Planning a birthday party always starts with a theme… and let’s face it, choosing one is the most fun part of it all!
The inspiration behind the theme will always depend on the age of your little one and whether or not they are old enough to have their say.
I always think that first birthdays are a celebration of YOU making it to the first year, and as they get older they start to have a very strong opinion of what they like. This is when you will need to call on the likes of Google, Pinterest (and Kiindred!) to find inspiration for a theme.
Like fashion, party themes have evolved over the years and whilst you might still see some of the classics, themes will likely be influenced by current characters, books and movies.
In our mission to avoid hosting the 100,000th Frozen or Superhero themed parties, we’ve come up with some pretty timeless yet fun party themes for 2020.
1. Confetti or Rainbow party
Colour is always a good idea and whether you have a little boy or girl – it works! A confetti or rainbow party might sound like a fairly generic theme but there are so many ways to put your own spin on it. There is one prerequisite though – make sure your little guests dress in their favourite colours of confetti or the rainbow. We promise you’ll end up with a wonderful (and colourful) camera roll.
Food carts are fun if your party is outdoors and you have the space. We love Woofys for their hot dogs and tacos.. But if you want to opt for something a little more low key…pastries and finger sandwiches will work well too. Our go-to is The Cook & Baker.
Vanilla cake with traditional cream icing and lots of colourful sprinkles. Want something more bold? Smarties make a great option too.
This really depends on the age. Smarties in cute jars are fun for the older kids but there are also plenty of non-food related options too. Mini playdough is always a winner and you can even make this yourself! Just find some cute pots and have fun mixing the colours.
I tend to think that entertainment at first birthdays is really about the parent – so a cheese board and bubbles usually works a treat. Lots of colourful balls will provide enough entertainment for the babies and hula hoops a fun option for the older kids.
Don’t forget a bluetooth speaker with a great playlist for creating the perfect vibe!
2. Circus party
Roll up.. roll up! Oh what fun you can have with a circus party… Everyone loves to get involved in a circus themed party and dressing up is half the fun. If your guests are a little shy on the fancy dress front, we guarantee once they arrive they’ll be in the spirit. A bucket of props is essential and so is entertainment – even if this means a family member getting into a clown costume halfway through the party.
We love colourful streamers for creating a curtain. This creates such an exciting entrance to reveal your party. You only have to search the web to find an array of circus-themed accessories. From carnival signs to red and white striped table clothes… you’ll have an instant carnival at your house in no time.
Sliders, fruit platters and popcorn! Want to step it up a notch? A popcorn machine is super fun and the kids will love having their own bucket to indulge in whilst they watch the entertainment.
A circus tent of course! We love a good old fashioned vanilla cake as a base and then get creative with the topping. Sure there are some amazing cake makers out there but homemade works a treat too. Use red icing to set the theme and simply decorate with little flags and any other cute circus characters you find.
Let’s face it. Most lollies lend themselves to a circus party but if you want a healthy alternative? Why not find a circus themed reading or activity book for them to take home.
Clowns are always a good idea, even if it’s dad or uncle John in a wig and big shoes. The jokes can be cheesy – they’ll love it regardless. Hula hoop competitions, the limbo, ring tossing or apples dangling on a string – are all really fun and super easy to set up.
If you have the space and budget, a ball pit or jumping castle (we’re looking at you Bounce-o-rama) is a must! They will keep everyone entertained for hours.. and you can watch on while enjoying the food and beverages. We can’t guarantee that you won’t end up getting involved though.
3. Favourite story book
Concocting a party around the theme of your favourite party book is so much fun! Think about all those Book Week themes you will be bringing to life over the years – this is just a test run.
Whilst Peter Rabbit continues to make an appearance at first birthdays, it can be pretty fun including your little one in the planning as they get older. They will no doubt have a favourite character or book and will love being involved in coming up with fun ways to bring the theme to life.
We recently helped the team at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo celebrate The Gruffalo’s 20th Birthday party and it was incredible to watch the joy he brought to each child that was in attendance. I really hope we get to see more Gruffalo parties in 2020.
Decorate your table with faux grass squares and create a forest of yummy treats in browns and greens. Perhaps get crafty and hide all of your favourite characters amongst the food… can you find the snake, owl, fox or the mouse?
What does a Gruffalo eat? Homemade cake-pops or chocolate crackles would get our pick.. and what about some homemade sausage rolls? Doesn’t sound exactly healthy but you will be surprised to know that Wholesome Child has a healthy alternative for all three!
There are so many different ways to Gruffalo. Chocolate icing for his face and marshmallows for his teeth or chocolate sprinkles for his hair… a Jaffa would make the perfect wort and liquorice for his mouth and eyebrows. A quick google search will leave you with a good source of inspiration.
