I was heartbroken when Deepti said she may shut down Mommy Center...so I decided to push myself a bit and make this post. Would be awesome to hear everyone's stories too!
1st Birthday Celebration Ideas
If the big day is almost upon you(or upon you yet again if your kid's older than 1!), then here's a little help with planning!
Very popular and as much fun to organize as they are for the lil ones.
Popular themes seem to be:
1. Zoo/Jungle/Farm theme - since most 1 year olds are fascinated by animals. M loves butterflies so her party HAD to have a butterfly theme!
2. Cartoon character theme - works well for kids who're hooked on a character from a book, a soft toy or game. Popular ones include Pooh/Mickey Mouse/Disney characters
3. Flowers/Pretty garden theme - works well for girls or metrosexual boys!
4. Water theme - lends itself to great outdoor party with splash pool/water based games, but needs more supervision. Attempt only if all the kids are escorted by parents!
CAKE: The big advantage with theme parties is the cakes are simple to plan since you already have a basic theme. The only decision is - bake at home or buy? Tip**: I combined both and bought a basic chocolate truffle cake and did the decorating at home. FOOD: Cookies in line with the theme. You could make cut-outs in the shape of the theme characters/flowers etc. OR make basic round ones and ice them with easy to pipe royal icing.
DECORATIONS: Buy ready giant size posters/cut outs in the theme, pick out pretty paper plates and paper tissue with prints to match the theme. Balloons are always a delight! Tip**: We used thin fish wire to string up cut outs of animals all along the ceiling of the house so whenever M looked up she would see an animal.
FAVOURS: Pick up party favours with some elements of the theme on them, make your own personalized gift bags(or buy them ready) with thank you tags with a little printed image of the birthday boy/girl and some element of the theme. Tip**: For the grown ups, its easiest to just get some sinful filled chocolates, we got a mix of truffles, liquer centres and nutty dark chocs. Pop them into a pretty gift bag with some theme related confetti(lots of teeny silver butterflies in our case) and you're good to go!
Nice if you have a great spot to unpack a lovely picnic meal for a small group(or if you have a park with BBQ stands/lots of play areas then works for a big group too).
FOOD: Keep it simple but tasty. If its going to be a 'cold' picnic then pack things that taste just as good cold. Sandwiches(make sure you buy really good bread and only the very best butter for the base), Salads(Potato/Thai/Chaat/Fruit), Cheeses, Vietnamese rice paper rolls are crunchy and fresh, wraps that you assemble just before eating. If you have a BBQ that opens up a whole world of options! From basic burgers, to tandoori food to satay and grilled meats! Baked potatoes work well and you can make some 3-4 different fillings and let people pile on their fave flavors(chili, cheese, butter, hung curd with greens/capers...)
DECORATIONS: Nothing really, just remember to carry lots of rugs/mats, paper tissues and plenty of garbage bags to clear up after you're done!
FAVOURS: Keeping with the picnicky theme, give away the favours in miniature cane woven baskets that resemble picnic hampers. Or give the kids frisbees or other outdoorsy game stuff with a red and white checkered ribbon tied around to match those picnic rugs!
A visit to the zoo/aquarium with just mom n dad
If you'd like to skip all the hype and hoopla and have a simple day out together, then this may be just what your lil one will love too!
Tip**: Watch what your lil one enjoys doing most when you're out together to help you plan. If its meeting other kids, then maybe you should go somewhere he/she can meet other lil kids...even a toy store! If s/he likes reading then spend an hour at a bookstore allowing her/him to pick put some fave books for their birthday. If your kid loves watching little fish swim around in the tank in a restaurant or at a friend's home then plan a trip to the aquarium followed by a snack lunch or tea at the beach. Or hit the zoo! While you don't need to worry about party favours and decorations, a few balloons and a little cake would be nice to remember the day by! And don't forget your camera :)
Make someone else's day special
Take your kid to visit their great grandparents/grandparents or family members who would love to see how big s/he has grown! And from the money saved on the party expenses, sponsor a child's education/healthcare or clothing for a year via World Vision or GiveIndia or similar charities.
Happy Birthday to all the lil ones who turn 1 this year!
PS: Happy Party Planning to all the Mommies :D