11 First Birthday Activities + Keepsakes You Need To Use For Your Party

Planning a first birthday party can be stressful, to say the least, but it can also be super exciting! I’ll most likely be writing a post in the future on how to plan a stress-free first birthday party, but this one is just going to focus on the awesome activities + keepsake ideas I’ve gathered up for you all. Some of these ideas are ones that I used for my daughter’s party in May, but some are ideas that I wished I could have used. Honestly, the idea for this post sprouted in my head not from my own experience with first birthday planning, but from another idea I came across on Pinterest a few days ago that was so cute! (We’ll get to that in a minute). I literally thought the words, somebody better use this fricken idea because I’m so mad that I didn’t. 

Yeah, planning my daughter’s party was hectic, and I so wish that someone would have just handed me ideas, but nooooo, I did everything by myself like super-mommy + nearly died from stress (jk, but no really). ANYWHO, that is what I’m here to do today, literally hand you ideas. Be your virtual party planner. Hmm, maybe I’ll make a list of trendy first birthday themes next? Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself lol. LET’S GET TO THE GOODIES. Sources for the images can be seen by hovering over the images.

11 First Birthday Activities + Keepsakes You Need To Use For Your Party

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1. Birthday Boy/ Girl Quiz

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So I just ran right into this one. This is the one I wish I would have thought of! It’s a cute + fun idea to keep the guests occupied, a good prize-winning activity, + something to keep for years down the road! It’ll also be fun for the guests to learn the real answers when they’re done.

2. Time Capsule

Okay, so this one you’ve probably heard of due to its trendiness, but DON’T SCROLL AWAY YET. Sorry, had to get your attention. I have a few different variations of the typical time capsule that you may not have heard yet.

  • Letters to future grown-up baby – this is the one I did. With this one you just set up a cute box of your choice, either one you bought or one you made. Then write a prompt either on a chalkboard, on the top of the box, or buy a printable that tells the guest what to write, Etsy has good ones. Mine said “Time Capsule 2034 to be opened when Isla turns 18! Please take the time to write her a message: Predictions for her future, a memory you have with her, something about her mommy + daddy, + don’t forget to tell her who you are + how you’re related!”. Then, obviously, leave a pack of pens (I used these colorful gel pens so each message was a different color) + a notebook. I cheated and read a few after the party was over + cried at some of the words from the older ladies in the family. One wrote “I probably won’t be around when you read this, but” annnnnnd that’s it, I lost it. It really is such a beautiful idea. Plus, I used the box afterwards to store all the other stuff from her party, too, like her dress, her bib + headband, some of the decorations, left over plates + invitations, etc.
  • Objects from today with letters  – this has the same idea as the first, but with objects, too. I didn’t go with this idea because at that point, I had already sent out invitations + was too lazy to text everyone 😉 For this to work, the guests have to know about the time capsule before they arrive so they can bring something. So, if you aren’t lazy like me, do this! You still get the letters and they get to see some cool stuff. I know when I look at + touch stuff from the 90s I’m seriously enamored. Oh, and sorry for the screen shots, my mac will not save photos from the internet, so I have to take screen shots + they come out very small. 🙁
  • Milestone prompt time capsule – I just stumbled upon this idea the other day and love it! Instead of having them write whatever they want, they choose from the prompts you already have written. Some of the ones I’ve seen say “When you buy your first car….”, “when you think you’re in love…”, “when you’re off to college…” and so on. This gives them a little bit of advice for every aspect of their teenage + adult years from the ones they love way back when. I would have loved to have gotten some advice from my great grandfathers who passed not too long after I was born, especially from all the crazy s*** I heard about them, and this would have been the only way to do it. Also, you could buy these advice cards with prompts on them as well! Click here for girls and here for boys.

