Growing up birthdays were a BIG thing at my house. I loved it! I make birthdays a big thing for my kids too. It is their one day all year that is all about them and I have no problem with spoiling them a bit on that day. We celebrate how happy I am that they joined our family and we have a lot of fun!
Here are the four things we needed for our perfect first birthday party:
ONE BIG BALLOON
Birthday balloons are always a hit. I love the giant birthday balloons that spell out the child's name or show how old they are. I hit up Party City the night before my daughter's birthday and they were out of every color #1 except for pink and red, so fortunately pink went with my birthday decor and we grabbed it! She wouldn't have cared what color it was and she spent all afternoon dragging it around and it hitting it. I think the balloon was her favorite gift! I also loved having the balloon since it served as the perfect photo prop for cute pictures! We also blew up some smaller balloons for the kids to hit and kick and play with when they arrived. Our one-year-old thinks it is hysterical to kick balloons like she is playing soccer!
A SMASH CAKE
This year I made a cake for our guests (just my brother and his wife and kids) and then I made a smash cake for the baby. I haven't done a separate smaller cake for a 1st birthday before but it was fun to use for picture taking without having the baby attack the whole big cake that then everyone had to eat from.
At breakfast time we made a donut hole cake and let her play with it smash it around for a few minutes (mostly she just stuffed donut holes into her mouth as fast as she could)... but then we took it away from her and shared the untouched donuts with everyone else.
At her birthday party, she got her own cake to dive into! She loved it! She actually stayed quite tidy too which was surprising. My oldest got cake all in his hair and everywhere.
We got her a few presents (that I'll link below), but honestly she only cared about the tissue paper, boxes, and wrapping paper. The presents actually ended up being a way to help distract my four year old from being sad that it wasn't his birthday too. Ha! He "helped' open all of the baby's presents and tried them out for her as well. Such a sweet brother!
Birthday presents we bought or she received as presents were (amazon affiliate links included)...
Little Tikes Scoot Around Animal Ride On
Fisher Price Vintage Musical Ferris Wheel Toy
Care Bear Sing Along Bear
Disney Princess Ball pit plus extra balls (see below for details)
Little People Surprise and Sounds Home
A BABY BALL PIT
With several of my kids I have gotten them a little ball pit for their first birthday. It is a hoot to see how excited they are about it. My daughter just went in and out and in and out all day. She threw the balls everywhere and was in heaven! Her big siblings had fun joining in and playing with her too. I made sure to put the ball pit on carpet this time (last time I didn't) so then the balls didn't roll nearly as far when they threw them!
After we ate cake and ice cream, our little guests just played with our toys while the grown-ups chatted and my husband gave the birthday girl a bath. It was a low-key and short party (about an hour and a half max) and then we said good-bye to guests and got the baby off to bed. I love parties that are simple, easy, and low-stress!