1St Birthday - Oak Park, IL

Updated on March 01, 2008
M.P. asks from Oak Park, IL
19 answers

My daughter's first birthday is in a month and we are having the party at home with about 50 or so people. I'm serving pizza but am at a loss about a theme or colors or centerpieces. She's too young to be into anything yet and I'm not really one for "character" parties but want to do something cute. She is still a baby. I would love some fun easy ideas. Do I need to provide kids with games etc? Most are still babies but there will be some toddlers and a few school age children. I assume the older childrens' moms come prepared with a coloring book or gameboy or whatever it is that a 9 year old does. Is this a good assumption? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for all your great ideas. I decided to go with a bumble bee theme since that is what her room is done in. I think it will be really cute. I'll let you know how the party turns out.
M.

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S.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,

I recently had my baby's 1st too. (Where does the time go?) He is really into Diego, so we had that theme. When I was looking for stuff, I just googled "First birthday Parties" and a whole bunch of websites came up. There's some really cute stuff out there. As far as entertainment for the other kids, I set up a coloring station, a cookie decorating station (I baked sugar cookies and bought frosting and decorating gels for the kids to decorate their own cookies), I set up a bubble blower (what kid doesn't like bubbles?) and a craft station where the kids could make spotting scopes (a Diego thing). You could find another craft to do that's easy and doesn't require too much supervision and supplies. Because I had all these things to do, the kids were busy and parents were happy they didn't have to entertain their kids.

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M.A.

answers from Chicago on

I went to a discount party store. They have such cute themes for just about any kind of party - banners, plates, napkins, confetti, centerpieces, etc. Let's face it, this party is as much for you as it is celebrating baby's first. Have fun with the decorating!! I went nuts with the crepe paper, too!

As far as the other kids, I bought the theme matching goody bags and filled it with age appropriate items:

babies - teether/rattle
toddlers - fishy crackers/raisins
school age - activity books/pencils

Have fun!!!
M.

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R.M.

answers from Chicago on

Buy your party items at the Dollar Store. Not only will your money go farther, but they have really cute things (flowers, etc.) so you don't have to have a theme...it can be purple, pink, flower, ie. something fun but generic.

Also, my daughter's 1st birthday party, we gave each guest a mylar balloon (also from the Dollar Store). I heard from the other moms that their kids loved the balloons and they lasted for weeks. My daughter would pull hers around the house until it "died"/lost any helium (about 2 weeks)

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

For my daughters 1st birthday I just did solid colors for decor. We did pink and yellow. It was really cute and a lot cheaper. I bought the colored plates at walmart for 99 cents a pack and only needed 2 packs of big plates and 2 of small cake plates and we had 60 people. I just did white napkins and plastic cups. I didn't do the goodie bags for her 1st birthday but I did have suckers and goodies for the kids and they got to take home the extras at the end of the party. I had a kids table set up with crayons and coloring pictures that I printed from the internet. Each kid got 2 pictures to color, one to take home and one to leave for the birthday girl and we made her a memory book out of them. It kept them quited busy. All the kids from 2 yrs old up to an 11 yr old wanted to color. We also had one of those ball pits that my mom bought dd for her birthday. the kids loved that too.

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J.C.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter just turned 1 about a month ago and we had not one but two parties for her. One for friends and family and another for her playgroup which consisted of 14 kids plus moms. For her parties I really didn't have a theme, because like you I do not care for characters of any sort, but instead of a cake I opted to buy one of those Wilton cupcake trees and had cupcakes made in custom colors (we chose very deep vibrant shades) and had all of the party accessories (plates, napkins, cups, etc..) match these shades. On top of the cupcakes I had those pastel polka dots, which was my original plan (a polka dot theme) but it became increasingly hard to find accessories in polka dot patterns that were child friendly...most were in mochas and such, but I did send out polka dot thank you cards.

As for the older kids, I arranged nothing for them, but I do have older kids, thus I have toys for older kids. If you have nothing I would suggest setting up a craft table or a place where they can frost their own cookies, or something. I would never assume that parents are bringing items because most parents do not bring items to entertain older kids, especially to parties. You could always incorporate some fun age appropriate items into their take home baskets or bags and give them to them earlier in the party to help entertain them....Target One Dollar Spot and the Dollar Store are great for those items.

