Few things are as exciting to a parent as their little one’s first birthday. We asked singer-songwriter and actress Katharine McPhee Foster all about her son’s safari-themed first birthday to get some ideas and advice. (BTW, if you’re wondering where she got her roar-some invitation from, yep, it’s an Evite!)
What's the best day and time for this type of party?
I definitely think weekends are most convenient for baby/kid parties (and parents are always looking for something to fill their kids’ day on here weekend). For us, the best time was 11:30 to 1:30. With little ones, it’s best to start wherever you think it's best for your son or daughter's wake window. Most likely, it won’t be too different from that of some of the other little ones attending the party. The other kids usually have a more flexible schedule.
Any food recommendations (for kids and adults)?
So, I got food from my best friend's restaurant (Sweetsalt) and I know the menu well—I did 2 salads, one vegan and one regular, and an array of 3 different sandwiches. For the kids, I did grilled cheeses (didn’t matter if it didn’t stay hot), P&J sandwiches and fruit salad. Then, I had lots of juice boxes (Honest Kids brand) and snacky-type things like Goldfish crackers lying around.
Which activities for the kids (and siblings/older kids if there were any) did you opt for?
Target is a lifesaver for a baby's 1st party! The night before Rennie’s bday, I was walking the aisles, and I found these great wooden tiger heads (the party was animal safari-themed). I bought a bunch of them and some paint and brushes for the kids to paint/decorate during the party. And it was a big hit!
The bigger hit of the day was the soft play area I had. I hired a company called MESH kids co. It was absolutely perfect. It was an enclosed area where the kids could be observed, watched and safe at the same time. The older kids loved it too because there was a ball pit. What we all loved the most is it kept the older kids from running all over the room and kept some semblance of peace.
Where did you go for takeaways/party favors?
I went to Tom's Toys in Beverly Hills. Tons of great silly little trinkets for the kiddos at a great price. You could find similar things on Amazon to fill a little baggy. It doesn’t take much to get the kids excited.
Were there any items in particular from Amazon that worked well with your theme?
Jungle Animal Headband: I gave these out to the kids and adults to wear when they arrived.
Jungle Temporary Tattoos: I had these alongside the painting station with the tigers’ heads for kids (and adults!) to wear. Who doesn’t love a cute animal tattoo?
Inflatable Safari Animals: Sometimes you just need some cheap blow-up characters to fill the space. They did the trick.
Your guest list—did you go big or small?
I personally went medium size. But it really depends on how much space you have to host. We used a communal space in our condo building, and we had about 35 people. For me, that was more than enough and felt like the right amount. More than that would have been overwhelming.
What are your thoughts on gifts for this age?
I said no gifts for Rennie’s birthday lol! But not many people listened! I just really don’t have much space for anything in our condo and he’s so little and is mostly obsessed with opening and closing doors. I just don’t think the little ones need much.
When it came to deciding on the theme, why did you choose safari?
Safari was really a decision based on what my hosting space looked like. It had a lot of earth tones to the space, so I just thought it would look nicer. And what kid doesn’t look cute next to a bunch of stuffed animals?
What was something you learned from throwing this birthday that you will apply in the future?
Ask for help! I sort of tried to do all of it on my own 'til the last second. Thankfully, I have a great mom and great friends that asked on the day if they could come early and help, and I’m glad they just showed up. Because there would have been no way I could’ve gotten everything done in time for the party.
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