Are you looking for party games for baby’s first birthday as you excitedly plan the party… but not really sure what to do? Your baby won’t remember a thing and might not even be mobile or vocal yet.
So you’re probably scratching your head thinking of ways to entertain adults and older kids and maybe another baby (or a few).
You can make the party fun and memorable without too much effort at all by including some great activities and party games. You’re going to love this list of party games for baby’s first birthday to entertain your guests from old to young and make memories that will last forever!
Why Party Games for Baby’s First Birthday are a Good Idea
You know that gathering all the friends and family for your little’s ones important milestone is important and should be memorable. But when you get to thinking about it… what do you even DO to celebrate a one-year-old?
I mean, really ANYTHING can entertain a one-year-old. They can be completely enthralled by an empty plastic bottle or some shaking keys for quite some time.
The real question is, how do you entertain the rest of the guest list when you are celebrating a tiny person who gets tired and overstimulated really quickly? You want the day to be special and memorable, filled with laughter and photo opportunities. On the other hand, you don’t want to overwhelm your baby at their 1st birthday party either.
So what to do?
How about some silly and fun party games for baby’s first birthday?
The littlest guests are really the simplest to entertain and won’t remember all the effort you put in, their 1st birthday party themes, or really much at all about your child’s first birthday party at all.
However, you will remember it! And grandparents, adult family members, and all the big kids probably will remember it too. So why not plan some great first birthday party games and activities that they can watch, enjoy, and participate in to have a fun and memorable time on your baby’s big day?
RELATED: Fun and Memorable First Birthday Traditions to Start at One
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Tips for 1st Birthday Party Games and Activities
- Don’t be afraid to invite guests of all ages. Your baby’s first birthday party in no way needs to be a big gathering of one year olds. Instead consider including close friends, family, and even neighbors with older children to come to celebrate the birthday boy or birthday girl.
- There is no correct size for your baby’s first party. The number of guests that you invite is totally up to you. Whether you feel like hosting (and buying for, setting up for, and then cleaning up after) a small group or a big bash you are doing it right!
- Plan the event around your baby’s naptime. Your little one is most likely down to two naps a day, which fortunately makes this easier to plan around than anything you’ve done the last year, but it can still be a challenge. If your baby gets too tired in the late afternoon, try an earlier party this time.
- Make the party food simple. Babies and kids are messy, and parties can be messy overall. Especially if you are planning games, keep the food kid-friendly, baby friendly, and simple. I promise the adult guests won’t mind. Line picnic tables with finger foods, your little ones’ favorite food, and fruit juice boxes. Be sure you know if any party guests have food allergies and also cut up anything choke-able like hot dogs or grapes if you are expecting many little ones.
RELATED: Best Affordable First Birthday Gift Ideas for Boys and Girls
The Best Activities and Games for First Birthday Parties
You can buy a pack or two of ball pit balls from Amazon and either fill up a kiddie pool or a pop-up ball pit.
This is a really great option because it’s safer than water (so adults can relax a little) and also great if it’s too cool for water.
It’s simple activity that will keep the really little ones completely entertained and happy.
If the season and weather allow, set up a kiddie pool for the party. You only need an inch or two of water for your one year old and their guests to splash and enjoy!
Pools are great for entertaining kids at parties because you don’t really have to organize any games or anything.
Just fill it with water and cups and let them splash around.
Be sure there are always multiple adults supervising the kiddie pool within arms reach (or ideally one parent per little one) no matter how shallow the water is.
You can buy or make your own water table which is a really fun activity for summer and spring months.
Even just filling multiple shallow plastic boxes or buckets with water and adding in measuring cups and funnels can be a fun and cheap DIY water table activity for your little guests to enjoy.
You can bring out your wooden blocks or get some big soft blocks to let the littles build away.
Have a tower building contest with the older kids!
Bubbles are a great way to entertain kids of all ages.
When all else fails… bubbles!
You can pick up a bubble wand to give as a party favor to each child.
The downside with that is it still leaves yourself and other parents doing all the blowing.
