25 Cheap (and Fun) First Birthday Party Ideas (2024)

First birthdays are a big milestone, and come with a traditional party for friends and family alike (did someone say cake-smashing?) But your 1-year-old's birthday party doesn't need to be an expensive affair. We put our most creative hats on to come up with 25 memorable ways to celebrate your little one's first trip around the sun—without breaking the bank.

01of 25

Frame Your Baby's 'Year of Firsts'

Keep your kiddo's first birthday decor super simple and sweet with a framed photo collage of all their firsts. Not only is it an adorable decoration for the party, but it's also a beautiful keepsake you'll always cherish.

02of 25

Crepe Paper Everything

Want to keep the budget to a minimum for your child's first birthday and still have a stylish bash? No problem! You can make all the decor out of crepe paper (no, really). You can make napkin rings, lanterns, party favors—you name it!—with cheap paper streamers.

03of 25

Get Your Snack On

Chances are, there will be a few toddlers at the party in addition to the guest of honor. Cater to their culinary needs by displaying Cheerios, Goldfish, and other "pick-ups" in cute treat cups. It's inexpensive and looks nice and polished.

04of 25

Make Treats Part of the Decor

Few things are cuter than mini donuts (besides, of course, the birthday kid), so why not make them part of the decor? Slip a few mini donuts (or cookies that look like donuts) around a straw and glass of milk, and you've got some adorable party treats that double as decorations.

05of 25

Do the Monster Mash

If you want to get theme-y, a monster bash is a fun way to go. Create budget-friendly monsters like utensil holders that are really just empty tissue boxes. Clever!

06of 25

Have a Milk and Cookies Party

Whether you're turning 1 or 100, it's impossible to resist the tried-and-true milk and cookies combo. And a bonus? Neither will break the bank, making for a super affordable party theme.

Make a No-Sew High-Chair Tutu

Up your smash cake photo op with a no-sew tutu for your baby's highchair. The little ballerina in your life will look even cuter (if that's possible) sitting behind a big tuft of tulle.

08of 25

Have a Ball

No baby or toddler will be able to resist some good, clean ball pit fun. Simply add colorful balls to a blow-up kiddie pool, and you've got hours of (cheap) entertainment on your hands.

09of 25

Create a Balloon Arch

Balloons are a bright, colorful, fun way to add some pizazz to a birthday party. With a couple of dollars and a little bit of time, you can blow up enough balloons to create a beautiful archway that can double as a photo opportunity for your guest of honor.

10of 25

Party at a Park

Some public parks have BBQ grills, picnic tables, and other attractions that can make a family gathering outside super fun (and free!). State parks are also a great option and typically cost very little to enter.


11of 25

Wave Bubble Wands

It's no secret that babies love bubbles. Grab a few inexpensive bubble wand kits at the local dollar store and set up a bubble-blowing station outside! Of course, you may need to get a few big kid (or adult) volunteers to help blow the bubbles for your birthday baby.

12of 25

Print a Giant Photo Collage

Take a big piece of cardboard and cut out a giant number one. Then attach pictures of your baby's first year until you have a photo collage celebrating their first year of firsts. Bonus: It can double as a fun photo prop for friends and family.

13of 25

Stamp Handprint Invites

A super cute way to celebrate your child's first birthday is to use their hand to stamp out handprints for invites and thank you cards. Don't forget to save one as a keepsake!

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14of 25

Have a Fingerpaint Party

A fingerprint party is a super fun way to keep a group of toddlers and babies happy. Lay down a tarp, some paper, and some cups of food-grade finger paint and let your little Picasso go wild.

15of 25

Scream for Ice Cream

Create a little ice cream parlor for your guests by setting up a table with a toppings bar. Be sure to avoid choking hazards like nuts and candies for the youngest guests. Try adding food coloring to ice cream to give it a bright rainbow feel, and don't underestimate the power of whipped cream. Kids will love topping their scoops with a swirl of that dreamy white fluff.

