5 Simple First Birthday Ideas to Celebrate Your Little One

NH Milestone Sessions

Little boy during Milestone session with Kathleen Jablonski Photography in studio wearing a ONE sweater sitting with mom.

It’s hard to believe it but your baby is turning one! So many clients of ours grapple with how to celebrate their baby’s first birthday. Of course, you want to celebrate the occasion but you don’t want to go overboard with toys or gifts. That can be overwhelming for both you and your little one.

Here are five simple first birthday ideas to mark the occassion in a way that is fun for the whole family!

Mama and one year old toddler cuddling in floral egg chair in Kathleen Jablonski Photography studio.

Go on an Adventure

Experience gifts bring more joy than any toy could at this stage. Let’s be honest—most babies are delighted with a cardboard box more than an actual toy. Why not embark on an adventure with your little one to create lasting memories for the entire family? Exploring the zoo, the aquarium, or a farm are all wonderful options for this age! If you are stumped on where to go, ask in a local parenting group on Facebook. In New Hampshire some of the best parenting groups for information are: Parenting Community of NH, NH Toddlers (5 and under), and All Kids Events NH.

Dad playing with his toddler son wearing a knit sweater thinking of simple first birthday ideas to celebrate his son.

Picnic in the park

Here’s another one of my simple first birthday ideas…If your baby is hitting the one-year mark during one of the more pleasant weather months, pack up a little picnic and head to a nearby park. Bring along all of their favorite snacks and a blanket! They will love crawling around and discovering the outdoor space. Some of our favorite parks to have picnics at are: Bedford Village Common and Benedictine Park in Bedford, NH.

Bonus: Make a homemade sugar-free cake like this one and let them do a little cake smash!

Toddler and mom snuggled up on egg chair for baby's first birthday photography session with Kathleen Jablonski Photography.

Go out to Dinner (Adults Only!)

Yes, I said it. Adults only! Raising a child is not an easy task and deserves to be celebrated! Arrange for a babysitter and when baby is peacefully asleep, slip away with your partner for a dinner date! Treat yourself to something special, you’ve earned it. Congratulations on surviving the first year! Our favorite date night spots in the Manchester area are: Copper Door, The Foundry, and Cotton.

Is money tight while you are on maternity/paternity leave? What about a special picnic in the park for just the two of you. Pack a little dinner from home and bring some champagne or adult beverage and just be together. Being without the baby for a couple of hours can really make you feel like a human again!

Simple first birthday ideas could include a photography session like this one for little baby's first birthday.

A Shared Birthday Party

Does your little cutie have buddies from a mom’s group? Maybe you even have cousins or relatives with babies around the same age. If their birthdays are coinciding, consider throwing a shared birthday bash! It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to celebrate all of the babies together.

Ideas for Locations:

-A local farm

-An indoor play place

-Swimming pool (check local hotels that have pools, a lot of them allow you to come swim for a small fee)

-Build-A-Bear Workshop (Check out their Pay Your Age program!)

These simple first birthday ideas are just a small list… I’m sure you can think of a ton of other activities that are special to your little one that he/she would love!

Mother and child snuggle celebrating baby's first birthday with a portrait session and cake smash.

Photography Portrait Session

While your little one might not recall their first birthday, you certainly will! What better way to document the highs and lows that the first year of parenting brings than with a professional photography experience? You may even consider having some family members give money towards this gift instead of more plastic toys that you don’t need. Grandparents love giving gifts that they will see be used and you could even invite them to jump in a few photos if your photographer would allow it. It might feel like a treat for you more than your baby, but imagine the joy they will experience someday when they are flipping through these cherished photos with their own children.

Kathleen Jablonski Photography offers timeless portraits custom tailored to your family. With hair and makeup for mom, personalized styling for the entire family, access to a thoughtfully curated Client Wardrobe for outfit selection, and the option for stunning artwork to display throughout your home, it truly is an investment that will last a lifetime.

Simple First Birthday Ideas

There are so many simple first birthday ideas that you can do to make your babe’s day special. I hope this sparked your imagination on creative ways that you could celebrate your little one’s first birthday! It is an occassion that deserves to be celebrated but remember, you ALSO deserve to be celebrated. Parenting is no easy task and making it through the first year while sleep deprived is a huge win! Take a moment for yourself, even if it’s just that- a moment… and give yourself some love.

Happiest Birthday to your little one!

Images by: Kathleen Jablonski Photography

ONE Sweater by: Little Labels

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