Cake Smash  & Sensory Play

The first birthday cake smash photo session has become a popular way to celebrate a baby’s milestone and capture precious memories. And why not? It’s a fun and creative way to commemorate the little one’s first year of life and their transition from babyhood to toddlerhood. The cake smash photo session is a chance for parents to indulge their baby in a sweet treat and let them go wild, creating a mess while capturing all that natural curiosity in the moment on camera.


One of the best ways to make the cake smash photo session an engaging and enjoyable experience for the baby is by incorporating sensory play. Sensory play is a type of play that stimulates a child’s senses – touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing – and encourages exploration and discovery. By adding sensory elements to the cake smash, parents can create a natural and playful environment that allows their baby to engage and enjoy the experience.


Here are some examples I use to incorporate sensory play into a first birthday cake smash photo session:



1. Texture – Choose a cake with different textures such as smooth frosting, crunchy sprinkles, and soft cake. We allow your baby to touch and explore the different textures before they start smashing the cake. Buttercream, dairy cream, jam, jelly & ganache are great options for cake toppings because they are easily pliable & make a soft mess. We then pop them in a warm tub of water & let them splash.


2. Color – Selecting a cake with bright and vibrant colors that will capture the baby’s attention. We use colorful balloons, streamers, or decorations around the cake to create an exciting backdrop. More often than not, your child will be drawn to play with the balloons & we encourage them to touch, engage & explore. I try to create a stimulating set up that allows for lots of movement & interraction.


3. Smell – The smell of fresh food! Babies have a keen sense of smell, and a pleasant scent can make the experience even more enjoyable. If your baby loves a certain food or food smell, I’d even encourage you to consider that as a food option instead of cake!


4. Sound – I often play fun and upbeat kids music to create a festive atmosphere. Your baby will be more engaged and energized when there is music playing. We also use songs they know & love to capture their attention & encourage them to join in and dance.


5. Taste – Of course! Letting your baby taste the frosting and cake throughout the smashing of it. This will allow them to experience the flavors and textures of the cake and may encourage them to interact with it more.



By incorporating sensory play into your cake smash photo session, we can capture natural and authentic moments of engagement and joy. Your baby will be fully immersed in the experience, and the resulting photos will reflect their curiosity and excitement. It’s also a messy, joyful session for you as parents to watch on & facilitate in.


It’s important to remember that the cake smash photo session is not about creating the perfect picture or having a perfectly clean baby. It’s about capturing a special moment in time and celebrating the baby’s first year of life. So, don’t stress about the mess and enjoy the experience with your little one.


A first birthday cake smash photo session should be a fun and creative way to celebrate a baby’s milestone and capture precious memories. Incorporating sensory play into the session can create a natural and engaging environment that allows the baby to explore and enjoy the experience fully. Remember to relax, have fun, and capture the moment, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.





Family photography in Whyalla, South Australia. In home newborn, baby, child, and family photographer. Available for sessions in South Australia. Servicing Whyalla and surrounding regions. Specialising in lifestyle family photography, family documentary photography, birth + newborn photography, in home portraits, sunset, studio or location, family portrait photography and storytelling photography. Select commercial photography including head shots, brand + product photography for businesses in the Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, Clare Valley, Barossa & Adelaide regions (and beyond). Fully insured and registered.

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© 2024 Earthwalk Photography | | Site created by Tickled Ink & Codemash