Last you do not need to plan games for a one year old party for the little ones. You don't even want too long of a party at that age or else it is just too much for them. Hope that helps you out.

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L.P.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with most of the things that are said on here. I will say though, take a close look at your guest list and that will determine whether or not to have games. If you notice that you have quite a few older kids, they may not find it fun to play with all the little ones. All 3 of my sons' parties have been 50+ guests (big fam lots of friends) and most of the kids want to play games, and for lack of a better word, they expect it.

it's a party, make it fun, have something planned in case your little guests want to play games. Most parents will expect there to be entertainment for their children at a party (evern though they won't say that out loud), so don't count on them bring something.

as for themes, you can go with something general, i've heard some pretty good ideas on here; solid colors, polka dots, flowers and butterflies. I would stick with something like that. A friend of mine did ladybugs being that her daughters nickname is ladybug, it was great.

i've always pride myself in throwing great parties for my son, if you have any other questions, please email me! [email protected]____.com

good luck!

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P.D.

answers from Chicago on

I made my daughters 1st birthday party from decorations from www.birthdayexpress.com they have stuff for 1 year olds and older, and if I were you I would not assume that the older kids will bring stuff, so you should provide some type of games for them, or maybe even some kid movies so they won't be bored. Good luck and have fun.

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B.W.

answers from Chicago on

Party City also has great deals in addition to the Dollar store. I had a multi colored birthday party for my daughter where we had different colored plates, plasticware, tablecloths, etc. You can go to partycity.com to find a store near you. They also have 1st birthday themes as well, and pinatas. I although get my pinata from Cosco. For the older kids, I would do a pin the tail on the donkey game as well. My birthday give away bags I normally put in a juice box, fruit snacks, little debbie cakes, and a small bag of chips, stuff like that.

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M.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi!

I did an "everything pink" theme for my daughter's 1st in October. Pink cake, pink Birthday signs, pink decorations, pink outfit (it was a tutu from Prissypoofs.com). Everyone thought is was so cute. For my kid's birthdays, I also print out full page pictures of them on the computer from that past year (on Print Shop) and turn them into Happy Birthday posters...I pin them up all over the garage and indoors (we have a big family and set up tables in the garage too).

I would do little treat bags for the little ones, but I didn't have any games for them..they enjoyed playing with the other kids and toys I had out at my house...that kept them occupied.

Have fun!

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

We did Sesame Street for my daughters first, last month. We had 50+ people also. I had entertainment for all age levels and goodie bags that were age appropriate. I did cupcakes and punch. I went back and forth for months and finally thought one week before the party, that if I wanted a truly successful party with no problems, I needed to cater to everyone we invited, not just the little ones, so that everyone was entertained. Don't assume because most people will assume also that you are providing something if you invited them.

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

My advice to you, after having a party with 25 guests, is that the less you have to worry about during the party, the better. So no games or favors (she's only 1, so I don't think anyone expects it), but maybe set out a basket of age-appropriate toys for your guests' kids so they have something you approve of to keep them busy. For the older kids, maybe borrow a couple toys or board games from a friend?

Also, delegate responsibilities to your most trusted guests. Have someone be responsible for serving and refilling beverages, for cutting and serving the cake, for matching gifts with cards and getting rid of wrapping paper after they've been unwrapped, etc. Also, give someone the job of changing diapers and/or changing a dirty outfit (and leave a pre-approved outfit on the changing table!) so you won't have to leave the party.

Most likely, your daughter will be slightly overwhelmed by the activity in her house and will not easily leave your side. Getting help from others and leaving you available will be the best way to take care of her so that you can still enjoy her day. Plus, you don't want to miss her opening her first presents or eating her first cake because you're trying to be a hostess at the same time!

As for a theme, I used a variation on the theme my friends used for my baby shower, which is also the theme for my son's nursery. His bedding and decoration are stars, so I found a cute 1st birthday banner with stars and hung stars from the walls and light fixture over the dining room table. I used the same colors from his bedroom, and I also got lots of balloons - a big hit with the one-year olds! Go to your local party store, they have cute ideas. But don't go crazy with decorations, just put them where you know pictures will be taken, like behind the spot you'll open presents and behind the high chair where the cake will be tasted.

