Birthday Traditions to Start at 1 Years Old

Chances are if you landed here, you’re looking for some fun and easy birthday traditions you can start with your kids from the age of one. Traditions create lasting memories and make each celebration special. Whether they are simple, creative, or little surprises, traditions can add joy to your child’s birthdays for years to come.

As an adult now, I still think back to the traditions we held as a family. Many of them were not elaborate or over-the-top, but they were filled with love and fun. When I think back to these moments in time, it reminds me of the happy times I had with my family.

And that is exactly what I want for my kids and yours. I want them to reminisce on the things that made their childhood so great. Just imagine them finishing this sentence “remember every year on my/our birthday, we did [insert awesome memorable birthday tradition]”.

And then you are flooded with memories as you watch them carry out these traditions with their own families.

Birthday traditions do not have to be elaborate, expensive or over the top – as you will see from the list below.

11 Birthday Traditions to Start at 1 Years Old

Below are eleven fun, simple and memorable birthday traditions that you can implement with your family. And while this article was written to share birthday traditions to start at 1 years old, honestly, you can start these traditions at any age.

Give Money in the Birthday Kids Age 

This birthday tradition is one that my family grew up with. My grandma would carry on this tradition until I was nearly 30 years old! Out of all the gifts I received, this one has just always held a special place in my heart. 

The concept is simple, the money in the card matches their age. So, for a child turning 5, there would be a $5 bill placed in the card. If they were turning 7, $7 would be placed in the card. You get the idea. 

A one year old isn’t really going to understand the concept, but as the child ages they will begin to catch on. 

And, hopefully, it will create fond memories for them, just as it has for me. 

Add an Extra Candle on the Birthday Cake 

Adding an extra candle to the cake is one of the easiest birthday traditions you can start at one years old. 

Growing up, I thought that everybody added an extra candle to their birthday cake. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I realized this wasn’t the norm for all.

There is nothing quite like being told you miscounted the candles on your child’s first birthday.

For our family, the extra candle simply meant good luck when heading into another year of your life. 

A quick Google search shows that some people say the extra candle represents the light of lifeor the person’sbirthday wish”. 

Luckily, this tradition does not require much extra effort, if you already celebrate with cake and candles. 

Instead of adding the number of candles of the child’s age, you will add their age plus one. So, a child turning 4 years old would have 5 total candles on their birthday cake. 

We have also done the number candles in their age and then added an additional candle. For example, if they were turning 4, we would have a number 4 candle and then add one additional candle. 

Example of number candle plus one more

Decorate their Door 

Imagine the excitement a child is going to have, if the first thing they see when they exit their bedroom on their birthday, is a door decorated just for them. 

The door decorations can be as elaborate or simple as you’d like to make it. You could: 

  • Decorate the door with pictures from the past year 
  • Use balloons and garland (we did this one year and our kid loved it!) 
  • Decorate it in a theme of something associated with their age or something they’ve loved in the past year 
  • And countless other ideas! 

When we decorated our kid’s door, I just bought one of the balloon kits and backdrops from Target. I have a picture of it below. As you can see, it wasn’t elaborate, but it brought so much joy to our kiddo! 

Print Out a Photo Album from the Year Before 

If you are looking for memorable birthday traditions to start at 1 years old, it can’t get any better than getting photo albums printed.

This tradition can be time-consuming so I would recommend working on this throughout the year. Or setting aside a few hours on a weekend to complete it. 

In today’s age, we all have tons of pictures just stored on our phone. How often are you getting those pictures printed? 

Printing out a photo album each year is a great way to make sure you are printing your most favorite pictures throughout the years. Technology fails us all the time. It’s always a good idea to get some printed and kept somewhere safe. 

You can use services through places like Shutterfly or Mpix or I’m sure other stores, like Walgreens, even offer this service. 

When I have done this in the past, I have started with a picture from their last birthday and then went up to about 2-weeks before their upcoming birthday. That 2-week period is to allow for processing and shipping time. So, we would have it ready to display on their actual day of birth. 

However, you can always set up your photo albums however you’d like! 

Buy a Special Outfit or Shirt

We love to give our kids something special to wear on their birthday. Whether it be an outfit that goes with the theme of their birthday or a shirt that has their age on it. 

Etsy has adorable handmade shirts and you can find cute clothes everywhere! 

Example of birthday shirts for girl that can be used for birthday traditions to start at 1
Example of birthday shirts for boys on Etsy

Create a Scavenger Hunt

My kids absolutely love scavenger hunts and, admittedly, I love to create them! You could create clues that would lead them to their final gift. Or a hunt where they get a gift at each clue. Or one that leads them to all of their gifts. 

As your children grow throughout the years, you can incorporate clues that require reading or doing math solutions. To add an additional educational element to it. Plus, it makes them feel like geniuses! 

Now, if you start this birthday tradition at one year old, just remember it will get more fun and elaborate as your child grows. 

Make Pancakes in the shape of the Child’s Age 

If your kids enjoy pancakes, why not make them pancakes in the shape of their age? This was something I saw people do on social media and I thought it was such a cute idea. And, very simple and affordable too!

You can free hand the pancakes, which I think turn out adorably. Or, if you want perfect number pancakes, you could try to lay down a mold in the pan to create the number. 

Start a Growth Chart

Measuring your kid’s height is an easy birthday tradition to start at 1 years old. Many children are beginning to stand at this age and it’s a great opportunity to take their first height measurement. 

You can keep their measurements throughout the years on a wall, a growth chart or a transferable board, such as these ones found on Etsy

If your home is not your forever home, I would recommend the board or some other measuring keeper over the wall. 

That way, if you decide to move to a different home, in the future, you won’t have to worry about finding a way to transfer the data. 

Examples of growth charts found on Etsy

Let them Choose a Special Meal

Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or even all three, why not let your birthday boy or girl have control over the meal(s) for the day? 

This is a tradition that both my husband and I experienced as kids. And we carry it over to our family today. 

It doesn’t have to be an expensive day. If you want to allow your kids to eat at a restaurant or have takeout, that’s great. 

However, kids will enjoy just being able to have “control” for the day. So, even if it’s their favorite home cooked meal, they will like it all the same. 

Take Yearly Pictures

This is another one of those super simple birthday traditions to start at 1 years old. If you took monthly pictures of your child throughout the year (you know 1 month, 2 month, 3 month, etc), consider carrying that through the years!

Now, instead of taking monthly pictures, you can take yearly pictures. The pictures can be taken somewhere inside, outside or even at a special location. 

You can take the pictures yourself or, maybe, even hire a professional once a year to take them. 

Write a Look back Letter

On your child’s birthday, consider writing a letter to them about the year that has just passed. 

Our kids grow so much and so fast. Before you know it, they will be eighteen and potentially heading off to college or starting a career. 

These letters could detail important things that occurred throughout the year, milestones they met, funny things they did or said, advice, etc. Once you are done with the letter, place it in an envelope, label it and put it somewhere safe. 

When your child graduates from high school, finishes college, gets married or whatever age you choose, give it to them in a box and explain the contents of it. 

Your child may not fully appreciate the letters when they initially receive them. But, they are something that they can always look back on. As they go through life and create families of their own, they will likely gain more appreciation for the letters. 

Final Thoughts on Birthday Traditions to Start at 1 Years Old

While, I am sure there are so many more birthday traditions you can start with your family, I hope that this list gave you some inspiration. If you have a birthday tradition that you do that you think would be great to add to the list, I would love to hear about it! Please feel free to email me your ideas ?.

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