21 Best First Birthday Party Games Ideas

When your baby turns one, it’s time to celebrate this milestone. Of course, the planning needs to be perfect. Besides the cake, fun activities also add fun to such parties, and if you are looking for some exciting first birthday party games ideas, we are here to help you with a part of the huge planning responsibility.

Let the party get uber-exciting with games conducive for guests, including toddlers, older children, and adults. Continue reading this post for some exciting game ideas that will make any first birthday celebration memorable.

In This Article

1st Birthday games for toddlers (and babies)

1. Bubble smash

Toddlers can never get bored of running behind bubbles.

Bubble smash as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Bubble-pumping machine, plastic cups, bubble liquid

How to play:

  • Give each toddler a plastic cup
  • Demonstrate how to chase and catch a bubble
  • Switch on the bubble-pumping machine and before you can say “go” you will find kids chasing the bubbles
  • If you do not have a bubble-pumping machine, then ask the older kids to blow bubbles for the younger ones

Ana, a mom of three, shares how she used bubbles at all her kids’ birthday parties. She says, “Bubbles were such a huge hit at all my kids’ birthdays! Babies especially seem to go gaga over watching those magical, soapy spheres float in the air. Just watch them mesmerized and giggling, trying to catch bubbles. Such a great developmental activity for eye-tracking, too (i)!”

2. Adult-free zone

This game keeps the young kids occupied while the parents could have some playtime.

Adult free zone as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: A baby-proof corner, soft rubber sheets, and blankets, click-together baby gates, soft toys, bouncy toys.

How to play:

  • Select a corner within the house that is safe for toddlers.
  • Secure it with baby gates and spread the rubber sheets and blankets.
  • Inside the play area, place everything soft and that your babies love to cuddle, squish and play with.
  • This is their place where they can run and play when there are no adults around. However, make sure there is at least one adult around to supervise them.

3. Baby fashion show

Dress up your little ones and let them set the ramp on fire with their cuteness.

Baby fashion show as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Costumes for babies, music, and runway set up (some fairy lights and music)

How to play:

  • Give prior intimation to your guests about the theme of the fashion show.
  • Set up an area within the party premises to mimic a runway.
  • Dress up the toddlers in costumes based on the theme and have them run, crawl, walk on the runway.
  • Do not forget to give some gifts for all the participants.

4. A ride on the wagon

If you have a big venue for a play area, then this is the game for you.

A ride on the wagon as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Kids’ wagons, streamers, balloons, stickers

How to play:

  • Beautify the wagons with decorations like balloons, streamers, and funny stickers.
  • Make the baby sit in the wagon and have the adults pull it around in the backyard.
  • Cheer and clap as the baby tours the play area.
  • Give each baby 5 minutes tour time.

5. Obstacle race

You can have this game for crawling babies.

Obstacle race as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Ropes, soft toys, balls, soft blocks, bouncy balls

How to play:

  • Create a race track using ropes.
  • Place soft obstacles such as soft toys, balls, and soft blocks, along the path at various places.
  • Make the babies sit at the starting line and let the parents stand at the finish line.
  • At the blow of the whistle, ask the parents to encourage their babies to come to them.
protip_icon Quick tip
You could also make a giant photo collage with pictures of your baby’s various milestones. This could also double up as a photo prop for the guests. Sounds fun, right?

6. Storytime

Make this the last program of the event so that the exhausted kids can take rest while doing this activity.

Storytime for the little ones as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: An adult volunteer, storybook, chair, mats, and rugs

How to play:

  • Set up a storytime place with a chair, and mats and rugs around.
  • Gather all the toddlers on the mats while the narrator can sit on the chair.
  • Ask one of the adults to read stories from a storybook.

1st Birthday Games For Big Kids

Some guests might be having kids of 5-10 years of age. They would just get bored sitting amongst grown-ups and babies. So, have some games planned for the kids to enjoy the party.

7. Catch the thief

Play this game outdoors as it needs ample space for the players to run around.

Catch the theif as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Tape, Sheriff medals, and black goggles.

How to play:

  • Separate a corner of the lawn using the tape, and name it as the jail.
  • Have the kids play rock, paper, scissors and the one who loses becomes the sheriff.
  • Attach the sheriff badge to the kid and give the black goggles to the other kids.
  • The children can run free in the playground, while the sheriff has to tag the thieves.
  • The kid who gets tagged has to go into the jail and stay there.
  • Other kids can untag the kid by going near the jail, but if the sheriff catches them while untagging, then that kid must become a sheriff and help in catching other thieves.
  • The play continues until all the thieves are caught.

8. Tattoo the donkey

This is a slightly modified version of the classic pin-the-donkey game.

Tattoo the donkey as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: A cardboard cut in the shape of a donkey, a white paper, color paint, a sponge, some sticks, glue or thread, blindfolds.

How to play:

  • Cut the white paper in the shape of the cardboard and stick it on the cardboard.
  • Cut the sponges into different shapes such as stars, rounds, etc., and tie them to sticks using threads.
  • Blindfold each kid and hand them the stick after dipping sponge in the paint.
  • The kid must try to print the shape anywhere on the donkey’s body while being blindfolded.

