A new spin on birthday celebrations!

The Question: 

 I would like to change how I celebrate birthdays in my classroom. Any great ideas?

The Answers:

Kathy Whitehall

 I would, too — I’m thinking we should make a birthday memory book with everybody contributing a drawing of the birthday child — and writing positive comments as we’re able.

Nikki Snow Wiley

In addition to the traditional song, birthday pencil and certificate we did a birthday interview. During the summer I prepared a birthday interview paper and put them in order by birthday. On the day we celebrated the birthday the student got to sit on the teacher chair and help us learn more about him or her. She or he would finish the sentences: My birthday is on…, My favorite color is…, I like to eat…, My favorite thing to do at school is…, My favorite thing to do at home is…

Then the birthday boy or girl got to call on 3 people to give compliments. “Megan…. (is nice, helpful, plays with me, shares her crayons with me, etc). I do the writing but have students help me sound out the words – by the end of the year they know many of the words. They loved doing this and it was a great way to celebrate all of the students. (summer birthdays were done either on their half birthday or at the end of the year)

Anna Happy Michel

We have a V.I.P. board & I try to base V.I.P weeks around B-days if the child celebrates holidays. We do the interview paper like Nikki also & invite parents to come join in sharing the V.I.P board that includes the interview & some photos. I take a picture of them with a crown on with their family member and the interview paper & photo go into a memory book for the end of the year. : )

Lisa Harder Michalik

With so many allergies and/or children unable to participate in b-day treats, prepare a list of suggestions of gifts (i.e., games, craft supplies, etc) that can be purchased for the classroom. Children would not be required to bring something in, but those who wish to would wrap the gift and open it in front of their classmates. Then the whole class has something to enjoy!

Wendy Rader Lima

I have a birthday gift bag with some birthday books in it. The child whose birthday it is gets to pick out one of the books to have me read to the class. Usually a couple of the books end up becoming class favorites and will get picked often.

Ang Testory

I have my class make a napkin book for the birthday person. Each person draws a picture for the birthday person on a 5×5 piece of white copy paper. Place all the completed pages inside a birthday napkin and staple. The napkin acts as a book cover

Jennifer Brown Kinney

I have a collection of stories about birthdays. In addition to the usual birthday crown and pencil, we always read a birthday story. I also bought an unfinished child size chair. I painted it bright yellow and covered it with birthday stickers. The birthday child gets this chair all day!

Jennifer Brown Kinney

I have a collection of stories about birthdays. In addition to the usual birthday crown and pencil, we always read a birthday story. I also bought an unfinished child size chair. I painted it bright yellow and covered it with birthday stickers. The birthday child gets this chair all day!

Diane DiCarlo Glatts

 I make birthday balloons from construction paper and write the kid’s names and b-days on them. They are on a wall and when it is a child’s b-day we take it down and everyone signs the back. The b-day child takes it home. In addition to the crown, pencil and sticker I have a box covered in b-day paper and inside are books. The b-day child gets to pick a book as a gift.

Denice Christiansen

We make a “cake” in my room.

The birthday child stands in the middle, then chooses 6 “candles” (if that’s how old they are turning.) The candles stand in a circle around the birthday person with their hands above their head like a flame.

The rest of the class then becomes the cake.We form a circle around the candles and hold hands. We sing happy birthday then the birthday child blows out the candles.

Jennifer McBurnett

I took this idea from a teacher in my building… the parents buy a book for our classroom (maybe a child’s favorite). They wrap it and send it to school. The child gets to open it, I write in it and we read it to the class. We then add it to the class library. Super way to add books to your library!

Tina Rapp Adamson

 I too, do the birthday book, but I also take a photo of the child, holding the book, wearing their crown, and tape it into the book with their name and birthday in it – I have had so many siblings look for their brother’s and sister’s books, it’s wonderful!

Amy Kunkel Altenburg

 I have a Birthday Bag–a cloth bag decorated with happy birthday, balloons, etc. Inside are my collection of birthday books that the child will read with their family. The birthday class book is also in the bag, they write about how they celebrated their birthday, draw a picture, and I add a photo from their day and I read it to the class the next day.

Alicia Garate-Golembiewski

 I have made giant birthday cards for 30 years. Each child signs the card. I have heard stories from past students who find those cards years later in their closets!

Sarah Lee

Birthday celebrations are a big deal in my school. I did seasonal birthday celebrations, with parents invited. The parents wrote down a memory for each year: age 1 to age 5/6, which they brought to the celebration. Everyone sat in a circle and I tell a birthday story (something similar to Are You My Mother). We then light a candle for each year (battery tea lights work well) and then each parent tells their memory of their child for that year. We end with our birthday song and cake for snack. Each child also gets a gold paper crown and a birthday book-each child draws a picture and mine is the cover.

Julie Prather Eikenbary

I give the birthday student a “lucky” penny and a pencil. We all sing “Happy Birthday” at calendar time.

Cindy Tuisku

A friend of mine got this idea at a class she took this summer– a birthday cape! I’m thinking I might make one. They have really great Happy Birthday fabric at JoAnnes.

