Try some simple finger paint fun. Just choose a non-toxic brand of washable paint and this will make a safe art activity. (Another great option if you are outdoors where you can easily clean up with water too!)
Every celebration needs some upbeat music to get the party started. So don’t forget to play an eclectic mix of songs to watch your baby groove to the beat! You’ll be amazed at how easy a dancing baby can make a whole room smile. Grab a few baby-friendly instruments like drums, maracas, and keyboards to let baby make music of his or her own!!
So many ways to have fun and enjoy baby’s very first birthday party – just remember to stick to the basics and let baby set the tone!
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.