9. Who danced what

This fun game helps the kids to dance as well as brush their memory skills.

Who danced what as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Chalk, music system

How to play:

  • With the chalk, draw a circle on the floor.
  • Ask the kids to stand around the circle.
  • Start at one end of the circle and ask each kid to come to the center of the circle and dance, as you play the music.
  • The second kid must imitate the dance moves of the first kid and then do his/ her own moves, and the third kid must imitate the first two and add his/ her moves.
  • Each kid must mimic his/her successor’s dance moves; any kid who fails to remember the sequence is out of the game.
  • Play the game until one kid remains.

10. Balloon scrabble

Teach your kids how to play in a team and learn spellings at the same time.

Balloon scrabble as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Balloons, paper, sketches, glue, timer

How to play:

  • Tear a paper into square-shaped pieces and write the letters of two words, for example, W-I-N-N-E-R and S-M-A-R-T, on each paper.
  • Blow the balloons and stick each letter on a balloon.
  • Divide the kids into two teams.
  • Scatter the balloons in a room and ask the kids to find out the word and arrange the balloons in the correct order of the spelling.
  • The team who does it first wins.

11. Balloon smash surprise

The kids will not only get to smash the balloons but also win a gift.

Balloon smash surprise as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Balloons, superheroes stickers, any small gift articles

How to play:

  • Before inflating the balloons, place the stickers or any other small gift articles in them.
  • Blow the balloons and scatter them in a room.
  • Ask the kids to enter the room and stomp the balloons.
  • The kids will be thrilled to find the gifts once the balloon is stomped.
  • Supervise the kids so that they do not push or hurt each other.

12. Start and stop

This is an excellent game of coordination and teaches kids about traffic rules.

Start and stop as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Cardboard, white papers, red and green markers

How to play:

  • Cut out the cardboard in two circles similar to traffic signals.
  • Paste white paper on each cardboard; paint one in red and the other in green.
  • Mark the start and stop lines.
  • Divide the kids into two groups and ask them to stand in two separate lines.
  • A parent volunteer must hold the red and green cards and instruct the kids that when the green light is shown, they must move forward making train sounds, and when the red light is shown, they must stay where they are without making any noise.
  • If the kids make any noise or move during the red light, that team goes back to the starting line.
  • The team that reaches the finish line first wins.

13. Toss the ball

This classic game never gets old.

Toss the ball as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: A flower pot or any similar plastic container, plastic balls

How to play:

  • Place the flower pot at a distance and mark the standing point.
  • Give each kid a plastic ball and ask them to toss it into the flower pot, standing behind the mark.
  • Give each kid five turns and note who puts in the ball the maximum times.

14. Catching the bugs

Replicate the bug-catching game for entertainment within the comfort of your house.

Catching the bugs as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Craft bugs or plastic toy bugs, a chair or a stool

How to play:

  • The adult volunteer must stand on the chair with all the toy bugs in their hands.
  • Ask all the kids to stand around the volunteer.
  • The adult must toss the bugs so that they get scattered a few meters away.
  • The kids can either catch the flying bugs or collect them later.
  • The kid who collects the most bugs wins.

15. Get your treasure

This is yet another interesting first birthday party game.

Get your treasure as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Wooden plank, a baby pool filled with water, small wooden blocks, paper, small gift items.

How to play:

  • Nail the wooden plank on the top of the small wooden blocks so that it is elevated a few inches from the ground.
  • Balance the plank on the baby pool filled with water.
  • Write the words “get your treasure” and “walk the plank”.
  • Roll the papers and ask each kid to pick one paper at a time.
  • If the kid gets, “get your treasure” then hand them a gift; if they get “walk the plank,” then make them walk the plank.
  • To make sure each kid gets the chance to win a gift, eliminate those kids who have got gifts.
  • Make it more fun by asking the kids to walk backward, walk with one leg, etc.

First Birthday Games For Adults And Kids

Should the adults be only supervising the kids but not have any fun? No, here are some games where adults can also join and have fun with children.

16. Caterpillar race

This is a fun-filled game for both kids and grown-ups.

Caterpillar race as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Balloons, ropes, thread

How to play:

  • Blow the balloons, tie them to the desired length and place them as race tracks.
  • Mark the start and finish lines with the ropes.
  • Divide the guests into two groups such that each group has an equal number of adults and kids.
  • Ask them to stand alternatively, and each must hold the person standing before them.
  • As soon as the whistle is blown, each group must start running towards the finish line along the balloons track.
  • The group which finishes the race first without breaking the arrangement wins.

17. Skewers relay

In this game, adults can assist the kids.

Skewers relay as first birthday party games ideas

Image: IStock

You will need: Cut fruits, skewers, spoons

How to play:

  • Team each kid with their parent.
  • Mark a start and finish line with some distance between the two.
  • Place the cut fruits in bowls (one bowl per team) at the start line and place the skewers at the finish line.
  • Ask the adults to stand near the finish line.
  • The kids have to stand near the start line with the spoon in their mouth.
  • As the whistle blows, the kids must carry one fruit piece in the spoon without dropping it or touching it with their hands, to the finish line.
  • Upon reaching the finish line, the parent would pick up the fruit piece and pin it to the skewer.
  • One skewer must have five fruit pieces, the team that makes the maximum number of skewers wins.

