We give some great ideas for themes, invitations, games and gifts to help you plan a baby shower to remember.
Baby showers (or babyshowers) are so much fun to throw for a friend or relative. We grown ups get to behave like children, and the soon-to-be-parents get one last chance to be the centre of attention. Showers can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, and no matter how you put it together, friends and family are only too happy to play along.
Traditionally baby showers were held for the mother-to-be, but nowadays they often include both Mum and Dad. The whole point of a shower is to celebrate the impending birth, so it really can be a family affair. Whether it’s a first baby or not, baby showers are a way for family and friends to say “Congratulations” and “We’re here when you need us”.
Before you start planning the shower, check with the parents-to-be if they would like it to be a joint party or just a girly affair. Also check out some appropriate dates before you go ahead and organise it. You can’t very well have a shower without the guest(s) of honour.
Themes for Baby Showers
Just like any party, a theme can help tie a baby shower together and give you some guidelines in making the preparations. When deciding on a theme, you should talk to the parents-to-be first, as they may have some ideas of their own.
Some simple themes to get you started include:
1. Pink or Blue
If the parents already know the sex of the baby and are happy to share the news with everyone, then the colour choice is clear. However, if the sex is not yet known, you can go with both a pink AND blue theme. Deck out the party room with the appropriate coloured balloons and decorations, and have everyone come dressed in the colour to match.
2. Nursery Rhymes
There are plenty of nursery rhymes you can look at for inspiration, or ask the parents-to-be what their favourites were as children. You can decorate the room like ‘nursery rhyme land’ and all the guests can come dressed as a nursery rhyme character.
3. Bath time, Bed time, Play time or Meal time
Pick a time in baby’s day and decorate the room to suit. Guests can wear their PJ’s for bed time, or a bib for meal time.(Not sure what they’ll wear for bath time!) Choose games which fit that time of day.
4. Mummy Shower
Use the baby shower to celebrate the Mum-to-be, and have all the guests come 9 months pregnant (metaphorically of course!). They can stuff their bellies with pillows, and all bring a plate of the food they craved when they were pregnant. If they have never been pregnant, they can just use their imagination.
5. Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Decorate the room like a picnic spot in the forest, with plenty of teddy bears, fake trees, and picnic baskets. Have each guest bring something for the picnic basket which will help the parents-to-be get through the next few months.
Invitations for Baby Showers
Invitations are a great way to set the mood of the party, so if you are choosing to go with a theme, make sure the invitation reflects that and clearly states what the guest needs to do / be / bring to be a part of the theme. If you’re planning just a ‘good old knees up’, there are plenty of fun ways you can invite your guests:
- Write the invitation details on a nappy.
- Re-write a traditional nursery rhyme to include details of the baby shower.
- Cut out teddy bear shapes from coloured card and write the invitation on the back.
- With a permanent marker, write the invitation on a blown up balloon (pink or blue can indicate the theme). Deflate the balloon and post it away.
- Cut your invitation into pieces to make a puzzle, and then send it to your guests in a small baby bottle.
- Search online for free printed invitations – eg. http://www.happygreetings.net/babyshower/
Games at Baby Showers
Baby showers are a great chance to get really silly and re-live your childhood, after all that’s what you’re celebrating. Ask your guests to leave their serious hats at the door, and try out some of these silly games…..just for fun! Are you game?
1. Mummy’s Tummy
Have all the guests cut a piece of string that they think will reach around ‘Mummy’s Tummy’. When everyone has cut their string, have the Mum-to-be wrap a piece of string around her tummy and cut it to size. Whoever’s string is closest in length, wins.
2. Nab the Nappy Pin
Give each a guest a nappy pin to pin to their clothes as they arrive, and instruct them that for the rest of the party they are not allowed to say the word ‘baby’. If anybody hears another guest slip up, they can ‘nab their nappy pin’ and pin it to their own clothes. The person with the most nappy pins at the end of the shower, wins.
