First birthday parties are tricky. Since they’re as much for the adults as for the baby, parents want to throw a memorable celebration that the birthday child can enjoy while marking the occasion with friends and family.I’ve been thinking about first birthday party ideas, so I decided to ask the experts: the moms who work on Mommy Poppins. Sure enough, I got lots of great tips, advice and concepts. First Birthdays Are Really for the Grown-upsYou made it through 365 sleepless nights, thousands of diapers and colic. The party should be a celebration of your survival as well as your child’s birth. Take a day off from diapers and drool! Invite your friends and family to pitch in to give you a break while toasting your success at keeping a little human being alive for a whole year. It won’t be long before that little spitball will be begging for a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
When I asked all of the moms who work on Mommy Poppins what they did for their child’s first birthday, almost all of the responses involved some elaborate cake. I won’t hypothesize as to why…oh heck, yes I will. I’m guessing after 12 months of focusing on nothing but baby bottoms and sleep schedules, your repressed creativity is just bursting to come out. Whether you make an elaborate cake or go all Martha on your party favors, this is your chance to express yourself as Mommy in Chief. Go for it.
Even though the bash may be more for the adults than the babies, it’s still a great opportunity to tap into your inner child. Pick a theme that is youthful and fun, and let everybody be a kid for the day. Stephanie threw a Willy Wonka-themed party for her son’s first birthday.
Keep it Simple:
This may be the first time some of your friends are meeting the first birthday babe and you want the kid to shine. Don’t put too much pressure on your child to perform, or splurge on big activities that may prove overwhelming. Shari shared a great one-year-old party activity: a giant mirror. The littlest guests will love looking at themselves and it should can keep them occupied for, oh, minutes.
Do It Outdoors
If you read that and thought something dirty then you probably are a new parent. But seriously, if you were clever enough to aim for a warm weather baby, you hit the birthday party jackpot. Parties in the park are a big money saver and lots of fun. Amy recommends bringing bubbles and a friend who can play an instrument, and having your own little parade.
Keep It Short
You want your little one to be a star but you know the good mood’s not going to last forever. Keep the party short. 1 1/2 hours is a good length. Any longer and your small fry will get too fried.
Skip the Party
Truthfully, a party isn’t necessary for a first birthday. If you prefer, you can skip the whole thing and just do something special en famille, like a first trip to the zoo. Allison Hilton suggests hiring a babysitter and going out with your partner for a special dinner to celebrate making it through your first year as parents.
Farm It Out
Not a do-it-yourself type? Most party places don’t offer packages that are specifically tailored to first birthdays, but NY Kids Club recently added one, and it’s a fraction of the cost of the spot’s regular parties. I love the way NYKC figured out how to create a party that solves some of the problems of first birthdays, like allowing unlimited adults, a shorter length (1 1/2 hours), activities that are simple enough for a one-year-old but fun for older kids, and allowing people to bring their own food. In particular, I think including a plaster hand print is a stroke of genius, since that’s something many parents would like to have but never get around to doing. Parties also include gym time, sing-alongs, balloons and party favors. NY Kids Club has several locations around NYC and first birthday partiesstart at $475 for the first 10 children, and the birthday kid is free.