16of 25

Make a Rainbow Fruit Display

Try a fruit rainbow if you're looking for the perfect first birthday party food that won't cost you a ton of money. Take a few skewers and add strawberries, mango, pineapple, green grapes, blueberries, and purple grapes and then line them up in an arch shape on a platter. Not only is fruit sweet and nutritious, but the added charm of the design will enchant your guests.

17of 25

Have a DIY Beach Party at Home

You don't have to live near a beach to throw a beach party. Create a beach with some sand and beach toys in a small kiddie pool right in your backyard. For added fun, set up a water table, and give your baby (and their friends) some toys like buckets, shovels, and sieves to add to the splashy, beachy fun.

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18of 25

Get Crafty With a Baby Face Banner

Add some goofy fun to your first birthday party decor by printing black and white pictures of your baby's face. Add some construction paper birthday hats and then attach them to a long piece of string, and you've got a custom-made, first birthday banner!

19of 25

Give Party-Goers Fairy Woodland Crowns

Grab an inexpensive pack of headbands and hotglue some ribbons, fabric flowers, and even faux moss to create a whimsical fairy woodland crown for your guests. The crowns can double as a sweet photo prop for family pictures.

20of 25

Have a Very Hungry Caterpillar Theme

Set up a food table with color-themed finger foods like a plate of sliced strawberries here and a plate of orange crackers there, and of course, some green cupcakes. Print some colorful Very Hungry Caterpillars and attach to toothpicks for cupcake toppers and you've got yourself an adorable first birthday party!

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21of 25

Use Animal Cake Toppers

If your baby loves animals, try using plastic animals as cake toppers to create a sweet zoo or barnyard theme. If you have some baking chops, try using food coloring to match the frosting design to your birthday baby's favorite animal, like zebra stripes or a fuzzy brown bear.


22of 25

Go With a Sunny Theme

For your baby's first completed trip around the sun, try throwing a sunny theme party. A simple yellow cake with sunshine rays, some yellow balloons, and a heartfelt nod to "you are my sunshine" can make this a sweet and memorable party.

23of 25

Get Creative With Rice Krispie Numbers

Grab a number one-shapped cookie cutter and use it to mold some Rice Krispie treats. Once they set, try dipping them in white chocolate (you can add food coloring!), and sprinkling candy confetti to add some glam.

24of 25

Have a Storybook Party

Does your baby love a great storybook? Try hosting a storybook-themed party. Gather your birthday baby and their guests and read a fun story out loud. Follow it up with story-themed snacks and activities based on the book you chose.

25of 25

Throw a Dance Party

Babies love music, so why not make music a central theme for your baby's first birthday! Create a dance floor, play some kid-friendly tunes, and boogey down, just don't forget to get lots of pictures.

25 Cheap (and Fun) First Birthday Party Ideas (2024)


How do you celebrate your first birthday on a low budget? ›

Frame Your Baby's 'Year of Firsts'

Keep your kiddo's first birthday decor super simple and sweet with a framed photo collage of all their firsts. Not only is it an adorable decoration for the party, but it's also a beautiful keepsake you'll always cherish.

What can I do for my first birthday instead of a party? ›

Here are some first birthday ideas without a party.
  • Go on a Vacation. You are probably longing for one. ...
  • Visit a Zoo. It would be a nice time to spend with your loved ones. ...
  • Arrange a Special Photo Session. ...
  • Celebrate at the Orphanage. ...
  • Get a Special Cake. ...
  • Have a Family Picnic. ...
  • Plant a Tree. ...
  • Organize a DIY Craft Party.

How do you throw a big birthday party on a small budget? ›

How to Throw a Birthday Party on a Budget
  1. Keep your guest list small. ...
  2. Make your own invitations. ...
  3. Use free printables to decorate. ...
  4. Pick a theme you already have decorations for. ...
  5. Have the party at your house. ...
  6. Don't party at meal time. ...
  7. Make or decorate your own cake. ...
  8. Use the dollar store for party supplies.

