The rules have changed for celebrating birthdays in the classroom. Cupcake parties have, for the most part, been replaced by carrot sticks and low-fat ranch dressing. As teachers, there is little you can do about changing school district policies, and in some cases, you may not want to bring back those sugar-laden celebrations. How do you make your students’ birthdays special then? We have compiled some great, low-cost ideas for celebrating each child’s birthday. They will not break your budget, or fill your students with sugar, but they will make each child feel special on his birthday.
Make sure the birthday boy stands out on his special day with a birthday hat that is all his own. With the ever-present fear of lice, it is best to stay away from fabric hats and opt for birthday crowns or headband-style birthday hats that students can keep. Even older elementary students will enjoy wearing a visual reminder that today is their special day.
Designate a special chair that students can use on their birthday that is reserved as the “birthday chair.” It can be a painted wooden chair, a rocker that you bring in from home, or a even a comfortable arm chair that you no longer have room for in your house. If you have no extra room in your classroom, turn each student’s desk chair into a special, birthday chair on their big day. Have a chair pocket that indicates who is the Classroom Queen or a Classroom King for each birthday.
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note to a student. Whether you use a pre-made birthday card or create your own, your students will cherish a special note from you. Think about how special your students will feel when they receive a handwritten note or card on their birthday from you. It is an inexpensive, but powerful way to remind children how important they are to you.
Celebrate each student’s birthday by giving them time off. Present each student with a Homework Pass that gives them the opportunity to miss a night of homework. You can also create a simple coupon book for students that includes other things like a free ice cream cone, lunch with you, or an extra prize from the class prize box. The emphasis does not have to be on material things as much as special time with the teacher. You may find that you enjoy the extra time to get to know your students as much as they enjoying spending time with you.
Birthday Lunch Bunch
Each month, invite all of the students who will be celebrating a birthday that month to have lunch with you. You can create a special salad or lunch from home, order a pizza for everyone, or have each student bring their own lunch. Sing a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” and provide students with birthday muffins or cupcakes, if your school allows them. You can either schedule the special birthday lunch at the very beginning of the month, or mid-month. A nice touch is to send out formal invitations to all of the students who will be celebrating that month.
The ideas above are just a few of the ways that you can celebrate student birthdays in your class. How do you honor each student on their special day? Leave a comment below and share your tips and tricks for birthday fun with other teachers!