If it’s in your party budget pick up a battery operated bubble blower instead! There are small affordable ones from the dollar store, or big pricier ones that are more reliable that you can use for party after party for a great time.
If you want a REAL win, get yourself a bubble machine. You will be able to set it up, sit back, let the kids play and the grownups can relax. We’ve had the same bubble machine for three years and it was wildly worth the 30 bucks.
Cover an entire table with butcher paper and let the kids and even adults draw or write messages to the birthday boy or girl!
This can be a keepsake forever.
It IS kind of big, so pick and choose which area to keep or have a special big rectangle on the table designated for birthday wishes.
You could also use a big poster board for this activity as well.
A common tradition is a smash cake activity for baby’s first birthday party.
This is definitely a love/hate type of activity. Sure your baby can have a ball making a huge mess and getting covered in frosting – but there’ll definitely be a bit of clean up necessary LOL.
It’s a great sensory activity to smash up a birthday cake, and you get some really memorable and cute photos.
You also might shudder even considering doing a smash cake as it ramps your anxiety levels way up.
If it sounds fun to you, do it! If it is not your jam, skip it.
But remember this is a second birthday cake created especially for smashing, not the one for your guests to enjoy eating.
Balloon Jump Game
You can set up some fun party games for the big kids and even adults.
It might be tough encouraging them to participate at first, but it is sure to bring out a lot of laughs and memories that will last a lifetime.
Blow up some balloons with air and you can either split the party guests into teams or let each person compete individually.
Create a start and finish line.
Party guests will have to place the balloon between their knees and hop until they reach the finish line.
If you are doing teams the first person hops to the finish line and when they cross it their partner (who is waiting there) hops back past the starting line.
This does require a bit of set up but if you have bigger kids or even some young kids (but not the babies of course), a treasure hunt can be a very fun party game/activity to play at your baby’s first birthday.
Learn how to set up a treasure hunt here. You can let the kids be one big group on the hunt or split them into smaller groups as well depending on the size of the party.
Egg Spoon Game
This is a fun party game for the big kids and adults again. Let them bring out their inner child with some wooden spoons and eggs.
You can use hard-boiled, chocolate Easter, or plastic eggs for this party game.
You can even just get an egg spoon game set (which usually includes wooden eggs).
To play this game you can use the same start and finish lines from the game above but this time give each participant a wooden spoon (or even a metal or plastic spoon can work) and an egg to balance on it.
They must walk across the game while balancing the egg on the spoon and not touching it with the other hand.
You can also make this game with teams using the same method as the game above. Don’t forget prizes for the winners!
“Pin” the Tail on the Donkey
This classic game can be adapted so many ways.
Taping the tail on the donkey is a lot safer for one year olds!
But other than that adaptation, you can make the item that you are pinning match your party theme!
Pin the tail on the My Little Pony, pin the tail on Dory, pin the tiara on the princess, etc.
It’s always nice to have background music at a party.
Fortunately, we’ve made it to the day and age where you don’t have to find an outlet or pack around the boombox. Just using your phone and a speaker works great.
You can take the party music and use it to do a freeze dance challenge.
When the music is playing everyone has to be moving. But you periodically pause the music and then everyone has to immediately freeze.
Anyone moving after the music stops is eliminated. The last one standing wins!
Last Thoughts About Activities and Party Games for Baby’s First Birthday
The most important thing about baby’s first birthday is to make it fun and memorable.
Don’t forget it is mainly for the adults this time around.
This party is about celebrating the baby, not necessarily gathering a bunch of kids your child’s same age for a great time. I mean, if you already have an active playgroup of one-year-olds established then that’s great! But most of us don’t have that yet at this young age, just getting through the first year can be tough!
So focus on simple foods, memorable games, and simple but entertaining activities for the babies.
Remember to get some prizes for the party game winners and don’t forget to take a lot of pictures!
Or better yet, have a designated picture taker that isn’t you who doesn’t mind walking around snapping a bunch of pics. Think of recruiting a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or your best friend.
Have fun and happy birthday to your little one!