Birthday parties for babies

Tips and ideas for throwing a birthday party for a little one

Baby’s birthday is a major milestone in both the baby’s and the parents’ lives. Most baby birthdays are celebrated with family members, including grandparents, cousins and so on. But parents who belong to mother groups or baby playgroups often celebrate with baby’s peers. Either way, it’s best to choose a theme and arrange the party around it. Here are a few tips and ideas for celebrating that special first, second or third birthday with your baby.

Baby at the zoo
–       Decorate inflated balloons like animals using permanent markers, pieces of construction paper, or inexpensive masks and float them around the ceiling.
–       Animal Masks. Buy some animals masks and let the kids wear them. Be sure to have a mirror handy so they can see themselves. Or paint the babies’ faces to look like animals, using non-toxic face paints.
–       What’s that Noise? Make animal noises and have the babies name the animal.
–       Hire an animal trainer to bring an animal to the party, such as a gerbil, rabbit, or turtle, and then let the babies touch them.
Baby, bubbles and balloons
–       Fill the ceiling with inflated balloons to greet the babies when they arrive.
–       Pop the Bubble. Have adults blow bubbles and let the babies try to pop them.
–       Catch the Balloon. Inflate balloons, toss them in the air, and let the babies try to catch them.
–       Balloon Animals. Hire a balloon animal magician to make balloon animals, and then hand them to the babies accompanied by animal noises.
–       Chase the Balloon. Tie a string to a balloon and set it in the middle of the room. Pull the string and watch the babies go after it.
Musical baby
–       Set out instruments for babies to play during the party, and get out a few fun CDs to play with the instruments.
–       Musical Chairs. Set out mats for the babies to sit or stand on. Start the music and encourage the babies to dance around in a circle. When the music stops, have them find a mat to stand on. Do NOT remove any mats – babies at this age won’t understand, and they will enjoy the game without playing the official way.
–       Sing a Song. Have the babies sit in a circle and sing a favorite song, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Happy Birthday to You.” If you know baby sign language, add that to the song.
–       Have a Concert. Give the babies musical instruments and let them play along to some music, while they march around the room like a parade.
Baby on Sesame Street
–       Decorate with Sesame Street posters. Tie helium balloons to Sesame Street characters and let them float around the room.
–       Big Bird’s Footprints. Cut out large bird footprints from yellow construction paper, set them around the room in a path, and have the babies follow in Big Bird’s Footsteps.
–       Get Grover. Tie a rope to a stuffed Grover and set him in the middle of the room. Have the babies take turns trying to “Get Grover”, as you pull the rope just out of reach. After a couple of tries, let them catch Grover.
–       Put on a Puppet Show. Use stuffed Sesame Street characters to put on a puppet show for the babies. Then let them have a turn playing with the characters.
A few bonus tips:
–       Keep the party short and sweet for this age, an hour or an hour and a half is usually long enough.
–       Plan the party for late morning or late afternoon, when baby is not too tired.
–       Invite parents to come so they can watch their babies stay safe and enjoy the fun.
–       Get extra help – hire a babysitter or two to assist you with the party planning and hosting.
–       Keep the babies busy so they don’t become bored or whiney, but don’t overwhelm them with activities—keep it simple.
–       Babies love balloons! Use a Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kit, available at party stores, to make inflating colorful balloons quick, easy, and inexpensive. Just be careful not to let babies under the age of 2 play with broken or deflated balloons, as they are a choking hazard.
–       Take billions of pictures!

Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner. She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties

Balloon Time is the leading brand of consumer helium balloon kits in North America. Balloon Time kits feature a helium-filled tank, latex or foil balloons and ribbon, and are available at national retail chains, party goods and grocery stores nationwide