How to DIY a First Birthday Photoshoot

A first birthday photoshoot is not something I did with my first two sons. My first son got an intimate music themed party and all the attention being the only kid there. My second son got a full blown wild one birthday party that we all loved.  They both had a cake smash at their parties, but not great pictures of it because they were shot in the midst of the festivities.

first birthday photoshoot, DIY 5 Steps

I always saw cake smash photos on Pinterest and loved them, but assumed they had to be professionally shot. While many are, it is actually pretty easy to set up your own! With my third son, I knew that this was something special he could have that his brothers didn’t. That has been my theme with my third, make sure he doesn’t look back and think he got nothing special being a third baby. 

Even writing this post and looking at these pictures again, it reminds me how truly fast this time goes. So enjoy the photoshoot and the time with your baby. They will soon be running around (if not already) and getting into full toddler mode. 

Related Posts: Daily 12-18 Month Schedule for a Happy Toddler, 10 Simple Finger Food Meals for One Year Olds

1 year old photoshoot background and props

Gather Inspiration

Decide what kind of look you are going for. Browse Pinterest for ideas. There are tons of great cake smash photos out there. Pin all of the ones you like to a board and then look at them collectively. Choose the features you want to use in your own session. Pick a color scheme or theme and work from there to plan your adorable one year old photo shoot. 

What day are you planning on having your cake smash session? If you are also having a birthday party, consider having the cake smash on a day prior. Having multiple events can be overwhelming and lots of people around may make it difficult to take all of your shots. 

one year old photo shoot cake smash

Plan and Shop

After you have an idea of what you want, start planning and gathering materials. I knew I wanted a blue and silver theme with a touch of royal. I looked around for what I could put in the background and found this balloon arch on Amazon. It was a perfect background, as it filled up the space and I didn’t need anything else. Balloons are inexpensive and can be find in any color combinations you want. Other cute ideas I have seen are “Happy Birthday” banners, or just a decorative banner with paper triangles or pompoms. I’ve also seen some beautiful flower backgrounds you could make with some silk flowers.

After I chose the balloon arch, I decided I wanted to make him an easy felt crown that I had made my other son for his first birthday and got a cute outfit to round it out. Finally, I found the “One” sign prop on Etsy and cut up some paper circles for the floor. 

first birthday photoshoot set up

Background and Location

Decide where in your house, yard or other location you are going to have your one year old photo shoot. You want a place with as much light as possible. Rhys’ birthday is in February and we live in Chicago. Outside is not an option so I cleared the space in front of our sunniest window and set up on the floor. The background is a long white paper roll from Michaels. I taped it down to the wall and the floor. Then we taped the already assembled balloon arch to the area around the paper, because we didn’t want it to accidentally tear.

Only downside with the paper is that when it gets dirty with cake you can see the paper color getting darker. Putting a piece of glass or clear vinyl on top would have been a good way to avoid this, but I did not have one on hand! Other options could be a long white tablecloth that you clamp down over furniture. I’ve also seen someone hang fabric off their kitchen island and put their baby on the floor in front of the fabric. 

Props and Decor

The focus of a 1st birthday photoshoot is of course your baby. Props and decor can be minimal. Also, consider if items will be distracting and take their attention away from the cake that you want to be the highlight of the show. I liked the pictures when Rhys was messing with his “one” sign so I let him go for it. He ended up being into smashing the cake with the sign. You never know how they’ll be! 

We set up the balloon arch with the background and then I played with the position of the “one” sign and decorated the floor with paper circles that I had cut out ahead of time and some silver confetti that came with our balloon arch. 

1st birthday photoshoot cake smash

Cake

The cake should be small and basic for a first birthday photoshoot. You can bake it yourself or buy one almost anywhere. We ordered ours at our supermarket bakery, where I’ve gotten most of my boys’ birthday cakes. They are delicious and a good price. It is an 8 inch round cake and I matched the frosting to the theme. I got vanilla because I thought chocolate would be too much in this whole scene, but it would probably pop really nicely in photos. We also got a slightly bigger cake for his big brothers and family to enjoy. 

Outfit and Accessories

There are lots of cute outfits out there for first birthday cake smash sessions. Some dress their babies up a lot, and others go bare bones with just a diaper. There are tons of cute dresses or shorts with bowtie combos.  We’ve done a lot with bowties so I was looking for something different. I instantly fell in love with these overalls, they were minimal but added a cute look to his day. 

Just remember that whatever they wear will be filled and covered with cake. You’ll have to get all of that out somehow.  I was also filled with cake afterward from interacting with him and picking him up after. So keep your outfit in mind as well! 

Day of your First Birthday Photoshoot

Set everything up ahead of time. Make sure you take some test shots of the scene before you bring out your baby and the cake. Adjust any decor or props as needed.

Check your camera or phone to ensure the battery is fully charged and you have enough memory to take tons of photos!

Dress your baby shortly before, but maybe give them 30 minutes to get used to any accessories that they may not be used to. I love the felt crown because it is one of the only things any of them would keep on their head as one year olds.

Finally, remember it’s a 1 year baby photoshoot. They do not always know what is going on and can get easily overwhelmed. Give it time, take lots of pictures, make them laugh, and put on their favorite music. We had a lot of family around and in retrospect I would have take some just me and him and then brought them out for the end, because he kept looking at all of them instead of looking into the camera.

Don’t worry. He did cry, but he also laughed and had fun. he actually did not like the cake! We ended up putting strawberries and these organic baby puffs he likes so he would try it. Lol. I guess we don’t have a sweets guy on our hands. But that could all change.

1 year baby photoshoot angle cake smash

Get down to the floor to get eye level action but also move around. You can get lots of vantage points and decide after which were your favorite. Take some shots from overhead, zoom in on their face or their hands or feet. Let them play with props or make funny faces to get new reactions. 

We got lots of fun active shots and I’m so glad we planned out a cake smash session at home. Would 100% do it again, except I’m done having babies so maybe I’ll just help a friend out with theirs. 🙂

1 year old photoshoot birthday cake smash

Water Party Ideas: Splish Splash Birthday Bash

We have a couple summer birthdays at our house, and there are so many quintessential birthday themes that are all about summer. My son Ellis has the first summer birthday in June, followed by Miles in late August. Ellis is a ball of energy- incredibly playful, loves to to run and all the sports.  A theme has to involve running and play for it to be successful for him. Since he already had a ball themed party last year, nothing says summer birthday like a splish-splash party with lots of water game activities.  Read more for all the water party ideas and free printables at the end!  