We love these little Gruffalo colouring in and activity sets. Throw in a lolly or toy snakes for a bit of fun – perfect for tying in the characters.
Did you know that you can have your party at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo? Neither did we! What a cool adventure for a little group of friends. You can hire the room or get a group pass to go on an adventure to find your favourite animals.. and over summer they have the Gruffalo Trail for more entertainment.
4. Little Garden party
This is like hosting a mini high-tea for little besties. Do you find big parties a little overwhelming and want your little one to have a few friends over instead? Setting up a backyard ‘garden party’ will have your little one feeling very grown up. Plus having a table full of mini treats laid out in front of them, will cater to the fussiest little eater.
A large piece of plywood (or an old door) on top of some cubed baskets will make the perfect sized table for lounging around. Add a nice big tablecloth and mismatched cushions for little bottoms to sit on. Adorn the table with (fake) flowers, mini plates and tiered sandwich stands… and little name places for that little extra touch.
Think traditional and simple. Finger sandwiches, mini croissants or even little quiches. The good news with this theme is that there are plenty of healthy options! Add a water dispenser filled with colourful fruits for that extra touch – and for them to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Whilst mini desserts like Lamingtons, Chocolate Crackles and Fruit Cups should do the trick, a homemade cake straight off the Australian Women’s Weekly Book is also a winner.
Gold old fashioned games like the three legged race, egg and spoon race will be very much on theme but of course it depends on the space you have. Pass-the-parcel is always a nice and easy way to wind down after an exciting day and will leave everyone with a gift instead of a ‘goodie bag’.
5. Movie time
Alright some might call this a lazy option – but I call it genius. For kids that are able to sit still enough (think 4+ yrs) a trip to the movies, complete with ice cream or popcorn creates such fun memories. You’ll just need to call on some parent assistance to manage toilet trips or monitor the distribution of treats but it’s a guaranteed way to keep the party fairly stress-free.
The beauty of this option is there is no need to decorate. The cinema will provide more than enough excitement for these little people – especially if you opt for the new Event Junior locations.
It might be a good idea to schedule the session in after lunch, so that their little tummies are nicely full! Depending on the location, size of your little one’s posse and your budget, you could always add a pizza date beforehand. Otherwise schedule in the party after lunch, so that you simply need to manage the ‘dessert’.
No need for a baking session here – popcorn or a choc top will do the trick!
Goodie Bags & Entertainment
Some will still want to whip together a fun bag with trinkets but if you’re into zero waste – there’s really no need. The movie and treats will provide enough excitement and entertainment for this little group.
6. LEGO party
LEGO images sourced: Pinterest
This is something we will be pulling together over the next few weeks for a (soon-to-be) 3 year old who is sharing his birthday with his big sis. We have big LEGO fans over here, so it only makes sense to throw a LEGO (well technically Duplo) party.
Remember the simple plywood table we suggested for the garden party? Why not cover it in green felt instead. Makes for an instant LEGO making, non-slip table where you can set up a station for each kid.
Pizza is the perfect treat for a LEGO Party. It’s easy and you can make your own healthy mini pizzas to suit each kids taste. Want to get right into the theme? Make LEGO shaped pizza! We also love grouping food items in colours to create a true lego effect at the food table. Yellow jelly cups with eyes drawn on will make perfect LEGO men.
A clever and simple idea is to make a chocolate brownie and cut it into LEGO piece shapes. Use a mix of coloured icing to decorate each slice of the LEGO brownie and finish off with matching coloured smarties to create the effect of LEGO. Not feeling that creative? Cupcakes with coloured sprinkles and a few real LEGO pieces will also work.
Who wouldn’t want their own little LEGO set. Simply use cardboard Chinese takeaway style boxes filled with some colourful LEGO.
If your little attendees get tired of LEGO making, you can always host LEGO themed games! A LEGO and spoon race, LEGO jar guessing game or even a LEGO piece hunt in the backyard! Feeling lazy or they need winding down? Put on the LEGO movie to finish off whilst enjoying dessert.
7. Birthday table
Well this isn’t really a ‘theme’ but it’s a fun tradition to start, especially if you aren’t opting for a party. Find a spot in the house where you can set up a birthday table each year. When the birthday boy/girl wakes up, ensure the hallway is filled with colourful balloons to run through as they make their way to their birthday table.
Each year can have a different theme that ties in with the gifts or their (current) favourite things. You can have a lot of fun with this and it doesn’t need to cost the earth.
Whether you are still yet to celebrate your little one’s first birthday or are having fun planning a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th, we have some really helpful tips in the Kiindred App to help guide you through everything from the invitations, party favours and even the best time to hold it!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have fun with it!