Baby’s First Birthday: Party Planning, Gift Ideas and More

Baby’s First Birthday: Party Planning, Gift Ideas and More

Every baby’s first birthday is a big milestone! Some families like to celebrate by having a party. If you’re searching for ways for your child to feel special, we can help you with the planning. Our guide has everything from party décor inspiration to cute gift ideas. You’ll also discover which baby girl or baby boy clothes are best for their first birthday outfit, as well as how to design your child’s birthday cake. Soon, you’ll be on your way to throwing your best party ever. 

Choose Your Invitations and Guest List 

Now that you’re in planning mode, let’s begin with your party’s basics. Decide how large your celebration will be and who is on the guest list. If you’re having a small get-together, digital invitations are simple and eco-friendly. You can create your own design or choose a template that matches your party theme. 

On the other hand, print invitations help to symbolize a special occasion. These days, you can order templates online and print them yourself. You can also have them custom made by a printer. No matter what type of invite you choose, be sure to include the date and time of the party, along with its location and instructions on how to RSVP. 

Feel free to list special details at the bottom, like if you’re having a full meal or you recommend baby girl or baby boy swimsuits for a pool party. Some people will be including digital guests. A separate insert or section can provide information about how to log on to view the festivities with the family. 

Shop for Stylish Baby Boy Clothes! 

Select a First Birthday Party Theme 

While you don’t have to choose one special theme for your baby’s first birthday, it can be a lot of fun. It can also help you to shop for décor and make decisions on food and activities. Here are some interesting ideas for a boy or girl’s party: 

‘Number One’ Sports Star  

Highlight your little rookie with a fun sports theme! Dress your event space as a football field or a baseball diamond. Or make it look like a racetrack or a hockey rink. If your family has a favorite sports team, use their colors for balloons and streamers. 

Make a DIY photo booth where your party guests take pictures with balls and other athletic-themed props. You can even ask your loved ones to wear team colors or jerseys. Play tee ball or kick a soccer ball around the yard. Serve appetizers or finger foods to make it feel like a true sporting event. It’s also an excellent party theme for cookouts and grilling. 

Don’t forget about your child’s first birthday cake. Colorful fondant and icing can make the scene look like a court or a crowded arena. You can even incorporate your child’s name and birthday greetings along with a team logo. 

Prince of the Castle graphic showing red haired child playing with statue of a number one

Prince/Princess of the Castle 

Turning one feels like royalty! Make your baby’s party opulent and memorable with a theme featuring a prince or princess’s castle. Start by adorning the space with rich colors like purple or magenta and then accent them with bold metallics such as gold or silver. Glittery crowns and horses make for regal and majestic décor. 

Your child’s birthday cake will look amazing in royal colors and a crown on top. Chocolate and vanilla cake are classic, but you can take things up a notch with a tiered cake featuring strawberry or raspberry filling. Bunches of bronze or rose gold balloons will make you feel like you’re in a faraway land. Let the children dress up in princess dresses or give them props to look like a valiant knight in the forest. 

Have a “ball” at the castle where you play music and give them time to bounce balloons or play with bubbles. When it’s time to eat, serve mini sandwiches shaped like crowns or stars. Handheld snacks are sure to keep little ones happy while the design will fit in perfectly with your party theme. When it’s time to take photos, give everyone a crown hat or unicorn headband to wear. 

One Wild Year 

Every baby’s first year is beautiful and wild! Show how proud you are of your child’s unique nature with an adorable jungle or forest theme. If you prefer, you can even showcase your little one’s favorite animals! Have your party outdoors in a place lined with trees. Or celebrate in a local park or the comfort of your backyard. 

For those who want their party inside, be sure to include plenty of faux greenery. You can even use emerald-colored curtains to make it feel like an outside space. A small tent or teepee is an excellent place for little ones to play. It’ll also make for cute décor and a fun photo opportunity. Add campfire décor or large animals like bears or tigers. 

Tunnels and toddler obstacle courses can help make everything feel more untamed and adventurous. Consider including an activity like face painting or balloon animals to keep children busy and help the party theme come to life. When it’s time to sing happy birthday, your kid will love a sheet cake with animals in a rainforest or under a jungle canopy. You can also design a layer cake meant to look like logs or leaves. 

Find Baby Girl Clothes for Her Birthday 

Graphic with "Fun in the Sun" writing and showing a young child looking at the camera

Fun in the Sun

There’s nothing better than life as a new family. Honor how much fun you’re having with an easy, breezy beach-themed party. It’s effortless to plan this one at the pool, but you can also celebrate on land. Shop cute and colorful baby boy or baby girl swimsuits ahead of time and then ask party guests to bring their favorite swimwear. Even if you won’t get in the water, cute cover ups and sundresses with hats can make for an adorable celebration. 

Artwork featuring waves and props like surfboards or sea animals will make the party both interesting and inspiring. Give everyone flower necklaces or plastic sunglasses to encourage a relaxing island theme. Have a cookout or serve casual food like subs or sandwiches. A cake with blue fondant and sugared sand will have everyone feeling like they’re on island time. Beach balls and sandboxes will fit in with your look while keeping active toddlers engaged. Make sure an adult is present whenever a child is near a pool or any body of water.