Related: Wild “One”, Superhero, Ball Theme, or Rockstar Birthday Parties

To give you an idea of what to expect from my birthday parties. These are real parties that I try to keep under a certain budget, be kid centered and have some creative theme details, but never the perfection seen on other parties on Pinterest. No knock on those parties- there are some beautiful parties, but it’s not what I strive for. There are creative details I enjoy doing, but most importantly, I love creating a magical scene for the kids.  Since our budget does not include Disney World or international vacations at this point, birthday parties are their special events. 🙂

Before we go any further, all of these pictures were taken by Pinky Promise Pix.  I’ve taken my own photos at parties, but with all the setup and everything going on- it’s hard to get good shots and remember to keep taking them.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend Pinky Promise Pix for your next event or family photos! And if you aren’t in this area, consider hiring a photographer or assigning family and friends the task of capturing the event. 

I’ve shared my philosophy in other posts about how to approach birthdays.  Decide what works best for you and your family.  It’s not everyone’s jam to throw a big party. It doesn’t have to be at the most extravagant place or spend the most money (unless you want to do that!). You  can get together as a family, small group of friends or bigger.  As long as it comes from a place that you are happy with.  Ok, enough about that! Let’s talk about all the water party ideas. It was not too expensive, and with a little planning- our backyard was transformed into a small water park.

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Games & Activities

Lots of Inflatable Pools

splash party slide pool

inflatable pools water party ideas

For toddler parties, I have found that stations work better than organized games.  They can wander around and do what they want. We set up stations with different pools and a water table for the younger kids. These are all the items we had: one pool with a slide going into it, another with a basketball hoop and the green pool had the water balloons in it (that get used very quickly!). The water table was closer to the eating tables so the younger babies could be near their parents. 

Other Water Party Ideas

dinosaur super large sprinkler birthday party

dinosaur sprinkler birthday partyThe sprinkler is the main event for sure. And yes, having a larger than life dinosaur was necessary.  🙂 Elevated the scene from just another day out playing in the sprinkler. I’ve also seen unicorns that are adorable.  I went back and forth on the water/squirt guns, but glad I got them.  The water balloons- even though we had over 400- were used sooo quickly! The kids were able to squirt each other for the whole party though.  And they didn’t leave tons of itty bitty pieces in the grass. Kids love the balloons just be ready for the clean up!

squirt guns water party

water balloons birthday party

Kids Mural Art

water party ideas mural art

roller paintbrush kids mural artThis was my favorite part of the party.  Ever had an idea, but not sure how it would actually transfer in real life? This was one of those things that actually worked exactly as I imagined. Maybe even better.

A water splash party is a perfect type of party to integrate messy art because the kids are already in bathing suits. They can wash off any paint they got on themselves in the sprinkler.  

Basically, we hung up a huge canvas on the side of our garage, laid out plenty of different painting supplies and the kids made a huge mural together.  Afterward, I took some of the mural and made a gallery wall for the boys’ playroom.  paint squirt bottles art birthday party

Supplies for Art Project

  • Canvas drop– comes in multiple sizes depending on where you can hang it/how big you want it. We got the 12×15 and it was bigger than the wall, which is what I wanted.
  • Washable paint– because kids. We pretty much used all the paint in this set.  It was perfect.
  • Spray bottles– pack of 12 ( I used 8). I added about two tablespoons of water to these to make them easier to spray and adds a different texture.  Do not add too much water though because it will drip more than you want. 
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Paint rollers and sponge brushes
  • Trays (I used two cookie sheets from Dollar Tree to place bottles on)

Invitations & Signage

We send digital invitations, but these can also be printed.  I’ve included a free download file at the end. The invitation and signs were designed in Canva.

Decor

Food Table

With this kind of party, the activities make up the majority of the decor.  The food table is the one place where I put some DIY touches.  The splish splash sign was transferred onto a foam board (one of the downloads available!) I used the same method for making signs that I did in the Wild Things party. The sand buckets and shovels I snagged at Walmart- perfect for snacks. Beach balls we had from the ball themed party. Finally, I cut up a bunch of pool noodles.  Made a cupcake stand and a garland out of them.  Also from Walmart and Dollar Tree.  All about the budget friendly decor!

*Cupcake stand: Cut 3 pool noodles into 3 inch pieces and assemble for the bottom row.  Glue together outside circle, stuff the middle with loose pieces and secure with a ribbon or goggles.  Top row: cut 3 pool noodles in 5 inch pieces and assemble the top row the same as the bottom.  

Accessories & Goody Bags

Final water party ideas were some accessories and items kids can take home.  One basket was filled with bubble wands and sunglasses – used in place of goody bags.  Another basket had towels and sunscreen for anyone that needed any during the party.

Repurposed Art

I didn’t want to throw away the entire canvas.  But you can if you want to! 🙂 I cut out 16×20 pieces and used them as a mat for picture frames.  Since it’s so colorful, I used plain black and white pictures of the boys.  It’s hanging in their craft/play room and fits in perfectly. 

 

25 Must Have Superhero Party Decorations on Amazon

It’s been a minute since this Superhero party happened, so it was due time that I shared all the details with you all. I have two enthusiastic superhero fans in my house.  My two oldest boys share a superhero themed bedroom that they love. Shortly after completing their room, my oldest son Miles HAD to have a superhero themed party for his 4th birthday.  So I was deep in all things superhero for a while.  Probably why I needed a little break before I wrote this post. 🙂 

The party was a success. Yay! And while we got a lot of our decorations from Amazon..they have 4,000 results when you search “superhero party decorations”. Talk about a time suck, that I may have fallen into twice. Instead of you having to go through all that, these are the top essential things you need to create a perfect Superhero party. 

This post contains affiliate links, please read the disclosure policy for more information.