And, because a party for 50 guests can get pricey, I bought half of the plates, cups and napkins to match the theme and the other half in coordinating solid colors. Then I alternated the plates with the decoration and the solid colored plates (cups, napkins) and saved a lot of money!

This is a big day - congratulations on making it through the first year!

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J.L.

answers from Chicago on

I would echo the birthday express. If you have room in your house for a pinata that is fun. My son just turned one and thinks they are the greatest things. I think it never hurts to have coloring book and crayons on hand for little visitors. yes, you would hope parents would come prepared but you never know and then you look great being prepared. Also, it is great to have some kid friendly snacks and drinks. At my sons party I had apple juice and goldfish crackers and parents were appreciative so their kids weren't wanting other things. I also did mini cupcakes for the kids and there was a cake for the adults and my son did get to blow out the candles and grab the frosting but slices of cake weren't wasted. The kids loved the mini cupcakes. Friends have done the same since.

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

For my daughter's 1st birthday, we had about 25 guest and the kids varied in ages- we had our family and friends over. I had a bunch of food - buffet style. We planned no games. I also didn't want a character theme since she was not old enough to understand but I knew she loved flowers and butterflies - from our walks to the park. So, That was the theme. At Jewel, they have the prettiest butterfly balloons. Her invites and thank you notes also came from Jewel and they had napkins and a few other decorative things with flowers and butterflies. I did make treat bags for all the kids - about 6. I made them age appropriate - match box cars, small things of bubbles and playdo and some other cute things from the dollar section at target. For my daughter's second birthday, we did about the same thing but the theme instead was Carebear - she loves them and one of her gifts was a carebear and we had the big heliumm Care Bear baloons.

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L.W.

answers from Chicago on

Target also has that dollar aisle right by the entrance in each store--they have lots of cute stuff that could work as party favors. my son's first birthday is coming up and we're doing an elmo theme--he has only maybe watched two hours of tv in his life total, added up, but man, he loves that elmo.

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

As far as "theme" -- for my son's 1st I did a theme of blocks & balls (his 2 favorite things to play with). I bought one of those blow up ball pits from Toys R Us ($30), a dozen beach balls from http://www.orientaltrading.com ($10) and put out all his blocks built in pyramids. The kids played with that stuff and it served as decorations, too. Then each kid took home a beach ball. For partyware, I just bought the plain plates and stuff in primary colors.

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L.L.

answers from Chicago on

M. - I don't think you have to worry too much about games. I know I didn't. My family has children in a very wide range & for my daughter's 1st birthday, I kept it simple (as simple as I could with my chaotic family - HA!) but one thing I did do was have small treat bags for all the kids. I designed them to each child's age (and still do). Never anything big, but something small for them to take home. As for theme - well, they have a bunch of great 1st birthday party themes at Factory Card Outlet or Party City, including one that said something like "1st Birthday Girl" that is pink, etc. Good luck - it's an exciting time!

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

When my daughter had her first birthday I did teddy bears, and had all the children bring a teddy bear to play with. It was also easy to decorate because I just put teddy bears from her room around. I also bought gummy bears and put them out as little snacks. I would think the 9 year old wouldn't need planned activites...but you never know. :) I didn't have games at my daughter's first birthday, but we didn't have as many people. You could always do a pin the nose on the bear or something like that...little ones don't have to be blindfolded older ones do...soemthing like that. I hope its a nice day for your family!

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

Birthday Express is GREAT!! My son's first is in a few weeks and I got all of his paper goods from there. They even make personalized banners for only $15 and they are really nice. The delivery was fast and the order was correct. I am having party favors but no games. I think they are too young. For the favors I did it based on age. Our party is doggy themed so I bought puppy coloring books and crayons for the older children and balls and doggy ears for the younger ones. I am serving cupcakes instead of cake as well. Good luck and happy 1st!!

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

A first birthday is so much fun! A Bunble Bee theme sounds adorable! You might want to have some really simple games on the "back burner" so to speak. There are some old games (drop the clothespin in the bottle, pin the tail on something, carry a cotton ball in a large spoon and drop it in a bowl) that are ageless. Everyone can win a little prize! M., older Mom of 4 and Grandma of 4.

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