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 Cupcake parties have, for the most part, been replaced by carrot sticks and low-fat ranch dressing.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!
- Free Microsoft Publisher Birthday Card Templates (brighthub.com)
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I have done a variety of things over the years. One of the students favorites . . . At the beginning of the school year I buy a box set of kid birthday cards and fill them out. Then I address the cards and in the place where the stamp will go, put the date of the special day. A few days before the birthday I attach a stamp and send the card off. The students are so excited to receive their own mail.
I’m in a public library and I like to give out stickers. It’s something about a colorful piece of sticky paper that all kids seem to love!
Kristina O. says
I decorate the students chair with crepe paper, but would love to use the chair covers. I also give each student a balloon that I stick a small treat in before I blow it up. They have to sit on it to pop it. We sing a special birthday song too! The kids pick friends to be the candles as we make a pretend cake. The balloon has been the favorite with both first and fifth graders I have taught. I love to embrace their birthdays, in case it doesn’t happen at home.
When the birthday boy/girl enters the classroom in the morning they will find a sticker that says, “Happy Birthday from Ms. C” along with a festive pencil on their desk. I stamp a post-it with a birthday stamp and leave it in their math book or writing book for a surprise through out the day. Lastly, they get a paper birthday crown before they go home and we sing the traditional birthday song and a silly birthday song, give them a fire cracker clap and they tell us how old they are and what they will do for their special day.
Becky LaGrange says
I teach first grade and we create a “STAR” student book for each student on their birthday. Each child takes a page with a big star on it and writes a nice comment about the birthday friend. They also color it and put their name on it. I take all the pages and make it into a book for each friend on their birthday (or close to their birthday). The kids absolutely love getting their books and creating a page for their friends!
Cheryl s says
I do a celebration once a month for all the birtdays that month. We have a party and the parents supply the snack. We sing happy birthday and then the students give compliments to the birthday child! They love to hear nice things about themselves and everyone likes saying nice things to people on their birthday, especially in Kindergarten!
Sarah C says
I think the Birthday Chair pockets are a great idea! Especially at the younger grades. These kids just light up when it is their birthday and I know they would all love to have one of those pockets hanging on their chair! I also think that kids enjoy wearing the birthday crowns that some teachers give out. If anything, it can help boost the students self esteem and make them extremely happy on their special day!!
In the classroom I use the Birthday Crowns. Kindergartners love them. We also sing Happy Birthday. For students whose birthdays are over the summer, I celebrate their 1/2 birthday. School-wide we recognize birthdays over the announcements and students get a birthday pencil and song to by the entire school during that weeks community meeting. During K-1 community meeting we sing a special birthday song and the student gets a sticker.
Kristina O – what kinds of treats do you put in the balloon that wont break when they sit on it? What if they don’t want to pop it, do they just bring it home?
Karla Hufenbach says
Because of time restrictions & rules against more than 2 parties a year, I celebrate birthdays once a month, (Aug/Sept in the beginning and June/July at the end). For all students who have birthdays in a given month I give them a “birthday bag”, take a group photo, and have the class sing “Happy Birthday” to them. I post the photos in the classroom until June & then distribute copies to students. During the summer I fill small gift bags with a Really Good Stuff birthday activity book, happy birthday bookmarks, stickers, erasers and pencils so they’re ready to go in September. It’s a small way to help each student feel special without breaking any school rules.