Superhero Capes and Masks

Pack of 14 capes and masks for best superhero party decorationsOkay, if you get nothing else- you have to get a good set of capes and masks.  They make the whole party get into spirit. We got two sets of this pack of capes with masks.  It was such a hit and I got messages from some of the parents that their kids kept playing with them afterward.  Bonus is that they can double as your “goody bag” if you’d like. 

superhero birthday party capesYou can also get character specific capes/mask sets, but we had a lot of kids and I didn’t want them to argue over certain ones.  They could work well for a small party. Miles got to pick out a special one since he was the birthday boy, and he chose to be Batman.

4 shirt from Amazon for this superhero birthday party boy.The shirt he is wearing is no longer available, but there are a couple adorable birthday shirts like this comic four year old shirt or Captain America themed shirt

Superhero birthday party runningWall and General Decor

There are a few kits that include most of what you would need. If time isn’t on your side or you just want to do something quick- this superhero party kit  is one of the best one on Amazon. Includes photo backdrop and props, superhero masks.

Birthday banner for superhero partyThis Happy Birthday Banner was just too perfect and great quality. An alternative could be this colorful banner with pom pom balls. It’ll go with the Superhero theme, but also with other themes so you could reuse at another party. 

Food table for superhero birthday

Present table decorations and cape line with clothespinsLarge Superhero word cutouts are a great addition to fill up big wall spaces or the front of your tables. 

Superhero balloon pack  with a helium tank can create great table centerpieces or hung around your space. 

Giant inflatable spiderman for superhero birthdayIn retrospect, I wish I had splurged on this giant Spiderman balloon or the batman one, or both. I was too hung up on time and how I would inflate it, but if you look at the customer photos on Amazon-they are so worth it.  They make an impact and are fun for both adults and kids. Apparently Dollar General blows up balloons cheap! So now I know.

Superhero Food Table

Cupcake tower for superhero partyWe did a cake but if we had done cupcakes, I would have for sure gotten this building cupcake tower.  It is so perfect.  As are these cupcake toppers that have actual characters to put on top.

This Superhero table cloth is great because it doesn’t hit you in the face with characters.  It has a nice city skyline with some comic polk dots that blend to a solid blue tabletop.

These comic book tablecloths may be worthwhile since they come in packs of 3. They are white with black polka dots and a city skyline.  

Wrappers to for superhero party decorationsIf you want to customize water bottles, cups or candy jars- these BAM superhero wrappers are a cute touch. 

This building centerpiece stand can display fun snacks or treats for guests to grab. 

Superhero birthday party eating tableA Marvel Avengers party pack or a DC Comics party park gives you all need in terms of tableware.  I did a more low key table set, because I went to the Dollar Tree for those supplies.  The runners in the middle are wrapping paper that I cut into strips. 

Photo Booths and Goody Bags

superhero birthday backdropSuperhero Theme Photo Backdrop is a must to capture those adorable superheroes running around.  We reused a city skyline shower curtain from Target that I had bought for my son’s rockstar birthday party and some superhero wall decals left over from their superhero room design.  I’m always trying to reuse as much party stuff as possible, but we could have used a bigger space to fit all the kids in! This photo backdrop is also pretty amazing with the interactive scenes. 

Photo backdrop for a superhero birthday partyThese goody bags can be filled with superhero figurines, colorful jelly bracelets, keychain tags and other gifts for your guests.  We used the figurines to decorate our cake as well. 

Cake with superhero figurines for birthday party

Capes all around at this superhero birthday party

Related: Kids’ Birthday Party Checklist

 

Party Planning with a Kids’ Birthday Checklist!

I’ve wanted to share these planning checklists with you all for some time! Now that we just wrapped up another birthday party, it was all fresh on the brain again, so a perfect time to write it out. Having a birthday checklist going into your party planning process is really really helpful. Just like any to do lists and writing things down. It’ll ease some of the stress and organize all the little details that could be forgotten.

Budget

First things first, decide on your budget. That will be your guiding light through this process. You don’t want to spend more and make the party a lingering stresser for your family. The budget will help guid your location, entertainment, number of guests, menu and overall decor.

Don’ forget the purpose of birthday parties. They are for celebrating life, enjoying time with family and friends and creating memories. For me, I like doing birthdays from year 1 but you may decide to start them when your child will remember- around 3 or 4.

Soapbox: please please don’t do anything you don’t want to. Seriously. Pinterest can be fun to look for inspiration and ideas, but it doesn’t have to be the standard you hold yourself to if that’s not your thing. If you want something small, but your mother in law wants a huge party at a fancy place ask her to help with the budget and planning. 🙂 That is just an example- no offense to mother in laws, I happen to have a great one.

It just seems like moms are feeling more and more pressured these days to do more, and at the end of the day you should decide what makes you and your family happy- nothing more.

Themes

Anywho, enough about that…moving on to more planning! After your budget and decide on some specific details, pick out a theme. If your child is old enough, ask for their input. If they aren’t, take cues from what they are interested in or their personality. These were a few of our themes you can use for inspiration or ideas.

My oldest son Miles loves music so his first AND 3rd birthday were music/rockstar themed. His first was so tiny that it was fitting to redo his theme again.

My youngest son Ellis was already proving to be our wild child so a Wild Things birthday was very fitting. This was also an example of going too far on Pinterest. I absolutely loved all the projects I made, but I felt stressed in the morning because I had put too much time into wooden signs and not enough on actually cooking food. Lol.

Both my sons were crazy into playing ball going into their 2nd birthdays so I did a ball theme for both! Redoing a theme was amazing- reusing things and already having a plan made the second ball themed party a breeze.

Planning

Download this party planning guide to help with your next birthday celebration. Includes a checklist to follow, a brainstorming page and a shopping list to organize your purchases. Hope your next birthday party is fun and as stress free as possible!

Kids' birthday party planning guide with a birthday checklist a brainstorming page and an organized shopping list. birthday party checklist, birthday party list, party planning ideas

 

Kids' birthday party planning guide with a birthday checklist a brainstorming page and an organized shopping list. birthday party checklist, birthday party list, party planning ideas

Have the Best Birthday for your 2 Year Old with a Ball Themed Party!

So I made a joke at the end of my original ball themed birthday party post, that it was so successful I might just do it again for Ellis’ second birthday.  I really was joking. I swear. But then Ellis showed the same obsession with all things playing ball. Even MORE than Miles did, so the ball themed party had to be done again.

