Let's Celebrate Birthdays!

  • When you're 5-year's old that's something to celebrate.
  • When you're little you can't wait to be the next age: "I'm almost 5!" How exciting is that? It's so great to be young you even celebrate the getting to the next level. "I'm 6 and 1/2" Later you pick up speed. "I'm almost 7!"
  •  So in young fives we celebrate life with exuberance and especially birthdays.

  • Here's what I do:
  • I cut out a paper balloon and tie a curling ribbon on the end and put that on the child's locker. Happy_Birthday
  • I buy happy birthday paper plates at the Dollar Store and write their name on one and put that on the locker too. I think it's fun decorating  lockers. I think it must come from when I was a pom pom girl and we used to decorate the football team's lockers before a big game. The 1st thing the birthday boy or girl sees is their locker and right away they feel special and all smiles and that makes me feel good too.
  • I also have one of those mini Happy Birthday "Yard Banners" and whenever it's someone's birthday I hang it outside our door on the dowel. Just get two peel and stick hooks, put them twelve inches apart, stick them to the wall, and lay a dowel on top of them. Have a "Welcome to school" banner hanging on it for the rest of the time, and then change it when it's someone's birthday. I like to change it monthly for the seasons as well. It's a cute hallway decoration.
  •  I announce to the rest of the children that it is Kelli's birthday and she will be the Special Helper of the day, so she is the Line Leader etc. This is a coveted position and I make sure everyone gets a turrn.

Birthday Crowns:

I used to buy birthday crowns 'til they went up to almost $10. Now I use birthday bulletin board border and put a star, or cake, or whatever suits my fancy, die cut in the middle with the child's name on it. TIP: When you're putting crowns on children, make sure the staples are on the OUTSIDE so that you do not scratch their foreheads or get their hair caught in them.

  • The Dollar Store currently has visors 3 in a pack for $1. They would be a nice substitute for a birthday crown. I 'm thinking of simply writing the child's name on the visor, and giving them a little baggie filled with foam peel and stick stickers for them to decorate it with. Just for the day, I'd put an "It's my birthday sticker on it.
  • Oriental Trading also sells visors. It's one of my favorite places to buy little kids trinkets. And Hobby Lobby usually has them on sale in August 60% off because they stocked them for their Vacation Bible School crafts.
  • You can also make visors out of paper plates. They are fun to make to wear on fieldtrips. visors
  • Cut the plates in half, punch a hole in either end, let the children decortate them, then tie them on with a piece of yarn.
  • Birthday ones could be extra special with their name written in glitter glue.

Birthday Gift and Card:

Because this is my 11th year of teaching Y5's and buying books is my nemesis, I have a nice selection of Scholastic Bonus Books that I give to my students as a birthday gift.

  • I also go to the Scholastic 50% off teacher book sale that they run several times a year. Check out their site periodically and make it a point to go. I know they always run one in December. Just sign up for their newsletter and you should be on the list. This is how I really added to my personal library.
  • I run off labels that say Happy Birthday from Mrs. Henderson that I stick on the front of the book so that parents know that it's from me, + I write a  short note in the inside cover with the date.
  • I also have a basket of birthday books that I let the birthday child pick from for one of our stories we'll read during Story Time.
  • I buy birthday cards at the Dollar Store and sit one night during the summer to sign, stuff stickers and seal all of those.
  • I buy birthday treat bags at the Dollar Store and fill them with a McDonald toy, pencil, and lollipop.
  • On the first day of school I have everyone sign the MASTER birthday card and then I run it off, so that I have a card that all of their friends signed that I tuck in the book along with my card and a line tracing birthday cake. Click on the links for copies. 
  • I also include a birthday certificate.
  • I know this might sound like "over kill" to many of you, but I've been called "over the top" and an  "over achiever" all my life. My own kids tell me that my 50% is often everyone elses 100%. They should know. They often helped me stuff-stuff! So do what you want. I figure the little effort I put in is worth it when I see my students like up like a Christmas tree for something as simple as these things.

Keeping it organized:

  • I keep all the birthday stuff in my 2-drawer- birthday filing cabinet. The treat bags I keep in a cute childish birthday bag. 
  • In the past I've done other things. When I taught first grade I decorated a sturdy box with balloon birthday wrapping paper. I wrapped the cover separately. I kept all kinds of treasures inside. When it was your birthday, besides the book, you got to choose a treasure from the birthday box as well. If you wanted you could make candy treat bags and simply keep them in there and have them reach in and take one, then store the box else where. Just adds to the fun.
  • Everyone's name and birth date is on my  birthday poster. See pix below.

The calendar:

