Written By : Zee Kay

First Birthday Party Food and Entertainment

When it comes to choosing the first birthday party food and entertainment, it is a little bit worrying and confusing for parents to decide what and how to choose the perfect choice of the menu. the menu doesn’t have to be complicated but full of entertainment.  In fact, with a little one to care for, you may want to keep it simple to save yourself some stress! 

Baby's First Party Entertainment

Here are some menu ideas for 1st birthday cuisine that will please all your guests:

Sandwiches, Salads, and Fruits 

For my son’s first birthday party, I got a catered tray of croissant sandwiches.  It was easy and not very expensive.  Then I made some salads – potato, macaroni, etc., and a watermelon boat, and that was it.  Simple and easy!


We recently had the same son’s fifth birthday party (they grow up so fast!) and this time we ordered a bunch of pizzas.  I ended up feeding 15 guests for about $60 and prep and clean up was a piece of cake.  Plus my nine-month-old was happy because he got to gnaw on some pizza crusts (his favorite!).  To keep costs down if you decide to go the pizza route, keep an eye on the paper or mail for coupons from your favorite pizza joint.  You can also find deals on most pizza chain’s websites.  You can also order or make some wings and salads to go with the pizza if you want!


Another popular menu for 1st birthday party food is to do a barbeque.  Almost everyone loves hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and chicken so by grilling up a variety of things, you are sure to please the whole guest list.  Also, these items are usually fairly inexpensive to purchase so you won’t run up your budget.  Baked beans, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, french fries, watermelon, and other fresh fruits are all great side dishes to go with a barbeque menu.

Finger Foods 

If most of your guest list consists of little ones, you might want to consider doing a finger food menu.  Pizza rolls, chicken nuggets, tiny finger sandwiches, fruit kabobs, mini cheeseburgers, and other kid popular finger foods would all be a big hit.

More Tips for Planning Your Birthday Menu

Don’t Forget Beverages!  Soft drinks, punch, iced tea, juice, and milk are all good options.  If it is summer, you might also want to have some bottled water on hand too.  Also, remember to buy plenty of ice.

Keep the Guest of Honor in mind when planning the menu.  Although you don’t need to plan a menu that revolves completely around what your baby likes, you might want to include at least one or two of their favorite foods in your plan.

Let’s Not Forget the Best Part – The Cake!

And now we are on to the most important part of the first birthday party food planning….the first birthday cake!  Since this will be the most memorable part of the party and likely your baby’s favorite part…you will want to put some time and consideration into picking one out.  There are several places you can get your 1st birthday cake at.  The two most popular places are a bakery or the local grocery store.   I have gone both routes and was pleased with both experiences.  I will tell you that the grocery store’s bakery is usually much more affordable than a stand-alone bakery and a couple of my local chains even kick in a free personal size cake for the baby if you let them know it’s the first birthday.

You can pick a cake to match the party’s theme or you can go with something simple.  You will also need to decide on cake flavors, icing and filling flavors, and how big of a cake you want.  Usually, the bakery can assist you with this if you let them know how many guests you expect.   Be sure to order the cake at least a week in advance so you can be sure that they have exactly what you want.

Finally, don’t forget to buy a birthday candle and ice cream to go with the cake!  If you want to send cake home with guests, you may also consider purchasing cake boxes.

First Birthday Entertainment Ideas

While the guest of honor is likely to be unimpressed with any of the entertainment that may be provided at their party, if older children are attending some entertainment at your 1st birthday party is likely to be a big hit. Here are four ideas for 1st birthday party entertainment:


Entertaining for both children and adults, a magician is a great entertainment option for a first birthday party.


Clowns are great because they provide a variety of entertainment options. Not only will they probably put on skits and do funny, slapstick things to make kids laugh, but they may also do things like face painting and creating balloon animals so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Bounce House

Although the guest of honor is not likely to care or participate, a bounce house can be a lot of fun for all the other children in attendance at your party.

Favorite Character

Hire someone to come dressed as a favorite character of the child (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Barney, Blue from Blues Clue, etc.)

Tips for Hiring Party Entertainment

  • Ask around and see if friends or family have child party entertainers they can recommend. Chances are someone has been to a party and seen a performance they enjoyed and remembered.
  • Call a few different places to get quotes and compare what they offer. This way you can be sure that you are getting the most for your money. If you are concerned with the quality of their work, ask for a few references from satisfied customers and check them out!
  • Find out if a deposit is needed to hold your date.
  • Call the day before to confirm that they are still coming. This is also a good time to go over what exactly you would like for them to do the next day at the party. This is especially important if they offer a variety of services you can choose from.  Communicating with the entertainer is important to ensure that you get exactly what you want for your money!

First Birthday Party Favors

No first birthday party would be complete without some party favors! Here are some ideas for 1st birthday party favors for your guests:

Makeup Loot Bags or Boxes

Loot bags or boxes are always a popular option and can work great for giving to both children and adults that are attending the party. Fill them with candy, toys, and small trinkets. Miniature candy bars, yo-yos, Chinese handcuffs, stickers, tootsie rolls, lollipops, candy necklaces, etc. all work great for filling loot bags.

Candy Bars with Personalized Wrappers

Create or buy candy wrappers featuring the guest of honors pictures and information about the party. You usually can purchase these wrappers on eBay but if you have a good program and printer, you might want to make them yourself. Then you just need to purchase some Hershey bars to wrap with the wrappers. A great idea if you are looking for party favors to hand out to adults and kids.

Homemade Chocolate Suckers 

How about making your chocolate suckers to hand out? You can get chocolate molds online or at your local craft supply store. This is also where you can find the chocolate and sticks. Making the suckers is fairly easy and the mold you purchase should have simple, easy-to-follow instructions on it.

And a few more ideas….

Small Toys – Rubber ducks, toy cars, little stuffed animals, etc.

A Beach Pail and Shovel – Especially great if your child’s first birthday party falls during the spring or summer months or if you decide on a beach theme for your party.

Bubbles – Jars of bubbles make fun party favors. What kid doesn’t love bubbles?

Coloring Books and Crayons – An inexpensive and fun party favor for kids.

Balloons – Another item that every kid loves to get!

  • Silly Putty
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Card Games
  • Puzzles
  • Squirt Guns
  • Silly Straws
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