Reusing a theme is freakin’ fantastic. Not only have you done it before so you have a lot of the stuff already, but you can make it even bigger and better. Or you already know what worked well and what didn’t. We had just moved into our house a couple months before so I was excited to see how I could expand the games to include a bigger yard than we previously had in our condo. So absolutely yes, I highly recommend this theme for a toddler birthday party. It didn’t disappoint the second time around AT ALL!

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday10am has still proven to be our ideal time for birthday parties. We did Ellis’ Wild One party at 10am, but changed it up for Miles’ 3rd rockstar birthday. It was at 4pm and lots of people came a lot later because all the kids’ naps end at different times. Mimosas and brunch food are the perfect backdrop for this time as well. Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

The Games

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What You Need:

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayThis is a super colorful party and it all starts with the games. We had one structured game that I forgot a key piece for so it wasn’t set up properly for half the party. But it was so cheap and easy to make that I’ll talk about it here, and of course what not to forget. Other than that, there weren’t many structured games, just various toys to play with.

The first main set up was just like our last party, a ball pit in a kiddie pool. I had two bags of plastic balls, and I bought one more for this year because I’m really not sure how many have made it around the house for almost two years. We’ve set it up at random times for the boys to play with or for a playdate. You could buy 5-6 bags to fill it up even more.

We kept the same pool from Miles’ party, as the bright colors fit perfectly.  Also used the same beach balls and got a couple more since some wouldn’t stay inflated the same. Granted, we’ve had them for almost 2 years since the first time I threw this party so they help up pretty well. They add great size depth and another fun toy to play with outside the pit.

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayOne of the biggest hits is the  jumbo inflatable ball. We had one at the first party and I just had to order another one since we had a little more space. Glad I did! They are great to throw, roll around, play catch, and bump it with their heads like a soccer ball. My boys love to run and jump on top of them as well.

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayThe bubble machine was out of reach this time. 🙂 I got smart from the last party where various kids fought over the one bubble machine I had. Never have only one of something desirable at a toddler party. Lol. This time, I added huge bubble wands as party favors and a couple bubble guns the kids could play with. This could tie as the best entertainment after the jumbo inflatable balls and ball pit. Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayWe also brought out sports balls, portable soccer goals, sidewalk chalk and made this pool noodle game. I got them at Dollar Tree and used tape I already had at the house. You need two stakes to stand it up! My husband saved the day and got his friends to help him tie it to the fence to stand it up. Grabbed a few footballs at Dollar Tree to throw through the rings. 

TIP:

Inflate everything ahead of time and get an electric pump! Last time I said it was a nice bonus to have an electric pump, but truly it’s just necessary with the amount of inflatables this party needs. Another important tip for parties in general is make sure to get help! My husband, sister in law and her husband helped inflate the night before and a little the morning of while I finished prepping the food. There is no way I could have done it all alone. 

Also, if you want to reuse the inflatables- make sure to keep them on soft grass or carpet so they don’t get holes.

The Decorations

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayThe games made up the majority of the decorations. We blew up some balloons but you really don’t need to with the games that are all over the yard.  There were two tables set up inside for food and mimosas.  I got the tablecloths, plates, napkins, cups etc. at Walmart but bought this pack when I did the party last time. The colorful circle garland I used on the front of the table last time, I put on the side of our garage. I tried to create a photo backdrop but it wasn’t really used that much. Haha. Not everything is a success!

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayBall shaped food is still a super easy way to decorate for your theme! We’ll get into that soon. I bought the banner at Walmart but this banner is even better and includes a garland and pom pom balls for extra decor. And I made the garland with a hole punch I already owned (used it for the nursery mobile) and cardstock.

Ellis’ shirt was from an Etsy shop.  It was super cute to have the basketball on the front and his name on the back. At first, I didn’t think we could compete with Miles’ “Two Cool” tank but they are both pretty adroable!

The Food

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayLet’s talk ball shaped food first. These glass jars were filled with gum balls in one, donut holes in another and cheese balls in the last one. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were cut into circles with a cookie cutter. And I made these no bake granola balls. Can’t believe I haven’t done it before! They were easy and delicious and perfect for a morning party food.

For dessert we had cupcakes and I topped each one with a gum ball. It was the first time I actually made the cupcakes myself- from a box mix with some tweaks. It wasn’t too hard and it felt good to save a little extra budget wise! 

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayCroissant sandwiches, mini bagels and cream cheese and a fruit platter rounded out our food items. And also this little snack station kind of got thrown together at the end.

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayI used the same carafes that I use at every 10am birthday party we throw, because it’s just too perfect to not have mimosas. 🙂 The carafes were filled with three different juices- cranberry, orange, and orange/peach/mango.  The type of juice was written on chalkboard labels with a chalk marker.  Behind the carafes were the champagne bottles in a bowl of ice. Shatter proof glasses and leftover champagne flutes from an 80s NYE party completed the little mimosa bar.   

Things to Consider

Think about where you are in your life and what is most important right now. The last time I did this theme, I also had a two month baby and was working full time. So we had some of the food catered and that is a huuugge stress reliever. But if the budget is the most important (like it was for us this time), there are still lots of cute ways to keep the food simple. The only I thing I actually cooked were the cupcakes.

Expectations

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday
Most serious bubble blowing face of all time!

Now that I’ve thrown two 2-year old parties, there seems to be a theme in behavior. They get overwhelmed at first. This time my son played in the yard for a while before people showed up. This got him used to the yard being different before guests came.  That helped a little, but there were still times when he didn’t want to play and just wanted to be held. And that’s perfectly okay!

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthday

Everything you need to plan a ball themed party for your next birthday celebration. Easy and fun theme complete with ideas for games, decorations and food. Ball themed birthday party, 2nd birthday party themes, 2nd birthday party ideas, 2nd birthday ideas, sport themed, sport themed birthdayHe eventually warmed up and probably had the best time after the majority of guests had left. Ha! So just always remember with this age- they have really big emotions and don’t handle change well. Don’t expect them to act a certain way or chalk it up as a failure if they aren’t having the most fun ever right away. They are just being two. 🙂 If you start with that realization, you’ll enjoy this crazy year ahead. Check out my two year old schedule for support!

