So why not, let’s throw a party!
I love to DIY and use any excuse for arts and crafts, so I decided to make a lot of the decor myself.
- ONE banner – after picking a theme and color scheme, I decided to make a blue, turquoise & silver tassel garland. I also cut out individual banner cutouts from cardstock and put on big gold letters that spelled out ONE to tie around his high chair. This is a fun and easy task to do while in front of the TV 😉
- Face banner w/party hats – unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this amazing banner as a few of my friends did it for their own kids. We printed out a bunch of different pictures of Jackson from throughout the year with all different facial expressions. We then cut out just his face and glued on triangle-cutouts from construction paper using different colors and prints. (Pro Tip: you can also buy those pads of pre-cut triangle banner pendants from Michael’s to make life even easier!) Then I just used a hole puncher to put holes on the top of each hat and then strung them together to create a banner. It’s best to get a bunch of good laughing, smiling faces in there, but also some crying or yawning to mix it up. It was a hit at our party and everyone laughed at all the different Jax faces!
- Goody bags – we made it easy by using brown lunch bags sealed with custom designed dino stickers. Inside each goody bag, we placed bubbles, dino coloring book & crayons, dino temporary tattoos, play doh and some dino gummies.
- Adopt A Dino – we also had a small basket at the exit with an assortment of different dinosaur figurines with an “Adopt a Dinosaur” sign. It was great to see the kids running around at the end of the party all playing with their new friends!
- Cake – every 1st birthday must have a smash cake! I decided to make my own for Jackson so that I would know it wasn’t too sweet. I used this recipe to make a healthy banana, apple cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake was a little dense and we did three layers. It probably would have been fine with just two. Jackson is a bit timid and didn’t dive into the cake right away, but once we fed him a few pieces, he went to town!!
- Water bottles – a fun way and easy way to brand your birthday party is by using the great bottle labels from Pinhole Press. We just bought a case of water and peeled off the labels, and then stuck these stickers on top. It was so easy and also a great hit and talking point of the party. Who wouldn’t want personalized water bottles?!
Overall, the party was a huge success! The museum was a great place for the kids to explore and play in the different exhibits. Jackson especially loved the train tables and the mini grocery store with shopping carts!! The private party room was down the hallway and was a great place for the adults to hang out, chat, and eat food. It was so great to have all of our close friends and family together, and see how much love our son is surrounded by. We truly couldn’t have asked for a better time.
- Estimate guest count and determine venue from there
- Set an approximate budget, but be ok with going over it 😉 (let’s be real!)
- Pick your theme
- Make or buy your decor – honestly, whatever makes things easier for you!
- Have a few designated helpers with you day of to help set up & clean up
- Limit your party to no more than 3hrs – it’s the perfect amount of time with kids who have to nap
- Try to find time to enjoy some 1:1 time with your child during the actual party. We got so caught up with chatting with friends, that I had to make an effort to take Jackson through the museum for 15 minutes and made sure that my husband got to too. At the end of the day, it’s still about you and your lil one, so make sure you dedicate some time (even if it’s short!) to celebrate together.
- Your kid will cry. And if he/she is anything like Jackson, it’s going to be during the cake. It’s ok though – makes for great & funny pics!
- It will be stressful, and the party will be over before you know it. But it’ll still be worth it.
And on that note, Happy Birthday, Jackson! We love you!!
Emily Fong is mom to Jackson, 16 months and Kitsu, a 5-year-old Shiba pup. When she is not planning parties for her family, she is Director of Campaigns for Sephora, while living in Bay Area, CA.