18. Switching dance partners

In this game, the kids and the parents can dance together and fill the day with laughter.

Switching dance partners as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

What do you need: A flag or a handkerchief, music player

How to play:

  • Make one child the flag holder.
  • Pair the rest of the kids with their parents.
  • Ask everyone to stand in pairs surrounding the flag holder.
  • As the music plays, all the pairs start to dance.
  • When the flag holder tosses the flag in the air, everyone must switch their dance partners.
  • If the flag holder finds a partner, then they get a chance to dance, and the child who cannot find a partner will become the flag holder.
  • Play until all the kids get a chance to become the flag holder.

19. Parent-kids craft game

Team up with kids to make something creative.

Parent kids craft as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Cardboard boxes, paint, stickers, glue, sketches, scissors

How to play:

  • Team the kids with their parents.
  • Give each team a cardboard box and ask them to build a truck using the craft supplies.
  • The adults can help the kids in cutting and gluing the truck parts.
  • Have a team of judges to determine which team has made the best truck. And reward them accordingly.

20. Banana peeling game

Team up with your kids and their friends to show how good you are as a team.

Banana peeling game as first birthday party games ideas

Image: Shutterstock

You will need: Ropes, bananas

How to play:

  • Pair the children with their parents.
  • They should stand next to each other.
  • Tie together the right hand of the parent and the left hand of the child.
  • Place five bananas in front of each team and ask them to peel with the tied hands.
  • The team that peels the most bananas wins.

21. Sensory station

Create a sensory station booth where children and adults come in for a blindfold challenge.

You will need: Wooden blocks, blindfolds, multiple common food items

How to play:

  • Divide children into pairs.
  • Blindfold both partners. One partner takes the taste challenge, and the other partner takes the building challenge.
  • Feed the first partner certain food items, and the other has to guess by tasting them. For every correct guess, the other partner gets five wooden blocks.
  • The other partner uses the wooden blocks to create any structure of their choice.
  • The team that creates the best structure in the shortest time wins.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are 1st birthdays so important?

The first birthday is an important milestone. It celebrates the child’s growth from birth as parents look back at the memories of their birth and the emotional and overwhelming 12 months they spent taking care of their little bundle of joy. The first birthday is also a welcome of blessings for the child’s bright and healthy future.

2. What can we do instead of having a first birthday party?

If you wish to do something different than throwing a first birthday party, you may try:

  • Going for a family outing to the zoo, park, or beach
  • Spending the day on a first birthday photo shoot to capture the special day forever
  • Making a birthday tradition such as visiting a charity home or planting a tree

3. How many games should I have at a birthday party?

The number of games at a birthday party can change based on how old the guests are, the duration of the party, and what the guests may like. Usually, having two to three games or activities is a good idea to keep the party fun without making it too busy for everyone, thus leaving room to interact and eat comfortably.

4. How can I make sure that the games I choose are safe for one-year-olds?

To ensure the games are safe for one-year-olds, think about what they can do and what might be risky for them. Choose activities that don’t include small parts to prevent choking hazards and ones that involve climbing. Keep an eye on them, make sure the area is safe, and teach them to play cooperatively without hitting each other.

5. How long should each game last during the party?

The duration of each game may vary depending on the game type, the children’s understanding ability, and the entire party’s course. You may keep each game about 10 to 15 minutes long to keep the kids interested and prevent them from getting bored or restless.

To ensure your child’s first birthday is more memorable, you may incorporate all these activities for infants and toddlers, such as bubble smash, baby fashion show, and obstacle race. Since the birthday party may also include older children and adults, making preparations for incorporating some other games suitable for them, such as a caterpillar race, dancing, or a treasure hunt, will add to the fun and excitement for everyone present. These games will keep all the guests engaged and ensure everyone has a memorable time.

Infographic: Unique And Fun First Birthday Games

First birthdays are always special as you celebrate the healthy 12 months of your baby. So make this memorable for the guests and the baby by introducing fun games to enjoy the party. Add this infographic to your list of birthday activities and engage the children and the adults in some one-of-a-kind birthday games.

first birthdays games (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • For an unforgettable first birthday party, plan exclusive games for children and adults.
  • Balloons scrabble and toss the ball can bring a fun element to the party.
  • You may even try activities such as parent-kids craft games, caterpillar races, and others from the list.
First Birthday Party Games Ideas_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Let’s have some fun! Check out this video for 12 classic birthday party games for kids. Perfect for any age, these games will make your party a blast!

Personal Experience: Source

Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
The following two tabs change content below.
Melissa Jakes
Melissa JakesEvent planner
Melissa Jakes is the CEO and founder of Rescue Event Planning based in Washington DC. Her company helps nonprofits, small businesses, and entrepreneurs in scaling their operations through impactful virtual events. Melissa's expertise has attracted major corporate clients, including Cadillac, Amazon, and Northrop Grumman, who support non-profit initiatives.

Read full bio of Melissa Jakes