8 Ways to Make the 1st Birthday Super Special

Your baby’s first birthday is a big deal; you made it one year together, even if your baby has no idea that today is a special day. Babies have no idea what is going on, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make their 1st birthday super special for the entire family.

Let’s be honest; our sweet new toddlers have no idea that this is an important day nor will they remember all of the work you put into the day. That’s why a lot of families forego large first birthday parties, waiting until their child is older to celebrate with larger guest lists.

That doesn’t mean their day can’t be made special.

Focusing on the importance of the day, having fun, and doing things your baby and everyone in your family enjoys is part of making the day memorable. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite ideas for a special first birthday.

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Related: 12 Pieces of Advice on How to Raise Responsible Children

8 Ways to Make the 1st Birthday Super Special

1. Get Birthday Photos Done!

You want to remember this special day, so make sure to get birthday photos taken in celebration. These are often taken before your baby’s 1st birthday, but you can schedule them on his birthday if you prefer to be authentic with the date. You can get extra small photos and send them out with thank-you cards for your baby’s party – if you have one.

2. Decorate Your Home When They Wake Up

One of the traditions we started with our kids from the beginning and still continue to this day is decorating the home the night before to celebrate. My kids love walking down the stairs and seeing the streamers, banners, and balloons – it makes them feel special.

Your one year old more than likely won’t appreciate your hard work – I often stay up quite late getting the birthday decorations done – but it creates a fun tradition for kids to remember. Their 1st birthday – and all of their birthdays – are special, and they should feel that way.

I suggest getting plenty of balloons for your baby to enjoy, and if it’s nice outside, maybe put out a bubble machine.

3. Start with a Fun Breakfast

It may seem hard to put together a fun breakfast for your baby’s 1st birthday, but you should absolutely do so. It goes along with the decorated home.

You can try plenty of ideas like:

  • Pancakes with strawberries and bananas – maybe some chocolate syrup too!
  • Banana muffins
  • Breakfast cake
  • Belgian waffles

Be indulgent! Remember, this day is a celebration for you as well, so grab that extra slice of breakfast cake and drink another cup of coffee. A year ago today, you birthed your baby! Look how far both of you have come today.

4. Plant a Tree Together

If you want to do something extra special for your baby’s 1st birthday, consider planting a tree together. A tree is a lasting memory of your child, and many families have this beautiful tradition.

It doesn’t even have to be a tree if you don’t have property, but make it a tradition to plant something each birthday. That could be a new bush or creating a flower pot together. Planting anything signifies new life, and it’s quite beautiful!

5. Make a Time Capsule

One of the coolest ideas I’ve seen is creating a time capsule on your baby’s 1st birthday, and if you pair this with his birthday party, it’s even better. Ask everyone to bring something to go in the time capsule; your child gets to open it on their 18th birthday.

You can find so many ideas about what to put into a first birthday time capsule, but here are some suggestions:

  • Birthday cards
  • Pictures
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Tickets for movies, sports games, etc.
  • Receipts to show current prices
  • Written letters from loved ones
  • Little notes with favorite memories from their first year of life

You can be so creative with a time capsule!

6. Do a Simple Party

Your baby could care less if you have a party for them; it’s really more for the memories and for you. Save the big parties for the years when your child will remember and appreciate having all of their friends over to party.

Instead, we invite our closest friends and family members over for a special birthday. We have some delicious food and a yummy cake. I’ve also found that babies tend to be overwhelmed at birthday parties, and I don’t want them to feel that way on their birthday. So, having people they are familiar having around makes your baby a lot more comfortable with their personal celebration.

7. Do Something Your Baby Enjoys!

Is there something your baby really enjoys? Perhaps he enjoys trips to the children museum or a beloved local park. You might have an open gymnastics studio that offers time to come in and play with the equipment. He might really enjoy a nearby aquarium or a trip to see animals a local farm.

Whatever the idea is, do something your baby enjoys for the day. After all, this is their day, so it makes sense to do things that your baby loves!

8. Have a Smash Cake

Last, but surely not least, one of the best ways to make your baby’s 1st birthday special is to have a smash cake. Some families opt to have smash cake just with mom, dad, and the older siblings, or you might have one at their party – or both. No matter when you do, smashing a cake has become a sort of right of passage as babies turn a year old, and it’s one of our favorite memories from the day!


As your baby’s first birthday approaches, make plans and think about how you want to make the day special for your child. From decorating the day before to doing something your child loves, try some of my favorite things to do to celebrate my babies turning one year old!

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