Not sold yet? You’re weird. NEXT

3. “A Year of Firsts” Board

This is more of a decoration than an activity, but the guests loved looking at the one I made… and guess what? Looking is an activity 😉 No, but seriously, I loved this idea + I’m glad I took the time to make it. Mine is the first picture shown. I used:

Now, being a professional photographer, I had captured pretty much everyone of my baby’s milestones on camera, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have nearly as many as mine (the first picture). In fact, the one I got inspiration from had about half as many as mine, like I’ve said before, and I’ll continue to say again + again, I am extra. Always doing the most. So, don’t feel bad if you only have a few! The guests love seeing how your baby grows + all the cute things they’ve done. After all, they are there because they love your baby, so more pictures, please!

4. Scrapbook table

I recently came across this idea on CatchMyParty.com + guess what? I cannot find it being done anywhere else. I, for one, am an internet + social media detective of a sort, so I know how to dig deep and find things. Not a single thing. So, that means, if you use this for your party, you’ll be (kind of) original!

Okay, so this is how its done: have a piece of paper displayed at the table stating the instructions like above picture. Then, lay out some cool stuff for them to decorate their page. Michelle V, a user on Catch My Party, has construction paper, crayola markers, scrapbook stickers + stock paper to glue on. Now, anyone who scrapbooks will know how expensive scrapbook supplies can be, hence why I stopped, lol. So make a list of the kind of stuff you’d want to be on the pages + try looking for them on Amazon. I always go to Michaels for mine, but if they’re not on sale there, they are pricey. Now, all the guests have to do is get their picture taken with the birthday boy or girl and start decorating their page!

I’m assuming the pictures are being taken with a polaroid camera or else they wouldn’t be able to print right away. They are expensive, especially if you’re just going to buy one for the party. A cheaper option would be to use a disposable camera. Here’s how that would work: have a printed picture from a disposable picture out (or maybe a few) for them to trace so that they can still decorate their page around the picture! Smart right? And hey, we’re all mostly millennials here, so we don’t really use these anymore, BUT I bet if you ask mom or dad, they will most likely have mess-up photos that got over exposed, or are blurry, or were taken on accident, that they were too cheap to throw away. Now everything works the right way + you saved the money, you’re welcome 😉

5. Who does baby look more like? Poll

I did this at my party, and loved it. But you know who loved it more? My boyfriend, lol. He was like running around and bribing all of our family members to vote for him like he would win a cookie or something. I actually heard so many people arguing over who she looks more like. “She has her eyes” “yeah, but the rest of the face is his” “I don’t see it”, it was hilarious. A friend’s son came up to me (he’s 5) and asked to look at my face, so I bent down so he could compare us + he said “she’s pretty like her mommy”. I nearly cried.

Anyway, as you can see, this little activity was quick + entertaining. It’s easy to put together, too. I just rolled tape + stuck it to the back of each of our baby pictures, and then put them on a piece of stock paper. Then, I drew a chart on another piece of paper and made one section for “Mommy” + one for “daddy” where they could vote. It’s a simple one!

6. Guest sign in keepsake

I did this for my baby shower, but somehow forgot for her first birthday? I’m a mess. Any who, you’ve probably seen so many of these on Pinterest if you’ve been planning already. I like these because if you make them fun + creative instead of using a boring guestbook, you can hang it in the baby’s room! I found a few different variations that I thought were cute.

  • Book signing – This idea is so cute. The guests just pick a page and write something for baby or just sign their name 🙂

Here are some good books to use – Oh, The Places You’ll Go, Happy Birthday To You, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where The Wild Things Are


  • Sign a letter – Find a wooden letter for the first initial of your baby’s name, paint it a color that compliments their bedroom, and then lay out some sharpies for the guest to sign! This idea is mostly used for weddings, but I think it would be cute not just for a first birthday, but a baby shower, too.
  • Thumbprint sign in or drawing – This is the one I used for my baby shower. This would also make for a cute nursery/bedroom decoration. Just draw a picture (or buy one on etsy) that either goes along with the party theme or their room, then be creative and make their thumbprint a part of the picture! My sister drew an elephant and the guests just had to draw a string from his nose to their thumbprints which doubled as balloons 🙂 So adorable. I’ve also seen trees drawn, and the thumbprints are leaves. Here are some other variations I found:
  • Picture(s) of baby in a frame – Just glue a picture of baby (or tiny pictures that form the shape of 1 as pictured below) and leave lots of white space around it for guests to sign!

