Parties for One Year olds? Surely not….
Hosting a birthday party need not fill you with dread. I hope to be able to support you in your choices so that you can host with confidence.
In order to make things simple, I’m going to give suggestions in accordance with the age of the child.
Diane of Diane’s Puppets is happy to entertain babies. It takes a certain amount of patience and a gentle pace , but a first birthday puppet party can be a delightful experience for baby and parents.
First let’s start with the very first birthday. Many parents keep the first birthday in the family and it is more of an adult celebration with other family members rather than being a child’s party.
In this instance the party is fairly low-key, all that is needed are a few soft play toys and food and drink for the adults and a birthday cake for the child.
But for some people with large families with lots of young children, or those people with big networks of friends with children of the same age, there may be a situation where the party can turn out to be a large gathering of babies as well as parents. In this situation it may be wise to have some sort of focus for the infants to avoid squabbling over toys.
For the do it yourself , cheap option, I can recommend keeping it simple and encouraging the mum’s and dads to sit down with their babies and having someone as ‘leader’ to sing some simple nursery songs. In order to break the ice, I suggest that you warm up your guests by preparing them that it will be a nursery rhyme party on the invites and that the party will involve a bit of a sing along. The small commitment involved to sing with your baby will be so worthwhile when you see the delight on the baby’s faces. We do not have enough opportunity in our busy lives to focus solely on our babies, so why not use this time to the fullest. No great voices needed, don’t worry. As long as you know the words ( if in doubt print out a few lyric sheets) you are qualified to be able to keep your baby happy.Nothing will make baby happier than seeing the people he/she loves , focusing on them and having fun together. ( If in doubt of the tunes, youtube is a fabulous resource to remind you.)
Here are a few songs that I know are winners with babies, with their accompanying actions:
A good getting to know you song is this one:
( everyone sits in a rough circle, in the middle is stack of building blocks/ an empty toilet roll tube, anything that could represent a candlestick. Have each child substitute their own name for JACK and then be jumped over the candlestick by the parent. )
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candle stick
Jump jump jump jump jump. ( So if your child’s name was Jenny, it would go Jenny be nimble Jenny be quick.. and lift her over the candlestick a few times. )
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star( if there were a chart for babies’ songs , this would be an eternal number 1)
Twinkle twinkle little star ( Fingers outstretched , wiggling like a star)
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky ( Index fingers and thumb joining to make a diamond shape , hold above the head)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ( wiggling fingers)
How I wonder what you are
Repeat as many times as you want. Babies ( and children) love repetition.
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes Sir, yes sir, three bags full ( Nod head in yes motion and hold up three fingers)
One for the master, one for the dame,( hold up one finger each time)
One for the little boy/girl who lives down the lane .
Thank you said the master ( Bow in thanks)
Thank you said the dame ( Curtsey like a lady)
Thank you said the little boy who lived down the lane. (doff cap motion )
See the little bunnies sleeping till it’s nearly noon,( lying down ‘sleeping‘)
Shall we wake them with a little tune?
Oh how still, are they ill?
NOW!( pick up ‘bunnies’ and hop them up and down)
Hop little bunnies hop hop hop (x4)
Row row row the boat
(Start with baby sitting on lap facing towards you holding hands like a boat)
Row row row the boat ( lean back and forth holding hands in a rowing motion)
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a dream
Rock rock rock the boat ( stay holding hands, but rock from side to side)
Wildly down the stream
If you see a crocodile ( octopus)
Don’t forget to scream, AAARGH!( scream and lift baby high in the air)
Trot Trot Trot
( sit baby on knee like a pony ride and bounce up and down)
Trot trot trot,
Go and never stop
Trot along my little pony,
Where it’s rough and where it’s stony
Go and never stop,
Trot trot trot trot trot.
Five little men in a flying saucer ( this song takes a degree of strength but it is so worth giving it a go , challenge Daddy to do it!)
probably best not to do this one straight after a feed…
Five little men in a flying saucer
Flew round the world one day (lift up baby and circle round)
They looked left and right( look to the left , and to the right)
but they didn’t like the sights ( shake head in ‘no ‘fashion)
So one man flew away
Zoom! ( lift baby high and fast up into the air in a zooming motion)
Four little men etc…
( until the last verse, where the last man flies away , zoom ! )
Bye!!! ( Wave to the space men in the sky)
5 little monkeys jumping on the bed
5 little monkeys jumping on the bed ( hold baby and ‘jump’ them up and down)
One fell off and bumped his head ( touch baby on the head)
Mummy /Daddy called the doctor ( make a phone motion with index and little finger to ear)
and the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed! (wag index finger with a cross face)
(Repeat until all monkeys have fallen off the bed/or your arms are dead/ baby has had enough)
Wind the Bobbin up
Wind the bobbin up ( Roll fists round and around)
Wind the bobbin up
Pull pull,( pull fists apart)
Clap clap clap
Point to the ceiling
Point to the floor
Point to the window
Point to the door
Clap your hands 123
Put them gently on your knee. ( I think the rest is self-explanatory!)
The wheels on the bus go round and round ( roll your fists around each other)
Round and round round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All day long
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish etc.( swish hands from side to side)
The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep etc.( touch baby gently on the nose or have baby do it to you)
The bell on the bus goes ding ding ding ( ring imaginary bell in air)
The babies on the bus go waa waa waa etc ( rub eyes and pretend to cry)
The mummies on the bus go shh shh shh! ( chatter chatter chatter/ I love you ) many variations on this one, feel free to add your own.
The daddies on the bus go too much noise! ( read read read/again make up your own!)
The children on the bus jump up and down( that bouncing thing again!)
The doggies on the bus go woof woof woof
If you want to theme this first party, a great idea would be to have a twinkle twinkle party and use the night sky as a decorating theme. Think large cut out stars and fairy lights and let your imagination go.
If leading your own party still fills you with dread, consider hiring an entertainer to help you, although many entertainers will not work with children younger than 3 . I love working with babies though. For a small cost, ( £95 for a 45 minute session) I can bring along my puppets and lead the singing for you ( Limited to the London area only)