We’re #1! Foam finger-themed first birthday party

A colorful, spirited theme for a one-year-old’s party.

R turns three this month, which is horribly sad because WHERE DID THE TIME GO but also very exciting because I love to throw birthday parties. I know I only have so much time before she starts to form her own opinions and want something awful like a Sophia the First princess party, so I’ve made sure to really enjoy myself putting together fun themes that like while I still can.

I knew from the moment I started thinking about her first birthday (so, almost three years ago…) that I wanted to do a foam finger/team spirit “We’re #1!” theme. At least partly because the idea of a toddler running around with a giant foam finger on her hand was hilarious.

Thus began my search for the most affordable foam fingers in America. (Scroll down this Pinterest board to review my research.) You can, in case you were wondering, order custom foam fingers for party invitations, but that was a step further than I was willing to go. Although it’s not like I really held back otherwise.

Related: If anyone needs four dozen oversized foam fingers, that’s about how many I still have in my garage.

Unsurprisingly, I ended up leaning on Oriental Trading to source most of the materials. Their team spirit section made it easy to shop by color. Since some of the products I looked at came in four-color multipacks, I decided to expand my planned two-color palette to red, yellow, green and blue so I could shop as efficiently as possible.

The color scheme extended to the snacks as well. I made four colors of Jell-O popcorn and mixed them together in mini popcorn boxes personalized with custom stickers. (More on those below.)

I ordered a case of cotton candy from Amazon (which is a thing you can do in this amazing future in which we live; thank you, Internet!) and portioned it in plain clear cello bags personalized with the same DIY stickers.

The fruit kebabs were primarily executed by my mother and our wonderful friend Selena, who showed up first and were rewarded by being put to work. The mini foam fingers are pencil toppers. We skewered the fruit (in red, yellow, green and blue, naturally) and stood the skewers up in the end of the watermelon.

I mixed up a plain yellow cake, divided the batter into four bowls, and dyed them red, yellow, blue and green, then poured them all into one sheet cake pan to create a multicolored marble cake. I froze the cake overnight, then freehand cut it into the foam finger shape, which was probably more stressful than it needed to be, but for whatever reason, cakes stress me out.

You’ll notice there’s no thumb on the cake. That was where I drew my line in the sanity sand. No one complained.

The little square cake on the side was for R. There’s not very much icing on it. I didn’t want to begrudge her grandparents the cake smashing photo I knew they were hoping for, but on the other hand, I didn’t really want my one-year-old amped up on sugar, and I’m not into cake-smashing photos myself. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. She burst into tears when we put the cake down in front of her and she realized everyone was staring at her, and I don’t think she even ate a single entire bite.

About those stickers.

Let’s be very clear that I’m not a designer. But I have just enough digital design ability to be dangerous, and this seemed like the time to try to use it. (I wasn’t doing anything besides working full-time at a very demanding job and taking care of an infant, so why not?) I downloaded this image and customized it using Gimp, a free image editor. The font is Cooper Black. For the invitation, I (crudely; I’m profoundly untrained) knocked out an image of R, added the foam finger and set them both against a heavily-filtered image of Fenway Park. (My father-in-law is from Boston and the Red Sox are his religion.)

Foam finger birthday

Then for the popcorn boxes and party bags, I printed the red finger out on full-page label sheets and cut them out by hand. I have never wanted a Silhouette so badly. I also printed out an iron-on and made an “I’m #1!” onesie for R; since it doesn’t have her name on it, I saved it so Baby Brother can wear it when he turns one as well.


And because I know you were wondering: Yes, a one-year-old wearing a giant foam finger is just as awesome as I thought it would be.

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