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What are some party ideas for a baby's first birthday?

Hitting the 1-year mark is a big deal for your baby — and you. Mark the occasion by celebrating with friends and family, including all the new mom friends and babies you’ve met during the first year of your little one’s life.

Tips for throwing a unique and fun first birthday party

Keep the party brief. Two hours is plenty of time to do an activity, serve cake and open presents. "Then let people get on with their day."

First birthday party ideas for boys

Dinosaur Theme

Throw your little dino a party complete with invites that say “Roar!” and a dinosaur-shaped cake. (Even simpler: Make cupcakes or a classic cake and top with paper cutouts in the shape of dinosaurs.) For the bigger kids in attendance, you can play a game of “pin the tail on the dinosaur.” Pick up plastic dinosaurs of all sizes at any toy store — you can use them as decorations during the party, and send them home with guests as a party favor.

Spider-Man Theme

Create a space for superheroes to shine!

Give the boys an awesome backdrop for epic play-battles with a Spider-Man scene setter and balloon columns! Have Spider-Man drop in as a giant gliding balloon to participate in the boys' imaginative play. The birthday hero will be extra-excited when he gets to dress up as his hero! Give him a Spider-Man mask and pair of gloves to go with his birthday outfit.

Space Theme

Throw an out-of-this-world party for your 1-year-old. Use balloons or Styrofoam balls to create a DIY solar system — this can also be a memorable background for photos. Serve cookies in the shapes of stars, the sun, and a crescent moon; you can also use these same cookie cutters to make sandwiches in galaxy-themed shapes. Have babies and bigger kids create their own solar systems using crayons and paper, all to the accompaniment of a space-themed playlist that adult guests will appreciate (you’ll want to include songs like Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”).

First birthday party ideas for girls

Unicorn Theme

Make these mythical creatures the center of your daughter’s first birthday party. Use balloons to make a rainbow backdrop — or, even easier, custom unique backdrop with your girl's name and place birthday messaging above it. A piñata in the shape of the horned creature provides entertainment (and sweets!) for the older kids and adults in attendance. If it’s warm out, have kids toss rings around a unicorn horn. A unicorn-topped cake is the perfect sweet treat, or try cupcakes with a horn on top. Think rainbows when it comes to food: You can serve fruit skewers with the fruit in ROYGBIV order. Put the party favors in a bag bedecked in unicorns or make each baby guest a personalized onesie with a unicorn image.

Princess Theme

Opt for a party that celebrates everything pink and frilly to celebrate your little girl's birthday. Serve tea sandwiches for grown-ups, along with beverages in teacups. Cake in the shape of a castle is one option, as are cupcakes with a crown on top of sugar cookies with the names of Disney (or real!) princesses. Use a chalk sign to create a message for your little princess (think: “You’re royalty to us!”). Bubble wands can serve as entertainment (adults can help littles below the soapy bubbles).

Mermaid Theme

Let the tail lead the way when it comes to a mermaid birthday party — use it as a decorative element on the invitations, cake, and party favors. A sea-themed backdrop and balloons in aquatic colors can serve as decorations, or use shells and netting to transform the room. Mermaid coloring books can entertain guests. Got warm weather? Fill a kiddie pool with water and let babies make a splash! Another idea: grab some buckets, fill them with water and let all the babies in attendance dunk toys in for a sensory delight.