What to Do for First Birthday Party?

Updated on May 03, 2009
J.L. asks from Lakewood, CA
5 answers

Hi mommies,
I have a question regarding my sons first birthday. He will be one in june and I am already planning his party. Theme: Sesame street. Menu: Hot dogs, potato salad, beans, veggie trays, soda, juice boxes and water. cupcakes and one little cake for the birthday boy. My question is this: What do I do for party favors or games. I had 3 games in mind and three little "prizes". A bean bag toss = gold fish crackers. Pin the nose on elmo = stickers. Hot potato = Bubbles. I was going to give these to all the kids. As well as a few dum dum suckers and a few coloring pages and crayons. Kids are all different ages that are coming to party, 9 years to 9 months. I am not doing a pinata due to space and I refuse to give kids a bunch of candy. Are those few little prizes enough? What is "expected" in a "loot" bag? Oh, and I was going to give each kid a ballon to go home with. Is this enough? Is there a kids birthday party etiquette? I don't want to come across as cheap but I don't see the point in spending money on junk parents just throw away or loading kids with sugar. Thanks!

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answers from Los Angeles on

with my daughters 1st and 2nd bday i didnt do any games at all. i had the party at the park so the kids could play. her 2nd bday theme was wow wow wubbzy (which isnt in stores yet so i had to emprovise lol). for the loot bags i used paper lunch sacks and taped a wubbzy caracter on it. in them were - star shape sunglasses, fun twisty straw, 2 suckers (i didnt want a lot of candy either), coloring page, noise maker (horn), hand clapper, a balloon, party hat and a little thing of bubbles. all these things i got at party city in bulk so it was pretty cheap. i made sure that what was in the bags were ok for all ages comming (which were 20months to 6 years). dont worry about looking cheap your child is turning 1 and he cant do that much lol.
my inlaws thought it was dumb of me and my husband to pay for a bakery to hand make our daughters cupcake cake allergy friendly because i child comming had food allergies (milk eggs and nuts). all i told her is that i wanted everyone to be happy and to enjoy the cake not single one child out because she couldnt have cake. i did minimal dedorations only a happy birthday banner and balloon center pieces with balloon weights from the dollar store.
just do what you think is enough :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Your plans seem perfectly fine.
There is no "etiquette" about it, except what you can or cannot afford.

A neat place for party things is:

Keep in mind, for the young ones, to ideally plan the party time for a time in which it is NOT their nap-time...if not, your child and the other young ones will not enjoy it and be too tired/fussy/over-tired to enjoy anything.
Most parties are about 1-2 hours... (at least that is what they do where I live).

And yes, MOST goody-bag stuff gets thrown away. But balloons are always a hit with kids.

Good luck,



answers from San Luis Obispo on

I think your ideas are great. No matter what the age, 1 to 55 love bubbles. Teens especially like them. They have very small bubble bottles that come in large quantities, and they are inexpensive. Giving a gift bag doesn't have to be excessive. But, I believe that enough attention is given to the birthday boy or girl and can be tough on little friends or other siblings. Being given a little gift bag helps defuse these feelings. Also it fosters, giving back to those that give to you is a nice thing to do. Getting a written thank you is important to the extended family and friends, and teaches your child as he watches you write them,( or he puts his or her hand
print on the card if they are too young to write their name)that this is an important and caring thing to do. Have yourself a great Birthday Party!




answers from Los Angeles on

My daughters are 13 and 10 this year. I HAVE NEVER DONE LOOT BAGS. EVER. I have never understood why every child got a present??? To me that devalued the birthday experience.
As a thank you, my child will write a hand note and every child gets a picture with the birthday girl and the present they received from them as well as other “candid shots” from the party (I am taking them anyways!) after the event. This is so much easier now with digital cameras!

At first, my husband was mortified that there would be no “gift bags” but I will tell you…EVERY parent thanked me for not sending home JUNK! AND parents who have been to more than one party and expect no gift bags, STILL THANK ME…YEAR AFTER YEAR. Others have even begun to follow my lead.

We always have parties that offer games and fun times for everyone. Often at an outdoor park (it is free), in our home or back yard, again free space is perfect. I DO NOT spend a bunch of money on a party.

Get creative. For their first birthdays it was all about the family. I asked everyone in the family to send a letter to the child dated for a birthday in the future. It is wonderful to have letters from aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins for birthdays they may not be attending through the years. Their great grandmother wrote cards for their 50th birthdays! She definitely won’t be around for those! What a treat!

The party is about fun and togetherness, not the gift bags. And as for the prizes for the games…as a Family Health Coach…you already say you don’t give out candy…please look at the ingredients on those little fish. They are worse then most candy. There is no nutritional value in them…

Remember it is not about keeping up with the Jones’, it is about your ideals, your principals and your values. Don’t let what others “will think” be your guide. It is your family, your son’s birthday party, you will decide what will happen there. And you are also setting a precedence for years to come.



answers from Los Angeles on

At my daughter's first birthday party, only one other child was her age. All the others ranged in age from 6-16. For the other 1 year old, I did a special gift bag with bathtub paints for her. For all of the others, here's what I put in the gift bags:

One each of those glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets (found in the party aisle at Target)
A pack of sugar-free gum
Bubbles (left out of the teens' bags)
A ball with suction cups all around - my daughter LOVED these
A tiny "connect 4" toy with Smarties candies to use as the pieces

Most of the kids came back to our house after the party and they ended up hooking all the glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets together to make a really long jumprope.

My daughter really liked those suction cup balls. We played with them for a good month before the party. In fact, I had to go to the store and buy another package because she had opened several of them. We have a sliding glass door in our living room, and they stuck great to the glass!

We didn't do any games. We had the party in our local park. I rented a bouncy house, and my husband set up a volleyball net. The kids really liked playing volleyball.

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