The Sweetest One 

Your child’s first year is full of sweet and precious moments. Celebrate with an adorable dessert theme! Let the décor include what your family likes best, whether it be ice cream or cookies. You can even make it cute and colorful with a candy or doughnut theme. 

Design an unforgettable party space with a faux ice cream truck made out of cardboard and paint. Stand behind it to serve cups and cones to your party guests. If you prefer to participate more in the activities, you could even have a buffet table with different styles and flavors of cookies. 

Feature kids’ favorites like sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies. Add a few gluten free options and tried-and-true grownup favorites like snickerdoodles or oatmeal raisin cookies. A doughnut party lets you have your event in the morning. You could even make it a brunch celebration. If you’re having a cake, make it next level by having fruit or doughnuts on top. A bundt cake looks like a doughnut but is fancy enough for a special occasion. 

Magical first year graphic with baby dresses in fantasy wings

Other Fun Party Ideas 

These party ideas are sure to create a memorable celebration for your little one. Other options include a “magical first year” theme that can feature everything from unicorns to wizards. An “out of this world year” lets you decorate a space theme with rockets and planets, while a “storybook year” party feels ethereal and can be an excellent way to collect books for your toddler. 

Shop for Baby’s First Birthday Outfit 

Now that you’ve decided on a theme, it’s an excellent time to shop for your child’s first birthday outfit. No matter how you celebrate, your little one’s clothing should look and feel special. After all, it’s a big day! You’ll also want plenty of photos of the occasion. Thankfully, there are so many ways to dress them to look cute and feel comfortable. 

First, think about the activities and ways your child likes to play. If they’re interested in running and climbing, a formal outfit may not be necessary. A combination of stylish and cozy will give you peace of mind as a parent while making your toddler feel like they’re ready for an adventure. 

Baby Girl Birthday Clothes 

When it comes to baby girl clothes for the occasion, consider choosing a special dress in your child’s favorite color. You can also choose an outfit that matches with their party theme. A three-piece set that includes a dress and a diaper cover along with a headband will make your sweet girl look polished and put-together. Prints featuring fruit or florals will stand out in photos. Here at Gerber Childrenswear, we also have seashell designs for beach-themed parties and ice cream prints for “sweet one” celebrations. 

If you’re shopping for something other than a dress, shortalls are fashionable and lightweight. Find them in party-friendly colors like pink and light blue. One-piece rompers are always adorable and look amazing with accessories like headbands and toddler sandals. A sleeveless tunic and legging set will feel comfortable if your little girl is playing chase or climbing on the playground. With cute colors and patterns, she’ll also be ready for every photo opportunity. 

Baby Boy Birthday Clothes 

Little guys have so many options for a memorable birthday outfit. If you want him to wear something fresh and classic, a pair of denim jeans with an elasticized waist along with a button-down woven plaid shirt will allow him to play in comfort while making him look special for his big day. 

A pair of shortalls with a white shirt looks great in photos while keeping him cool in warm weather. An outfit set with a pair of comfy pull-on shorts and a top featuring his favorite animal will match perfectly with a jungle or forest theme. A pair of joggers and a striped top or pocket tee will help to dress up his favorite sneakers or athletic shoes. If you’re looking to DIY, you can always use a blank Gerber® Onesies® bodysuit as a foundation for a knight’s outfit or sports costume. 

Have a Few Birthday Gift Ideas 

Before the big day arrives, your friends and family will ask about first birthday gifts. By now, you probably have plenty of toys and plush animals in your nursery. You can always tell family and friends to skip the novelties and opt for clothing or toddler accessories. After all, busy and active kids can always use more outfits. 

If you need updated baby blankets or baby shoes, now is a great time to get them. A quilt is an excellent new accessory for a toddler’s bed, while stretchy knit slip-on sneakers and neutral slip-on shoes will make great footwear for the party and playdates. 

It may also be a good idea to get garments that will help your child as they get active and want to do new things. Toddler swimsuits with UPF protection will make them look adorable while helping to protect their skin from the sun. When in doubt, ask for gift cards. You’ll be able to shop for more outfits as the seasons change and your child grows out of their current size. 

Birthday cupcake with confetti and striped purple candle

Celebrating Your Baby’s First Birthday 

Your baby’s first birthday is one of a kind. Whether you’re having an intimate celebration or a big party, there are so many ways to express your joy and wonder. Take plenty of pictures or ask a loved one to be your photographer. That way, you can focus on taking in the moment and helping your child enjoy their day. This fun milestone will help them transition to toddlerhood. Using the guide above will give you the peace of mind that you thought of every detail. 

As a parent, you walk beside your child in their growth. Here at Gerber Childrenswear, we’re ready to help you every step of the way. From toddler clothing to nursery essentials, we have everything you need to make each day a special adventure. 

Image Credits

Anna Zheludkova/

Anna Frajtova/

Ruth Black/

Olesia Bilkei/


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