Your baby is 1, and it’s time to party! We asked Penny Warner, child development instructor and author of more than 12 party and activity books, including Baby Birthday Parties: 20 Fun Theme Parties for Babies 1 to 3, for ideas on hosting that first milestone party. “There’s a lot to juggle—the unpredictable mood and schedule of a toddler, appropriate themes and snacks, even the number of guests.” Her seven stress-free tips and theme ideas will have you and your bambino tossing your party hats into the air.
1. Watch the clock. Plan the party to last an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Babies have short attention spans and run out of energy and interest quickly. Plan the party for late morning or late afternoon—pre- or post-nap—when baby isn’t tired.
2. VIPs only. Scale back the guest list to avoid overwhelming your babe and keep costs down.
3. Ask for help. Consider hiring a babysitter or asking a family member to help you balance your hosting duties with enjoying your baby’s big day.
4. Babies love balloons. Opt for foil, or Mylar, balloons instead of latex to avoid choking hazards for kids under 8. Find Mylar balloons and Balloon Time helium tank kits at partycity.com.
5. Create a play place. Many of the babies in this age range are still on all fours, so baby-proof a play zone filled with age-appropriate toys for your little guests. Set chairs around the zone for parents to relax and watch.
6. Check your treats. Ask your guests if there are food allergies to consider. Keep snacks simple, like chopped fruit and graham crackers for the kids, and more grown-up versions for the adults to munch.
7. Don’t stress. You’re still a few years shy of hiring a D.J. and hosting pony rides. It won’t matter to baby whether you throw the party of the season or just celebrate at home with your immediate family. As long as he’s with you and feels love all around, that’s all that matters.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles Party
Spark his imagination with a transportation celebration.
Activity: Expect oohs and ahhs when you set up Cardboardesign’s airplane along with finger paints and smocks for pint-size artists to decorate. The final handprint-laden masterpiece makes a great keepsake. $50 for plane; mightynest.com
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