How can I celebrate my birthday with less money? ›

13 Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas For Small Budgets (2024)
  1. Rent an event venue on the cheap with Peerspace. ...
  2. Write out a budget and stick to it. ...
  3. Create a 'must-have' list and then avoid any extras. ...
  4. Keep the guest list small to help you stay on budget. ...
  5. Celebrate on a weekday. ...
  6. Send digital invitations for free.

How much should I spend on my baby's first birthday? ›

A majority – 61 percent – of parents spent $200 or less, 25 percent spent between $200 and $500, and 11 percent dished out more than $500. The amount you spend is up to you, and depends on what kind of party you want to have for your child.

What time should a 1st birthday party be? ›

10 a.m. is the best time of day for a kids' party.

Hosting a first birthday party at 10 a.m. means that guests have had breakfast (hours ago) and aren't expecting lunch, so you can serve light snacks, coffee, and co*cktails alongside cake. It also means your baby is well-rested, as are your young guests.

What food is good for a 1 year old birthday party? ›

One-year-olds enjoy a variety of foods, so consider putting together a "baby buffet" with things like cheese cubes, mini sandwiches, crackers, bananas, muffins, yogurt, applesauce, pasta, hard-boiled eggs, lean proteins, and more.

What is a reasonable amount to spend on a birthday party? ›

When budgeting, don't forget to factor in the cost of a birthday party. According to a recent survey, the average parent spends approximately $400 on a birthday party for their child.

How do you throw a fun small party? ›

Check it out:
  1. Create an Enticing Invitation.
  2. Invite an Interesting Group of Guests.
  3. Use Festive Décor.
  4. Lighting is Super Important.
  5. Create a Lively Playlist.
  6. Incorporate Thoughtful Details.
  7. Offer Mouthwatering Food.
  8. Serve a Mix of co*cktails.
Jun 1, 2021

How do you keep kids entertained at a party? ›

Ans: Consider setting up a themed scavenger hunt, crafting station, or a movie corner with their favorite films. These activities, aligned with the theme, can keep the kids engaged and excited throughout the celebration.

Is $200 too much for a birthday gift? ›

Granted, how much you spend is typically dependent on how long you've been together. If you're already in a long-term relationship, then spending anywhere from $100-$200 for a gift is a safe bet. If you're newly dating, then something less pricey is definitely reasonable, like, say, around $25-$50.

How much money can you give someone for their birthday? ›

Small gift allowance

You can give as many gifts of up to £250 per person as you want each tax year, as long as you have not used another allowance on the same person. Birthday or Christmas gifts you give from your regular income are exempt from Inheritance Tax.

How do you plan a birthday party for adults? ›

Party Planning Checklist
  1. Determine the date, time, and guest list.
  2. Choose the right venue.
  3. Select a party theme.
  4. Pick out decorations and party favors.
  5. Decide on the menu and drinks.
  6. Order the perfect birthday cake.
  7. Send out invitations.
Apr 24, 2023

How to celebrate 1st birthday of baby boy on a budget? ›

  1. Do something fun as a family. ...
  2. They aren't going to remember anything big or who was there but they will grow having that feeling of love around them.
  3. Sensory bins are fantastic fun and can be relatively cheap.
  4. Balloons were always a hit with my boys. ...
  5. Make baby a cake and let them get right in there.
Feb 25, 2021

How do you keep your first birthday simple? ›

You can set up food and decorations at a picnic table (and some parks have barbecue grills), plus a nearby playground can occupy the kids—just make sure you have enough adults to keep an eye on them. (Having the party outside is also a great option when it's cold, flu and covid season.)

What food to have at first birthday party? ›

Here are some ideas to get your brainstorming started:
  • Bagels and cream cheese, coffee and fruit for a breakfast party.
  • Sandwiches, pizza, salads and fruit for a lunch party.
  • Chilli, soup, bread and cheese for a dinner party.

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