How to Go All Out for a Rockstar Birthday Party

If you have an avid music lover like I do, a rockstar party could be the perfect theme for your next birthday! It’s been almost 2 months since Miles’ 3rd birthday party. So it’s about time that I told you guys all about how to put together an amazing rockstar birthday party. How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

Miles took the lead on some of the party planning  since he was turning three, and has opinions now. It’s a good and bad thing, lol. He’s been really into music, Bruno Mars and playing guitar so it seemed like the natural theme to go with. The biggest projects were putting together a stage for the kids to perform on and gathering all the instruments we had. The most unexpected but best part was how the kids were dressed up in their best rockstar gear- they were all sooo cute! Miles took his role VERY seriously and barely broke out of his rockstar persona. How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

Before we go any further, all of these pictures were taken by Pinky Promise Pix.  I’ve taken my own photos at parties, but with all the setup and everything going on- it’s hard to get good shots and remember to keep taking them.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend Pinky Promise Pix for your next event or family photos! And if you aren’t in this area, consider hiring a photographer or assigning family and friends the task of capturing the event. 

In this post I’ll explain everything we did and you’ll get to see the party in full effect, with all of the craziness and adorable little rockstars everywhere.

Side Note

My philosophy on birthday parties is- do what YOU want!  I love putting together a theme like the ball theme for Miles’ second birthday and doing DIY projects for Ellis’ first birthday Wild Things Party.  I don’t like to spend tons of money, nor do I like to do invitations or goody bags for toddlers.  If you want to spend tons of money (as long as its’ not on a credit card- can’t tell you to do that, lol) or have an intimate family night- as with everything in mommyhood, do what works for you.  Don’t let outside pressures dictate your choices.  Okay- I’m getting off my soapbox- let’s talk details!

Pre-Planning

First thing is to decide where to have it.  We had it at our house because Chicago venues are super expensive, and we had it outside because our condo is a bit small for the amount of people. So we worked with what we had. The Wild Things party was perfect outdoors, but the rockstar theme would actually be pretty cool inside because you could play with lighting and other things.  Next you need to pick a color scheme that you work everything around.  Ours was black with gold and silver accents. 

Next is decide on a menu- this can be a big budget killer if not careful.  For Miles’ second birthday- I got some food catered because I was working full time and had a 2 month baby and just couldn’t handle the task at the time.  For both of my boys’ parties this year- budget was more of the goal so I made finger foods.  The parties were also outside- so no sit down table. Think about your budget and your space and any other details you want- like having food that matches your theme.

The Stage

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!
How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.This was a lot of fun!  Very much worth the time it took to put it together. I plan on putting it back up when we move to a house with a playroom.  The backdrop is also a perfect photo booth background  and can be used for future parties.

I followed this tutorial on making the background frame.  The only thing I did different is make it 5ft by 5ft, since the pipe comes in 10ft so I can cut it evenly. The PVC pipe is cheap at $10 and you need to find a nice person at Home Depot to cut it for you- they do it for free.  At first, I was first told they don’t cut it anymore, but I walked around the store until I found someone that would. Ha!

Originally, I considered silver and gold foil curtains for the background. It may have worked for a different setting, but it just didn’t seem right.  Many people have used sheets or curtains and I looked at all of them at Target.  They were kind of expensive and not really the kind of background I wanted.  Then I found the shower curtains!  This city scape was a $12 shower curtain from Target and the dimensions were perfect.  I used tape and clothespins to wrap it up around the PVC frame.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.
Daddy was Band Security!

The actual stage.  I’m going to tell you what I ended up using and what my other ideas were so you can have options!  My son Ellis has this foam playmat in his room. I turned it upside down and stuck these black vinyl linoleum tiles on it ($13 when bought).  The edges that didn’t quite fit were easy to cut.  After the party, I just flipped it back over and put it back in his room! The only downside is that the foam playmat was adjustable before and now it’s not. But that’s okay for me- now it’s reversible and I have some extra pieces for a smaller mat.

I also considered a piece of plywood (1 inch, 4ft by 8ft- $13)  cut down from Home Depot to 4ft by 5ft. I ran out of time, and I would need to paint it black, and I also didn’t have a truck to bring home in one piece. Other options are using an area rug, buying a stage, or making one out of a couple of pallet boards.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.
Jamming out with Abuela!

Final detail is putting string lights around the edge of the stage.  Looked way better inside where it was darker- but added a fun stage lighting effect.

Decor

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.Posters! “VIP Entrance” and “Miles and the Crew” Band poster were made from canvas prints bought at Michael’s and some paint markers.  I used this technique that I’ve used before to print it out and transfer- my free hand is not reliable! You can also print them out somewhere on poster board.  I’ve seen VIP badges made for other rockstar parties that are also super adorable!

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.Other decor was a Happy Birthday sign bought on Etsy that was printed on sheet music.  This was actually from Miles’ first birthday so it was a reuse!  Lots of music notes decorated the tables and hung around the space.  Lastly, I got a pack of records at a thrift store and glued them on to candle holders or set them on the table directly as food trays.

Games & Activities

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.There weren’t too many planned activities. I mean I already made a stage, so there was that. 🙂 My parents gifted Miles a performance from Mr. Dave, whose music classes we frequently attend.  I am not including this in the budget, because hiring out music isn’t always budget friendly.  I had told them we had absolutely no room for toys, so this was a good gift alternative for them.  If you have any friends or family that plays an instrument or sings- it would be great to have that at a rockstar party! If not, no worries.  Just set up your speakers and create a great spotify playlist.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.Other items we included were a dress up table and a bin full of all the instruments I could find (we owned a lot already).  Both were essential in creating little rockstars for the party. A lot of people came dressed up already!  But others definitely used some of the accessories. This is everything I bought (a couple things I found at Dollar Tree):

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.These microphones were super easy to make! Just save a few paper towel rolls and dig out some silver Christmas ornaments.  I just wrapped the roll in electrical tape- bought for a $1 at Dollar Tree.  Added a little bit of glue at the top to secure the ornament down.

Food

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.
Mommy moment: Okay, slow down!

The most exciting part of the food was the dessert.  I got some cupcakes from our local grocery store, but Miles is passionate about ice cream so I put together a sundae bar.  The glasses were actually margarita glasses that I bought years ago for my friend’s bachelorette party and never used.  So glad I kept them! In retrospect, I probably didn’t need the cupcakes. It just seemed like I needed to buy them because it was a birthday.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.The only real “themed” food I did was star shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and have some pop rocks.  The quotes on the table are from Bruno Mars songs that Miles always says.

