This is the last time I’ll throw a First Birthday Party, and I knew what theme I wanted for Veronika almost from the moment of her birth. With big apple cheeks that were a constant topic of conversation all year, she was instantly the “apple of our eye”. The theme also fits perfectly with my autumn baby’s birth date, with apples and apple picking in the air!
It was so fun to play around with the theme for a first birthday party. Rather than inviting baby friends, it’s nice to keep this celebration partially about the parents, inviting those relatives and close friends who have helped you come through.
A beautiful Apple of Our Eye template (from Etsy) was personalized for the event to set the stage.
Next up were the outfits, brand new ones for the family!
Now it was time to set up Veronika’s orchard! I filled bushels from the craft store (Michaels) with fake apples. Some were set up inside, and another bushels greeted guests next to a cheery chalkboard sign.
Inside, the apple colors continued with a red-checked tablecloth, burlap napkins, and red and white balloons.
I strung red pom pom garlands and glittering red dot streamers (both Party City), and hung up folding red fans which quickly morphed into giant apples thanks to a pipe cleaner stem and a construction paper leaf.
I also strung a banner made of photos adhered to red construction paper (with Mod Podge), featuring one image for each month of her life.
A birthday slate with an apple background was a great centerpiece for the food table.
We kept the food to light nibbles for this mid-afternoon gathering. Apples were everywhere, including a kid-friendly serve-yourself station of applesauce pouches, apple cereal bars, and apple juice.
Add Babybell cheeses (round like red apples!), caramel popcorn, a scattering of apple lollipops, and a few platters of antipasti for the grown-ups.
On tap: local cider for the kids, and apple sodas and hard cider for the grownups.
Kids at the party ranged in age from 14 years down to 3 months, so we need a variety of activities!
Activity 1: Apple checkers
Cut a slab of wood (from Home Depot) into a 20 x 20 inch square. Divide into 8 squares per side, each measuring 2.5 inches, and paint in alternating squares of green and red.
Add green apples for one opponent and red apples for the other and place the board atop hay bales (Michaels craft stores).
A framed image of the rules served as a quick reminder for anyone who needed it!
Don’t be surprised if the kids make up their own rules or just play around with the apples, though… And that’s just fine!
Activity 2: Apple stamping
Set out pie tins, various paint colors, and apples cut in half. Poke a fork firmly into each apple.
Show kids how to press the cut apples into the paint of their choice and then apply to a blank tote bag. These make great keepsakes to take home; in fact adults might want to stamp one, too!
Activity 3: Apple faces
This was the biggest hit with younger children at the party. Cut apples into 1/4-inch thick slices and brush with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Set out cups with nut butter for “glue” and decorations like raisins, cashews, chocolate chips, and o-shaped cereal. Now each child can make an adorable little face on their apple slice.
The kids will love eating their creations!
Aside from that, the affair was very laid-back and unstructured. Then came the big moment for her cake. We served Happy Birthday Vanilla Cake with Cider Glaze. Add cider doughnuts for older guests and everyone ends on a sweet note.
Again accounting for the big age-range in guests, we sent kids home from the party with a simple goodie bag: fall-themed stickers and apple lollipops.
Veronika, you are the apple of our eye!