Anne McArdle Gregory

 A birthday cape! How cute!!!!

Sandy Smith Prince

 I am going to try something new this year. I have downloaded the Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and Cake song. I am going to teach the dance that goes with the song to my students. When it is someone’s birthday, we will stand up and dance!!

Cindy Tuisku

I give the kids gold or silver bulletin board border and some sticky “jewels” to design their own crown. (age=# of jewels) We sing, choose a gift from the treasure box and then the child decides if s/he wants 6 hugs, 6 spankings (with a light-up clapper thing) or 6 “lifts on the chair”. Usually they choose lifts and a parent and I lift them up as high as we can in the teacher’s chair. This year a friend gave me the idea to add a birthday cape that the kids wear all day, and I love it. She found the perfect Happy Birthday fabric at Joanne’s. I made 2, as I have 2 sets of twins and 2 other kids who share a birthday. Treats are shared. Pretty traditional, with just a couple of twists.

Lynne Murray Smith 

This year I want to use some version of the Montessori celebration. I am not in a Montessori school but I have seen it. You place a sun in the center of a circle…usually with a candle on it, around the sun you place 12 sticks or cards representing the months. The birthday child holds a small globe and circles the sun the appropriate number of times. Students can count the years…and possibly eventually say the months as the child circles.

Cameron Little 

I invite the parents to send a wrapped book that the child opens. This is optional. The book can then be “donated” to our classroom library or to the school library. I give the child a birthday crown, a birthday sticker and a Ding Dong cupcake. I light the candle and hold the cupcake as we sing to the child. The child also gets to pick a little prize out of a special birthday bag that I have. And finally, I send home some books about birthdays (Arthur etc.) and a journal and the child journals with their parent about their special day. They then bring it back to school, along with the books and share it with the class.

Melissa Boyles 

On a birthday day, our morning job is to create a page in a book for the birthday boy or girl. We have a template with Happy Birthday _______ at the top, then 3 animals holding up a box that says “My wish for you is” and we have them write or color a “present” inside the box. At the bottom it says Love, ______________. The birthday child’s page is a picture of a large ice cream sundae and each scoop has a question like favorite food, best gift ever, favorite game, birthday wish. On the dish is room for their name and what birthday it is for them. Then we laminate a simple cover and bind the book on our school machine. The students love them and they don’t take long to make, especially after the first few. At the end of the school year we assign a day to each of the summer birthdays and they get a book as well.

Karen Zbik Long 

Here is my alternative to a birthday cape, since I’m not a talented-enough sewer to tackle that!

Also, I have a page the has a sentence frame of the Happy Birthday song. The child writes his/her name and then I paste in a picture of him/her with a crown and their little ‘gifts’ from me; These go into a binder-style ‘book’ and become our “Happy Birthday’ book that stays in our class-made book basket.

Renetta Kaye

Karen—love the chair cover! GREAT idea! and they look perfect.

Ashley Love 

We make a birthday book for each child. On top of the each page it says ________’s birthday wish for you. Each student fills in their name and then draws a birthday wish. I make a cover with balloons, cake, etc and bind it together with staples. I have some kids in sixth grade who come back and say they still have their birthday book.

Mary Hewitt

I love these birthday book ideas. Does anybody have pictures they post some place I can see? My kids loving getting our books at the end of the yaer. I ordered a birthday chair cover this summer and I also like the idea of a little cake for birthday person!

Karen Crawford 

We make the birthday book (The kids decorate the cover & inside they have a cartificate, dot-to-dot, their picture in the bitrthday hat with the birthday happy doll, & the kids pages) They wear a hat I purchased online, sit on a star and we sing a couple of songs to the birthday child. At the end of the day they take home the birthday “take-home-tote’ that has 3 birthday books, the book the class made, a journal, & the birthday happy doll. The parents take pictures & write in the journal and share their birthday night with the class.

Mary Beth Cavanaugh Seeley 

We act out ” Happy Birthday Moon” by Frank Ash with the birthday person being the bear. Other kids are the moon, tree, wind and the rest of the class are the mountains and moon echo.

Laurie Leahy 

I LOVE our b’day celebrations! Here’s what we do: Before singing “H.B.to Y.” we go around our circle (sitting in a circle is important to this, so everyone can see everyone) and each child (and teacher) says something special to the b’day person– such as, “Ryan, you always play with me at recess” or “Mariana, you are a really good singer.” After we”ve gone around the whole circle, we pretend-toss our special words to the b’day person– kind of like blowing a kiss– and the b’day person catches them and puts them in their heart to keep forever. Then we go to eat the b’day treat the person has brought. Like everything else in kindergarten, you need to coach the kids at first about what kind of things to say– not focusing on superficials like clothing, but really thinking of something important about that person. I like the community-building aspects of this and it honors non-material gifts.
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One thought on “A new spin on birthday celebrations!

  1. After we sing happy birthday to the birthday child, I have kids line up in the class to either give the birthday child a hug or a handshake. This makes the child feel REALLY special!

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