Other food served were turkey sliders and tomato mozzarella sliders.  Cut fruit, a cheese plate and a vegetable plate rounded out the dishes. All plates and napkins were from Dollar Tree- I realized last year that I was spending way too much at Party City!

Party People!

These little rockstars were amazing! I may consider always having parties where people have to come dressed up!

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.
Got the whole fam in a shot! Success!

How to put together a rockstar birthday your music loving toddlers will love! Including a DIY stage and backdrop, decorations, activities food & game ideas.

Enjoy your birthday party! Just have fun with it. 😉

How to Throw a Budget Friendly Wild Things Birthday Party

There are so many cute ways to create a “Where the Wild Things Are” birthday party theme. As my little guy was nearing the end of his first year, it was just so fitting for him that he become not only the wild one- but king of them all!  It’s a perfect theme to have inside or out depending on weather. If you’ve read some of my other posts- I’m all about magical spaces, and what’s more magical than living out a storybook? Pinterest has lots of great ideas for a wild things birthday party, so a couple months before he turned one I started looking for inspiration.  A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out my Wild Things Birthday Party board on Pinterest here! Or to read more details about the DIY projects featured in this post, head here

When my first son Miles turned two last year, we did a ball theme and I pretty much ordered the majority of our stuff on Amazon.  At the time, I had a lot going on at work and a 2 month baby so I needed the least amount of prep possible.  This year we needed to keep the party on a tighter budget, since I wasn’t working anymore.  I was determined that Ellis got just as much as Miles did. Probably because I’m a second child so I’m ultra sensitive to all that.  At the end, this party may have surpassed both of Miles’ parties!

Before we go any further, all of these pictures were taken by Pinky Promise Pix.  I’ve taken my own photos at parties, but with all the setup and everything going on- it’s hard to get good shots and remember to keep taking them.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend Pinky Promise Pix for your next event or family photos! And if you aren’t in this area, consider hiring a photographer or assigning family and friends the task of capturing the event. 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please refer to my disclosure policy for more information. 

Decor

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

The most budget friendly way to go about decor is making as much as possible.  Or if you aren’t really into DIY, then printing some things at home and buying a few others.  I’m going to link to ready made versions also that I would have bought or gave me the inspiration. When guests walked up, they were greeted with a wooden sign “Let the Wild Rumpus Start”. This post goes over how I made it and all of the other DIY projects of the party.

At the end of this post, you’ll have a chance to subscribe and download all of the printables that I made for the party (signs and posters)!

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.Another wooden sign I made was above the wild things masks, “Inside all of us is fear, hope, and adventure.  Inside all of us is a wild thing.”  If you don’t want to make your own wooden sign, you can find both the “rumpus” and “inside all of us” wooden signs on Etsy. Another option would be to download my design and have it printed as a poster or canvas print.  I found the best deals at Office Depot, but Vistaprint also has great discounts.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.The “Happy Birthday” and “ONE” banners were made the same way as the wooden signs.  I got the triangles in a pack from Michaels (letters included in my printables pack below).  Again this is something you can easily buy already done- Amazon and Etsy have really cute ones. Etsy also has this natural bark border and hand burned wooden sign that I would have loved to have!

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.A couple other images from the book decorated the space to make the book come alive. I wanted these bigger so I looked around until I found the cheapest place to print.  You can scan the images from the book, but I just looked on google until I found two images with high enough resolution to print big. Office Depot had 50% off so they were the cheapest for sure.  Or buy this custom birthday banner and Under the Moon poster!

Food Tables

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.Food tables are always some of the best places for decor.  A few quotes from the books were framed, two I made and two I got from this blog post.  I printed them all at home so no extra costs!  The wind was super wild that day so some of the wild things fell over, but they were creating mischief all over the food!  The images are from google images and were printed at home.  These work too!A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

Amazon or Party City usually supply our plates, silverware, cups etc.  This time, I got everything from Dollar Tree for $10, including the table cloth.  The burlap table runner was from Target for $4, but they also have some at Amazon, Michael’s or other craft stores.  Moss was also from Michael’s, but it’s actually cheaper on Amazon.

Food

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.Cakes are from our grocery store Mariano’s; we decided to get a small one and supplement with little vanilla cupcakes. The cake topper was made on picmonkey, where I added Ellis’ face to the image before printing.  This blog has instructions on how they made their cake topper in Microsoft publisher.  I used her advice on adding a layer of tape to make it sturdier.  This glittery Wild One cake topper is pretty adorable, or one with wild thing silhouettes!

 

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.Smores on a stick were a hit and super easy.  There are a few recipes out there but I used this one.  Crown shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a watermelon boat rounded out the themed food.  I freehanded my sandwich crowns, but you can use this cookie cutter for sandwiches or make crown sugar cookies as a take away treat.

I tried to keep the food as simple as possible.  It’s cost effective to just have some finger foods.  There were turkey and cheese sliders that I made from this recipe.  Veggie tray with hummus, fruit tray, cheese and crackers, and chips with salsa.  So the majority of the prep was lots and lots of cutting.  Of course, you can buy the trays pre made but it always saves more to do any cutting and arranging yourself.  If time is what you need to save on though, getting food catered is amazing.  That is what we did for our son Miles’ second birthday and it was a nice relief to not have to worry about it.  

Birthday Outfit

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

I was mentally prepared for this crown not to last at all, but he wore it the whole time!  I do think it helped that the design was made of felt and it was soft on his head. Also the amount of excitement going on made him forget it was there. You can also buy this adorable one on Amazon or this one on Etsy, which is where I got his “Wild One” shirt.  Of course he and his brother had to match a little bit with their denim shorts and green converse.  

Activities

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.If there will be kids at your party, activities for them are a must! I purposefully did not bring that many toys out that could be fought over, but wanted to create spaces where kids could play together.  It ended up being a windy and kind of cool day so I scrapped the water table the morning of.  The first main activity was making these wild thing masks that they could run around with.  Our crowd may have been a little too young for them, but enough were played with that it was worth it.  And what better way to make the book come alive, then have a bunch of little wild things running around.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.A bucket of chalk was set up by the welcome sign and it got lots of use ($1 from Dollar Tree)!

