rainbow hot air balloon birthday party

We recently celebrated Hayden’s first birthday, and what better way to do it than with an over-the-top celebration complete with bright colors, fun decor, and cookies and milk for everyone.

rainbow, hot air balloons, first birthday, bright colors

I had waaay too much fun planning this party. Let’s just say I was surrounded in tissue paper, pillow batting, and cookie dough for over a month and by the end of it my husband and daughter (not to mention my dirty house) were feeling kind of neglected. But I’d do it all again…if they’d let me.

first birthday, cookies and milk, clouds, rain, bright colors, rainbow cake

banner, invitation, hot air balloon

Once I decided upon the hot air balloon theme, I searched through Pinterest and blogs to find decor ideas that I could DIY. I loved the ideas of clouds and rain, and since Hayden is a winter baby I thought this would be fitting. The clouds and sparkly raindrops could easily double for a “Shower Her” baby shower, and hot air balloons can be so versatile for different types of events. I spent a lot of time making the decor, and I really wanted it to be usable for decorating the nursery afterwards and possibly reused for future parties.

rainbow hot air balloon, Ikea hack, night light

These hot air balloons are made from an Ikea lamp, and now make sweet night lights in Hayden’s room. I used this great tutorial from Next to Nix, only I substituted a strawberry carton for the teacup that she uses and used modge podge to decorate the balloons with tissue paper circles. The clouds were made from foam blocks (for the larger) and spheres (for the smaller) with batting glued around them. A heart-shaped paper punch made the raindrops pretty simple – just fold in half then glue to thread or fishing line.

One of my favorite parts of the decor was the Happy Birthday sign from Cardboard Sheek; I look forward to bringing it out for each of our family’s birthdays.


And now for the food. A cookies and milk bar is really fun and can be as easy as you want it to be. I used some packaged cookies like Oreo’s and chocolate-dipped Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s, and had my sister-in-law bake some amazing M&M chocolate chip cookies. My gingerbread cookies are a staple around Christmastime, and my other sister-in-law made her delicious sugar cookie recipe.

first birthday, shower, rainbow

There’s not much cuter than milk jars!



hot air balloon, sugar cookies, royal icing

I decorated these cookies with royal icing using the vibrant gel food coloring I had on hand after I finished the cake.

And speaking of cake…

Other than my sweet one year old, this was my favorite part of the party šŸ™‚

rainbow layers

cutting the rainbow cake

first birthday, rainbow layer cake

Making a rainbow cake was a lot of work, but the effort was so worthwhile once we cut into it. I used Whisk Kid’s recipe (but flavored the frosting with vanilla instead of lemon extract). It looked beautiful and tasted so good.

Here’s Hayden’s first taste:





She was pretty serious about her first cake-eating experience!


We love our one year old!

First Birthday, birthday cake, rainbow birthday

A few other details:

Since most of Hayden’s guests were pretty small, we had a ball pit for entertainment. It was a huge hit, and where the birthday girl spent most of the night.

hot air balloons, rainbow, toddler activities




For dinner we offered soups and salad, with Cresent Roll wrapped hot dogs for the kiddos (with plenty of extras for the adults to sneak some).



We also made these rainbow fruit skewers with homemade marshmallow clouds on top…


and yummy Oreo Pops dipped in sprinkles.


We decorated the milk bottles by dipping the rims in white melting chocolate and extra sprinkles.

milk bottles, rainbow oreo pops, rainbow food labels

And of course there were rainbow printables for everything. Only the best for the big one year old!


Rainbow Party cake banner

In my party research I came across signs that give facts about the birthday child, and I thought this would be a really fun tradition to note each year; if not on a sign, then at least in a journal or in the baby book.

what baby likes, first birthday milestones

And finally, cookies served as the party favor.

cookies and milk party favor

Thanks for stopping by! What do you think of the hot air balloon/rainbow/cookies and milk theme? What are some other themes you love for kids’ birthdays? I’ve seen some amazing parties on Hostess with the Mostess, a great resource if you are in the party planning stages.

Vendor Credits:

A big Thank You to my family members and friends who helped by lending me supplies, letting their house be invaded, and helping clean up and wash tons of dishes šŸ™‚


9 thoughts on “rainbow hot air balloon birthday party

  1. Oh, my goodness I love this!!!! What an awesome party! WOW!!! So cute, may have to copy the idea someday for a shower or b-day. Way to go – looks like it was tons of fun! Hayden is adorable too šŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Rainbow Hot Air Balloon 1st Birthday |

  3. What a fun, bright and colourful looking party, especially for a 1st birthday party theme. Loving all the details.

  4. Pingback: Simple Kids Party Decorations Ideas | Orchard Bliss

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