I have a bias for getting the guests involved as more than spectators at a baby shower. The gift opening is fun because baby paraphernalia is adorable, but I like to give guests speaking parts or activities. Because guests often come from different parts of the lives of parents-to-be and sometimes from the grandparents’ group of friends, it is fun to have a common activity which makes it easy for guests to interact. While you encourage smiles and laughter – make sure you have a plan to head off well-meaning advice or escalating dire delivery stories which will frighten the mother-to-be.
Stock the nursery with classic baby books. Ask each guest to bring a favorite children’s book as a gift. When the gifts are opened, each guest can explain her choice of book.
Get custom bookplates made to begin the baby’s library so that guests can fill in their names so the baby’s library will be full of friends. $5.80 for each sheet of six bookplates when you purchase three sheets.
Colored pens will add to the festivity. Sixty gel pens for $24.99.
Decorate a wardrobe of ‘Onesies’ or bibs for the newborn
Provide at least one ‘onesie’ for every guest. These will serve as a ‘blank canvas’ for your guests to personalize for the baby.
A ‘onesie’ is the little t-shirt which snaps under the diaper. Babies spend most of the first year in a onesie – with or without another layer. These are the ‘go-to’ practical infant fashion necessity. Ever wonder why the neckline has overlapping open seams? Once soiled, the suit can be peeled down over the shoulders and hips and not pulled over that sweet little head.
Decorating ‘Onesies’ will bring out the inner Dr. Zeuss in your guests – and sometimes Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter. Get some fabric markers and some stencils. People can make cute little designs for the baby – or send messages.
Plain kimono shirts are easy for the parents of newborns because they snap across the stomach instead of pulling over the newborn’s head. There are other with long sleeves. New moms and infants find these ‘Kimono-style’ tees easy to manage. A five pack is $20.00.These Gerber short sleeve onesies come in five packs. At one party, guests singed their names on the ‘bums’ of the onesies. Get a variety of sizes beginning at $9.82.
We used these Tulip fine and brush tip fabric markers and were happy with the results. $17.63 for 25 markers.
These Sharpie Fine tipped permanent markers come in assorted colors. $12 for the pack of 24.
You can also ask guests to decorate bibs. This set of 10 bibs is $28.56. Buy them together with permanent fabric markers for $28.37. Add stencils to help out your guests who failed studio art in high school. From $3.29
Iron on transfers are another way to make decorating easy. $10 for each set of ten. You provide the iron and ironing board.
Inspire your guests to make ‘wishes’ for the newborn
This activity takes many forms and you can personalize it to the parents-to-be. The general idea is that you ask guests to make ‘wishes’ for the newborn. The wishes will be a treasure for the new parents. You can go around the room and ask guests to read their favorite wish. To reduce stress on your guests, give them a printed sheet of paper with the beginnings of wishes and see where they go. A typical answer would be, “I hope that you get…. your father’s eyes”.
My daughter Whitney made this frame as a shower decoration and a great way to collect wishes from guests. She bought a simple white picture frame and strung five pieces of twine across it. Ribbon would work just as well. It might decorate a nursery wall.
Depending on your decorating plan – provide cute cards, attractive pieces of paper or bright index cards for your guests to write on. Ask them to write down their favorite lullaby or children’s book.
Ask guests to share advice to the baby for when the child is a specific age. It is fun to see what age guests choose to offer advice and what they say. For instance,“Age 7, don’t believe what they say about chocolate – follow your instincts.”
Gold shimmer twine. 15 Yards for $3.50.
Heart shaped cards come in seven colors. 3.5” x 4.7/8”. 20 cards for $6.25
Bracket cards made from paper bag material. 3 ¾” x 2 3/8”. 10 cards for $4.95. Other colors available.
These circle cards come in 23 colors including some with shimmer. 5 1/2” diameter. $20 cards for 6.25.
Get twine and 1-inch clothespins for $8.03.
Baby animal note card and envelope set. 12 for $12.95
After the shower, collect the ideas and advice from guests and slip them into an album for the new parents.
These small leather albums can be personalized and come with refillable pages with pockets to hold 4”x6” cards. Beginning at $64
Guess the sex of the baby and vote on what the newborn might look like.
Get baby pictures from both the prospective mother and father. You can go online to Morphthing and ‘morph’ the two photos together to produce a baby picture with elements of each parent. Create a boy and a girl.
Blow the photos up and put them on poster board. Have each guest ‘guess’ by signing his/her name under the boy photo or the girl photo.
Quiet the downers. Be prepared to head off stories of terrible deliveries. These are not helpful to prospective parents.
Have some cute cards with envelopes and pens at the ready and encourage guests to write down their delivery sagas if they feel the need to share them.