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.The sensory bins were inspired from this book I love, “150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids”.  It has slime and dough recipes and little worlds that you can create.  Since Ellis is still eating everything in sight, I wanted to make taste safe sensory bins.  From the book I combined cloud dough and moon sand in one bin. The other bin had rice and colored pasta.  I threw in all of our sand toys as well as random kitchen supplies to play with.  Since I had all of the materials already, this cost zero dollars and was lots of fun.  But you can also find a big bag of flour and corn meal at Dollar Tree for a buck each.  

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.The teepee was another way to create the woodsy wilderness party vibe.  It cost a total of $18 and it can be put up in a playroom after the party!  The canvas drops from Home Depot were a little expensive so I got this one from Amazon.  We had a copy of our honorary book in there to be read.  In retrospect, I would have put a few more books in or other things to do.

And finally, shenanigans!

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

Overall it was a beautiful day, and we had a blast!! Ellis tore up his smash cake, his brother got in there with a fork to taste it, we drank mimosas, the kids ran around and made masterpieces with chalk.  

Have fun creating your own wild time!

6 of the Best DIY Projects for a Wild Things Party

I scoured the internet high and low for our son Ellis’ Wild Things first birthday party.  We decided it needed to be under a certain budget, so I knew making some DIY projects would be a must to get the look I wanted but stay in budget.  At the same time, I’m not really a sewer or artist that can draw freehand so I needed projects that were simple enough- like mostly gluing, printing, and tracing.  After my research, I found some great and easy DIY projects for a Wild Things Party.  What makes these the 6 best projects is they can be as simple or as detailed as you want to make them, and look just like stuff you can buy on Etsy.  They also came from sites with detailed instructions that were easy to follow. 6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you!

The Crown

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.I decided to tackle the projects in order of how much I wanted it done.  You never know what life will throw at you or if something takes longer than anticipated.  Making a crown for the birthday boy was my first big goal.  I thought it created such a cute look to distinguish him from the other kids and make him be the true king of the wild things.

There are a few tutorials out there, but I found a great one that was no sew which was essential for me!  Now, I did do some hand stitches at the top, but that is because I didn’t get double sided heat and bond. :-/ Make sure you do!  This tutorial includes a template and took about an hour.  AND the birthday boy wore it the whole time!  The fact that it was soft and had a good fit made him forget he had anything up there.

What you Need:

  • Felt- 4 pieces
  • Heat and Bond
  • Elastic
  • Glue gun
  • Template printed from original site

Masks

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.These were soo fun to have!  This awesome blogger already did most of the work! They enlarged the pictures to fill a page each.  All you do is print them, cut out the faces and tape them onto large popsicle sticks.  Instant entertainment! I really wanted to make sure that there were activities for the kids, and it was nice that there was something to play with that aligned with the theme.  There was another post with a craft project but since the majority of our kid guests were under 3, these were perfect.  If you’ll have older kids at the party, they’ll probably run around even more with them.

What you Need:

  • Print masks from original site
  • Card stock to print on
  • Glue
  • Large popsicle sticks

Wooden Signs

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.I fell in love with the wooden signs I saw on Pinterest and Etsy.  They were essential for the wilderness feel of the party.  I thought there had to be a way to make these on a budget!  And there is!  

If you don’t have wood or don’t want to transfer it yourself onto wood, you can download my designs and print them in poster size at either Office Depot, Fedex Kinkos or Vistaprint.  Just look around and see who has the best deal at the moment.  

  1. Ways to get cheap wood: In addition to the art pieces, you can also get tree trunk pieces to use as serving trays (I borrowed some from a friend).  I found my wood in the free ads on craigslist. There was a guy donating a bunch of pieces sized perfectly for signs.  I had to wash and stain them, but they were free so it was worth it.  Other options are asking for leftover wood pieces at Home Depot.  Many times if people get wood cut in certain sizes, there may be some left over that they keep in a pile.  Or go to a nearby lumber yard.  
  2. Like I mentioned, I’m not an artist. Nor did I trust myself to draw letters that looked alike and were actually straight.  This explanation of transferring printed pieces was my life saver!  I designed the signs on the computer (attached in the freebies below!), then followed the instructions to transfer to wood.  Finally, I used a chalk marker to fill it in.  This is what I already had in house, but a paint marker would also be perfect.  You wouldn’t want to use a brush, unless you have an incredibly steady hand.

What you Need:

  • 1-2 Wood pieces that are poster size
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and Pen
  • Paint or Chalk marker

Birthday Banner

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

After I learned how to trace and transfer printed letters, I felt inspired to create my own “Happy Birthday” banner and “One” banner for the high chair.  I used the same steps I used for the wooden signs and similar fonts so it would match (also included in printable download!).  The only difference is that I filled them in with black sharpie and outlined with a gold marker.   Triangle paper came in a pack of 24 at Michael’s, and it was super cheap with a 40% coupon.  I’m sure they have them at Hobby Lobby or other craft stores.  They had lots of different colors and designs. 

What you Need:

  • Banner Triangles (or whichever shape you want)
  • Twine or string (if not included with your banner paper)
  • Pencil and pen
  • Sharpie or Marker to fill in letters

TeePee

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.

A wild things birthday party is a cute and fun theme to have for a first birthday party, or any after! Ideas to make your party budget friendly AND amazing. Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.Okay, so our teepee struggled in the looks department.  We tied it a little too low, and by we I mean my husband after I left to go do other things.  Lol.  He thought it was sturdier that way, we had a super windy morning so it was kind of rough putting it up under those conditions.  There was also a lot going on, as I waited until the morning of to put together.  Definitely should have done it sooner!  The tutorials are great, but my execution needed some work.  🙂 This one is no drill needed and this one drills holes in the sticks to anchor more.  

Kids were definitely crawling in there and having fun. I vowed to be completely honest with you guys at all time.  No kids were hurt, but it totally blew over on little Marty.  I told you my execution needed work.  Thankfully his mom is one of my best friends and didn’t sue me.  He also is one of the widest of them all so he wasn’t phased one bit.  LOL.  Overall, it was a perfect addition to the theme.  We had the Wild Things book in the teepee and one little girl had her dad read it to her several times. It would be a nice touch to have several books, flashlights or other toys to play with inside.   

