First Birthday

Fun games for a first birthday party

Planning a first birthday party is an interesting thing. You pick out the perfect cake, find the best outfit for the baby's big day and send out the invitations. You make all the plans, but eventually realize that you have nothing to keep little hands occupied between the cake and presents.

For the children, think short and easy since most one-year-olds don't sit still for too long. Try reading a story, or having the kids roll a ball back and forth to each other. If you have a wagon, decorate it to match the party theme and take the kids for rides around the yard. You can also try a pull-string piñata, or simply laying out different sized boxes in the yard and letting the kids climb through them. We all know that children like the boxes more than the presents, and this way they get both. The easiest thing to do for kids is to arrange various toys in one place, and let them pick what they want to play with. Just lay out a blanket and let them go crazy.


And let's face it, first birthday parties are really more for adults than children. Kids will see the pictures some day, but they won't really remember what games were played or what presents they received. So plan a few games for the adults.

Baby bottle bowling can be fun for adults, and you might even be able to get the kids involved. Take 10 baby bottles of the same size and fill them with water. Use a slightly heavy ball, around a soccer ball weight, and let adults take turns trying to knock over the "pins." For kids, use empty bottles with a smaller baby-sized ball.

For another adult game at your baby's first birthday party, fill 10 empty baby food jars with dry cereal and let the bottles sit on a high table. As the adults arrive, encourage each to take a guess on how many pieces of cereal are in the bottles. After everyone guesses, reward the winner with a prize. Think of a prize that their child will like too, like a stuffed animal or a set of soft balls.

You could also try a different kind of guessing game. Compile 10 to 20 pictures of your child at different stages; it can be a picture from each month, or from different events say their first smile or the first time they ate solid food. Place each image on a large piece of poster board and hang in a prominent place at the party. Ask guests to write down their guesses for each milestone, and reward the one who guesses the most events correctly. This can be great to see how well daddy or mommy remembers too!

By Jennifer Eblin