3. Baby Bingo
Make up a bingo card for each guest by writing a different type of baby gift in each square. As the parents-to-be unwrap their gifts, guests can cover over the appropriate squares. The first to cover their card yells ‘Baby Bingo’ and wins the game.
4. Name that Tune
Get a CD of children’s nursery rhymes and play the first few seconds of each one. Have the guests write down what they think the songs are, and the one with the most correct answers at the end of the CD wins.
5. Tasty Treats
Line up several different jars of baby food with the labels removed. Guests are allowed to look, touch, smell and taste the food in order to guess what is in each jar. The guest with the most correct answers wins.
6. Nappy Tower
Have all the guests bring a packet of disposable nappies in different sizes. Put the guests into pairs or small groups, and ask them to make the tallest tower they can, using just the nappies. You will be amazed at how creative people get, and the parents get all the nappies to keep at the end.
7. Shape-O Race
Buy a plastic shape posting toy (the ones where babies have to put the right shape into the right hole), and time each guest to post all the pieces. To make it extra fun, you can ask them to do it blindfolded.
Keepsakes from Baby Showers
It’s always nice to create a memento of the day for the parents-to-be to keep with all their other baby memories. These simple-to-organise activities will produce keepsakes to treasure for years to come.
- Buy a packet of oven bake ceramic paints from any good craft store (approx $30 for 6) and a plain white platter for your guests to paint on. Have each guest write a special wish for the baby and sign their name. The platter can then be baked in your kitchen oven and it’s ready to be used for years to come. Imagine using the platter for the child’s birthday cake each year – wishes really will come true.
- Buy (or make) a nicely bound notebook and have each guest write in their best piece of advice. If you like you could make one for the parents and one for the child.
- Give each guest a plain white bib when they arrive, and ask them to decorate it using fabric paints. You can buy fabric paints from any good craft store for approximately $5 a tube.
- Make the baby a blanket or quilt by asking all the guests to bring along a ball of wall or some fabric scraps. Have a mini craft lesson to teach everyone how to make one square at the party, and then sew them all together to create a keepsake.
- This idea may sound morbid, but it truly could save a life. Buy the parents-to-be a first aid kit and book which you can all sign. Have a registered nurse or first aid instructor come to the shower and demonstrate baby CPR. It may be the best gift they ever get.
Food to Serve at Baby Showers
A baby shower is one party where the emphasis isn’t on the food.
By all means do something special like a celebration cake or fortune cookies, but for the most part keep it simple and fuss-free. Asking all the guests to bring a plate will leave you free to organise all the fun stuff.
You’ll find some simple ideas on our Picnic party food page.
Gift ideas for Baby Showers
Buying gifts for a baby shower can be tricky. Parents-to-be are often well prepared by the time the shower is planned, and it’s hard to know what they still need – if anything. It’s a good idea to check with the parents-to-be what would be most useful and go from there. By all means, have guests give any present they choose, but if you’re looking for some direction try one of these gift ideas.
Instead of gifts, ask each guest to ‘pay-to-party’. You can set a fee between $10 – $20 so everyone can afford it, and then put all the money together to buy one big present that is really needed.
2. Voucher Tree
Buy a special plant which the parents can plant in honour of their baby, and have guests bring along vouchers from different baby stores to peg on its branches.
3. Deep-freeze Delights
Have each guest make a family meal which can be put in the freezer for after baby is born. You could also make a calender where each guest writes their name on a specific day, and promises to call around to help out.
4. Clothes Line
Set up a clothes horse in the party room and have each guest bring an item of baby clothing to peg on the line.
5. Book for Baby
Ask each guest to bring along a book for baby to start their library. This is especially good if the parents are super-prepared with everything else.
6. $25 Time
Baby showers can get awkward when some guests spend a fortune on gifts and others are unable to. Suggest to guests that they bring a gift which is worth no more than $25, and put them all in a giant hamper. If any guest wants to spend more, they can always give extra gifts at another time.
Above all, remember to have fun and celebrate!
For more expert ideas on birth, including baby showers, check out our Pregnancy section.