What you Need:

  • 4 wooden sticks- I got the ones linked in original site at Home Depot
  • Canvas drop cloth (6×9)
  • Jute twine
  • Drill (Optional)
  • Cushion or blanket for the bottom

Printables

6 of the best and easiest DIY projects for a Wild Things Party. No sewing or artistic skills needed, & budget friendly! Perfect for a first birthday party! Includes a set of 6 wild things party printables to make your own signs and posters easily.One of the best parts of having a book theme is there are lots of great quotes that work perfectly for a party!  You can really make it come to life with quotes and images set around the space.  There were two I found on this blog, I made the rest myself and just printed them at home (Scroll to end to download!).  Recycling frames from the house is the way to go! I put them above the pictures, and just took the quotes out after the party.  

What you Need:

  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Frames

So that’s it!  Just give yourself enough time to buy any supplies you need and complete the projects.  If you want to read more about the rest of the party, check out the wild things party post.

 

What You Need to Throw the Perfect Ball Themed Birthday Party

Leading up to his second birthday, Miles’ toy obsession  was everything involving a ball.  And I know he’s not the only obsessed toddler out there! Since I love a good theme, I thought I’d run with a ball inspired birthday.  He had an amazing time! I definitely recommend a ball themed birthday party for your toddler that loves to play ball. We had it in our side yard, which is actually not very big. This can be accomplished by other city condo dwellers like ourselves. Or even better in a large backyard!

Check out the new post on this theme! More pictures of the tables and more things learned. 🙂What you need to throw the perfect ball themed party for your toddler's next birthday.

**Check out our other birthday parties! Ellis’ Wild Things First Birthday and Miles’ Rockstar Third Birthday!

The Brunch addition was for the adults. 🙂 Sunday fit into everyone’s schedules best. When you are planning something for toddlers, there are two windows- pre and post nap.  We didn’t want to do something after the nap and have people linger late into the evening since we had to work the next day.  To make up for having an early 10am party, we supplied brunch food and mimosas!

The Games

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We didn’t have structured games, but had various toys to play with outside.  The most successful was by far the ball pit.  I bought two bags of plastic balls, but as you can see in the pictures, you could fill it up with even more!  The pool was the perfect size for a few small kids to jump around in and I loved the bright colors.  The beach balls also added a fun variety in size and you could throw them around outside of the pit as well.

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, ball pit

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, ball pit

Having a  jumbo inflatable ball created another fun size addition and Miles made a game of bumping it with his head like a soccer ball and laughing hysterically.  They played catch with it and rolled it around all over the yard.  

TIP:

Inflate everything ahead of time! I didn’t want Miles to see any of this before the party so it would be a nice surprise. We started to inflate them after he went to bed the night before.  My husband, sister and brother in law all helped inflate the morning of!  Having help for this was necessary. If you have an electric pump- even better!

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, jumbo ball

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, jumbo ball, ball pit

The bubble machine was a hit! And when you say something is a hit with toddlers, you know there was also some fighting over it. Many passionate disagreements as to the perfect location.  That will come with anything you do at this age, so we just gave it a couple time outs as needed.  While bubbles are not balls, they are the same shape so why not?!  Now, you could very well have manual bubble bottles and wands, which was the original plan before I started getting out of control. It’s that theme obsession problem I have, the ideas take over!  The machine added another level of fun and fantasy to the space, so it was worth it!

We also brought out sports balls, pushing toys, and Miles’ riding cars to add some variety and entertainment for everyone.  

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, bubble machine
Yes, he’s trying to eat the bubbles.

2 year old Ball themed birthday party, bubble machine

The Decorations

The games made up the majority of the decorations.  I decided not to do balloons because there was enough in the toys to fill up the small space we had.  There were two tables set up for food and mimosas, and unfortunately I did not get great pictures of them.  The table was covered with a blue tablecloth I already had and put this colorful circle garland on the front.

Some decorating was done with ball shaped food. These glass jars were filled with gum balls in two of them and cheese balls in another.  I also used this scooper and made watermelon balls that sat in the watermelon as a bowl.  For dessert we had cupcakes and I topped each one with a gum ball.

Miles’ shirt was from an Etsy shop.  This “Two. Cool.” is one of our favorites!

2 year old Ball themed birthday party
Mommy Moment- Do NOT touch the flame on those candles.

The Food

For the food, we had some of it catered and it was sooo nice to have something taken off my to do list. At the time, I was working full time and had a two month baby. I needed to save myself time in one area.  We served breakfast tacos, fruit, cheese and crackers, muffins, sandwiches, birthday cupcakes and of course gum balls (only because they were part of the decor).  If I had cooked, I would have had french toast sticks for the kids and I considered mini quiches as well.  In the end, we went with what we could get!

I already had  carafes and I filled them up with three different juices- pomegranate, orange, and mango/pineapple.  The type of juice was written on chalkboard labels with a chalk marker.  Behind the carafes were the champagne bottles in a bowl of ice. Shatter proof glasses were a fancy and outside friendly way to drink the mimosas.  

2 year old Ball themed birthday party
Miles swaying to his birthday song.

Things I would have done differently

This has more to do with my son being two, but I would have taken him out in the yard to take in the whole scene before other kids arrived.  He got very overwhelmed and did not want ANYONE to play with “his” toys, which is actually not his normal demeanor.  Surprises are not really his thing, he likes to get comfortable in an environment before he truly starts having fun. That probably played a huge part in his temperament at the beginning of the party, thankfully he warmed up and had a blast. 

Also, have the party set up at least 30 minutes before people arrive.  It’s nice to not have your first guests help you put stuff out because you are running behind.  Oops! To say this is not a constant problem of mine would be a lie.  We all need goals, right?! 🙂

In case you were wondering, Ellis was here soaking up everything. In all his two month glory!

The final best part:  all of your “decorations” can be used over and over again for summer yard time fun!  Instead of balloons or banners that get lost in the fray, you’ll have spent money on toys you can use again.  Ellis may have the same theme for his 2nd birthday, we’ll see.  🙂

UPDATE: That last line was totally a joke, but I guess I wrote it into existence! Check out Ellis’ 2nd birthday ball bash here!