7. Display baby’s artwork

I thought this idea was cute. You just put paint all over a canvas and let your baby have at it. Now, he or she is only one, so don’t expect it to be beautiful. In fact, the messiness of it all is what makes this a good idea, lol. I love the one pictured below where the baby paints over a taped 1, so when you pull it off, the outline is there. If I did it, I would probably put paint on plates so my daughter could transfer her own hand prints. Use the biggest canvas you can find (and afford) so that it really looks like this “piece of artwork” is made by God himself.

8. Alphabet book

I was going to use this idea, because it’s fun and cute, but I already had so many other things planned at that point + didn’t want to overwhelm the guests. So for this one, the guests will use a piece of printer paper to draw any letter of their choice and then draw pictures of things that start with that letter. When you take them all you can put them together to make baby his or her own family-made alphabet book! Love the idea.

You use a chalkboard, piece of paper, or printable in a frame to state the instructions (as usual). Then lay out lots + lots of markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons, and let the guests work their magic! Have them sign their name so you know who made what page. If I did this, I would make sure all the letters were done before they leave so that you’re not left with an incomplete book having to do the rest of the letters by yourself, lol. I’m assuming people will avoid letters like Q, U, V, X, Y, + Z. I would 😉

9. Doljabi

So, I’ll start out by saying that this a Korean first birthday tradition, but the idea is too good not to share. Basically, how this works is the parents set up an area that has a tray or containers that each have a different “thing” in them. These “things” will all represent a different career, such as a stethoscope for a doctor, money for an entrepreneur, calculator for an engineer, football for an athlete, microphone for a singer, paint brush for an artist, whisk for a chef, and so on. You lay these things out for them on a tray or in different containers, and then everyone watches as baby crawls over to all of the things, and picks an object. According to Korean tradition, whatever he or she chooses first is supposed to indicate their path in life. I don’t know about you, but I think this is awesome. Even if you don’t believe in it, just to do it for fun would be a great idea. Definitely going to do it for the next child lol.

10. What will baby be when he or she grows up?


I just saw this the other day, too and thought it was adorable. It’s just a poster board taped to the wall with speech bubbles where the guests all write what they think baby will be when she grows up. Leave a space for baby’s body so you can sit her in front of it when it’s done for a picture! Then you can keep it forever and see if anyone was right later in life 🙂

11. Baby stats board

This is very common, but I figured I’d talk about it anyway in case you weren’t sold yet. I made these for my baby every month of her first year for her monthly photos, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to make one for the party. I’m kind of a chalkboard connoisseur, actually I am, so I know how to use chalk markers really well. If you want to take that route, its fun, you have more control over what is written on the board, and you could learn the skill of chalkboard art! If that isn’t for you, then you can just buy one made for you with all of baby’s stats on Amazon or Etsy.

Okay everyone, thanks for reading! I really hope this helps you with your party planning. Make sure to tell me what you think or if you use any of these ideas for your party, I’d love to see in the comments 🙂


  1. Allie

    October 16, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I’m planning my daughters birthday party now so thanks for the wonderful ideas and tips!

    1. throughdelaneyslens

      October 19, 2017 at 1:38 am

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Monica

    October 17, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Such cute ideas! We had a year of firsts board with our daughter as well! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Juli

    October 17, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Wow, I love all these ideas! It was so stressful planning the first birthday party for my first because I wanted to make it as special as possible. These ideas are great! If we decide to throw a first birthday party for our second, we’ll definitely incorporate some of these!

    1. throughdelaneyslens

      October 19, 2017 at 1:38 am

      It is so hard to plan a party! I’m glad you like the ideas! 🙂

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