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Host a Birthday Party Like Royalty (On a Budget)!

Oh how quickly one year has gone by! Little Prince George is taking those cute, chubby cheeks into one year in style. Official birthday pictures released by the Palace to mark this milestone show the young prince toddling along at London’s Natural History Museum in the cutest Petit Bateau overalls (we checked online and unfortunately mommies and grandmas…sold out).

Those close to the royal family say the celebration of Prince George’s 1st birthday will be kept private, behind closed doors. We like the idea of an intimate celebration. While it’s easy to get carried away in planning for your child’s first birthday, you don’t have to go into debt and you certainly don’t have to invite the neighbor your sorta know from around the corner.

The staff at Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine has come up with our top tips to make plan a party fit for a future king while staying on budget. Gifts included!


Ways to Plan the Perfect 1st Birthday:First Birthday Decor

1) Guest List: Keep the guest list to close friends and family.

2) Timing: Keep the party short. No more than 2 hours and plan around your child’s nap schedule so your soon-to-be toddler is all smiles and not all tears.

3) DIY Decor, Cake and Food: You can save big here. Our moms say they spent less than $25 on decorations simply by using coupons at their local fabric and craft stores. Pick out a few cute fabric patterns and create table runners and pennants. Bake your own cake. Homemade cake tastes better anyway and won’t you feel better knowing the ingredients inside the cake? Partially hydrogenated oil?? No thanks!

4) Designate a Safe Play Area for Kids: This will keep the kids entertained and happy. A small pool filled with plastic balls is a big hit at Tampa Bay birthday parties.

5) Designate a Responsible Friend to Take Video and Pictures: Remember to enjoy each moment with your little one. You don’t want to be so busy trying to capture the perfect moment that you miss out on creating lifelong memories.


Tampa Bay Parenting’s Top Gift Picks for the 1 Year Old:

1) Books! Local moms love giving and receiving children’s books. Reading to a child will not only create lifelong memories, reading aloud to your child every day will help develop your child’s language and communication skills. Children at this age enjoy board books, touch and feel books, pop up books and even books that make sound. A toddler sized book bag is a great way to present the gift!

2) Blocks, nesting toys, stacking toys, shape sorters. Toddlers love to problem solve, stack, build and knock down their masterpieces. This teaches cause and effect and will help develop hand eye coordination and language skills. Look for wooden products if possible.

3) Toys will wheels. Push/pull toys, wooden trains, foot propelled ride on toys, toy cars/trucks. If it has wheels and can be manipulated, the toddler will love it.

4) Crayons, chalk, markers. Make sure if you buy it, it’s non-toxic, washable and designed for small children. These suggestions will require extremely close adult supervision, but will help teach the toddler about color and develop their fine motor skills. This is the gift that keeps on giving—the child can create masterpieces for framing by grandma and grandpa

5) An experience. Consider purchasing a day pass to The Florida Aquarium: ($18.95 for the parent since children under the age of 2 get in for free), Glazer Children’s Museum ($9.50 for children and $15 for adults) or Lowry Park Zoo ($24.95 for the parent since children under the age of 2 get in for free).

6) Musical Instruments: Start your toddler’s love for music now. A xylophone, drums or tambourine are all great options for little hands.

7) A Savings Bond or deposit in the child’s savings account/college fund. This is a terrific birthday tradition to start now. Just think how much the extra cash will help the child as they go on to college.

8) Donation to the family’s favorite charity in the child’s name. It’s never too early to teach a child about giving back to his or her community. This is also a wonderful tradition to keep year after year.

9) A small back pack. Look for a toddler sized back pack and present it with a book or two inside. The parents will love the idea of the child carrying around their own toys and books—especially when traveling.

10) Subscription to Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine! Help the parents stay in the know about what’s going on for families in Tampa Bay! Sign up at


WATCH our segments on My Fox Tampa Bay:

Perfect 1st Birthday 

Appropriate 1st Birthday Gifts


Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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