Kid's Birthday Party Planning

Whether you are planning your child's first birthday or just need a refresher on party planning, I thought I would document our process of planning Sloane's first birthday. Here are all of the things you could think of/need/do but absolutely don't have to! Feel free to adapt based on your preference or abilities, this is just a rough checklist to help you get organized. You can check out Sloane's party here to see these in action.

  • You don't HAVE to have a theme! Are they cute? Absolutely. But the theme can simply be your child's birthday or certain colors!
  • For an older child, you can choose a theme based on their interests, likes, hobbies, or favorite things.
  • Our Choice: "How the West Was ONE"

  • Your house - obviously, if you can host the party at your house, this makes life a lot easier (and cheaper). If you have a birthday in the warmer months, you can utilize outdoor space and even set up tables in the garage or driveway.

  • If you can't or don't want to host, here are some possibilities to look into!
    • Local library
    • Hotel
    • Community center
    • Local park
    • Playground
    • Restaurant "party room"
    • Brewery (for really young children, the party is more about the adults)
    • Kids "Party Places" (Gymboree, Color Me Mine, Chuck E Cheese, etc)
    • Museum
    • Zoo
    • Family member's home

  • Our Choice: Community clubhouse
  • Virtual invites - you can make an e-mail invite, Facebook group, or even just a text if that is your preference. Here are some sites to help you do that:
    • Canva
    • Etsy
    • Paperlesspost
  • Print your own - if you want to do a paper invite but would rather make one yourself, there are a number of sites you can use. You can print it out on cardstock from your own printer or have them printed and mailed to you!
    • Canva (print your own)
    • Etsy
    • Zazzle
    • Shutterfly
  • Stationery Designer - if you are really feeling fancy, you can go to a professional to design the invitations! You can search designers near you, but I have used With Love Daily Designs for all my professional stationery and she is AMAZING.
  • Our Choice:

  • Food will ultimately depend on how many guests you plan to have, your venue, and if you are choosing to serve a meal at the party! However, if you are looking for food that serves a "larger" crowd well, here are some options:
    • Pizza
    • Hoagies
    • Taco bar
    • BBQ 
    • Hamburgers and hot dogs
    • Pasta
    • Salads
    • Sliders
    • Fried/grilled chicken
  • Our choice: BBQ (it fit with the Western theme!) - pulled pork and ham BBQ sandwiches, coleslaw, green beans, mac and cheese, and cornbread.



Another category that is really up to your discretion. However, here are some "traditional" dessert ideas!
  • Smash Cake - this is the first birthday party staple (and not for your guests). A tiny cake that the birthday boy or girl gets to break into, making for a great photo-op and an excited baby. Although typically done for a first birthday, there's no reason you couldn't do something similar for your child's second or third, etc. 
    • If you need ideas for what to do for your smash cake, here is a list.
    • If you're like me and want to make a "healthier" smash cake for your baby, we made a recipe you can use. *It's also totally okay to let your baby have lots of sugar for one day!
  • Other desserts:
    • Cake (for the rest of the guests)
    • Cupcakes (easier to serve and grab)
    • Doughnuts
    • Cookies
    • Cake pops
    • Rice crispy treats
    • Candy
  • Our choice: Cactus cupcakes to fit the Western theme!


You don't need anything for people to do - I enjoy coming to parties, singing happy birthday, eating, and leaving! But if you want an activity or have lots of kids attending, here are some ideas.

Gift Bags

Once again, this is totally your choice on whether or not to include some kind of gift or treat bag. This can depend on the age of your child, the number of kids attending, or your personal preference. If you are choosing to make some, here are ideas on what you can include for a wide range of ages and party themes:

Misc. Extras (in case you forget!)

We hope this was helpful in reminding you of everything you may want for your child's party and perhaps giving you some inspiration as well! Feel free to comment with questions or if there's anything we may have missed. Have a great party!

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  1. Thanks for sharing the best information and suggestions, I love your content, and they are very nice and very useful to us. If you are looking for the best Outdoor Birthday Party Ideas, then visit I appreciate the work you have put into this.


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