  • On our calendar I put a happy birthday cupcake in the number pocket to remind me that we are celebrating a birthday that day.
  • This year I'm going to copy an idea that I just love that I found online. This teacher has a little decorated bag for each month. In the bag she has a tongue depressor with the child's name on it. At the beginning of the month, she takes the bag down and takes the sticks out and puts them in the appropriate numbered pocket on the calendar.  Isn't that a terrific idea? I can't have my Y5's put their sticks in the pocket because we don't meet every day, so I'll be putting their stick in the day that we'll be celebrating their birthday, but I LOVE this idea.
  • Click here to go to her nice site to see this cute idea. Scroll down 'til you come to birthday bags.  
  • I went looking for bags today and I ended up at Hobby Lobby. They have white and brown small bags that are 7 1/2 by 4  1/2 . They are 3 for a $1. But no tiny ones with handles.
  • You could still display them across the board, but they would take up quite a bit of  room. Which got me thinking that you could simply display the current month. Then I thought, what would be even less work, would be to have one birthday bag hanging on a thumb tack on your calendar board. Have that be "This Month's Birthday Candles."
  • Put the Popsicle sticks in the bag for just the current month.
  • I'm going to call them "candles."
  • Write each student's name on one with their birth date on it.
  • b I've made a PDF for you in case you want to make your own bag click here.
  • I drew a little flame at the top so it would look like a candle. When I got the yellow done, I couldn't really see it, so I outlined it with orange, and then I thought this sort of looks like a finger nail and I'm not sure I like it,  so you decide what you want to do.
  • I plan on leaving the candles in the little bag, hanging on the calendar, and then with great ceremony, take them out and have the children identify whose names are on the "candles".
  • Then, we'll put them in the calendar pockets on the days that we'll be celebrating.
  • Once that day arrives, I'll give the child their candle to use as a bookmark, with a reminder never to play with matches or candles.
  • Or if you still really like displaying all the little bags, Hobby Lobby does sell a pack of 25 miniature brown bags that don't have any handles for $2.99. Go online and see if they have a 40% off one item coupon for the week in their ad. Just click the link. 
  • Coloring pages:

  • For some cute birthday coloring pix  click on the link.
  • You can also use any coloring pages to make your own cards for children to sign.
  • TIP: I buy coloring books and turn them into  number and ABC dot-to-dots by simply cutting 1/ 2 of the picture off and replacing it with numbered dots or the alphabet. If I need a few more lines or details, I put the coloring page under my master and trace them on.

  • Making them feel special:

  • My students come into the classroom and we sit on our Circle of Friends carpet and our Birthday Child gets to sit in the Birthday Chair. Its an antique piano chair that I painted and stenciled.
  • I put on their crown. And paste a birthday sticker to their shirt.
  • My favortie place to buy stickers is Really Good Stuff. Click on the link to check out their site. Their quality is awesome and their prices are great. Here's a pix of the adorable dinosaur birthday stickers. stickers

  • Then, Birthday Bear gives them a "sandwich hug". (The bear is between me and the child.) They think that's neat.
  • I plug the birthday present light in, and birthday bear sits by it through out the day.
  • I give the child their birthday treats, they sit in the birthday chair and we sign happy birthday to them. Happy (You make your hand scoop towards you twice) Birth (Hold your left arm out straight and slide your right hand under it, like it's going down a slide), Day (Put your left arm across your chest, rest your right elbow on your finger tips with your index finger of your right hand pointing upward, have your right arm fall down on top of your left. The sun is going down, signalling the end of the day.)
  • I like to teach my students sign language and they LOVE learning it. I will have a separate article on this later.
  • We also say happy birthday to them in Spanish. Feliz cumpleaños! I teach a little Spanish to my students because we have quite a few Hispanic students. I usually have at least one child who doesn't speak English each year. One year I had 6 that didn't speak any English and I am NOT fluent. It was pretty crazy . 
  • One of my friends gave me this goofy box. When you open it, it sings Happy Birthday. She also gave me a cake magnet. When you press it, it also sings. I ask the child would he like the box or cake to sing with us. They choose and we have a musical accompaniment.
  • When we  sing Happy Birthday, followed by "are ya 1, are ya 2? and the child stops us at 5. I spin them around in the chair 2 times, and we all clap
  • I'm sure you can find some musical thing at Spencer's Gifts or a Hallmark store. . Birthday_Bear_2
  • I have a "magic candle" that lights up and they blow it out. Everyone makes a wish for them. It gives me a chance to remind my students to NEVER play with matches, candles, lighters, fire etc. and I make them PROMISE me. I figure they can't hear it too often. 
  • In December the Dollar Store has these battery operated candle lights. When the child blows on the candle just unscrew the bottom a bit and the light will go out. Sometimes just to be silly I let them keep blowing.
  • They take their things to their locker and about that time the annoucements come on.
  • I made the lit up birthday present light  out of one of those glass blocks. It's a quick and easy craft project that takes about 15 minutes. They are already pre-drilled. Just shove a short 100 white light set inside the hole, hot glue a length of pretty ribbon around the side, and finish off with a big pom pom bow. Instant birthday present light.
  • Click here to see my cute birthday calendar cakes for only .99¢ There are 27 pages. 12 full-color adorable cakes + 12 matching black and white ones to give to the birthday child to color and a card for their classmates to sign. You cut out construction paper candles, write your student's names on them and put them on top of the monthly cakes. Makes a cute border to put up around your room, or simply put one up on your calenddar.
  •                                                                                                                                                Birthday Bear

  • Picture Taking
  • If you've taken a first day picture of your students, you can make double prints. I have a little sign that says: "Whose Birthday Is It Today?" I also have an oval mat that I post on the wall. I slide the extra picture under that, and feature the birthday child's pix in it.
  • In the past, I've also taken a picture of the child on their birthday to include in the Keepsake Calendar book.
  • birthday_board
  • My Special Birthday Wall:
  • This is a picture of my Birtday Bulletin Board. The September birthday cake is up. It doesn't have any candles on it yet.
  • The oval mat is under and to the right of it, with the little poster signage under it that says: Whose birthday is it today?  I also have a magnet on our white board that says: Celebrate! Under the magnet I write the child's name who we are celebrating that day.
  • I write the children's names and birthday dates on the appropriate montly shape.
  • Birhtday bear and his present light sits on the table.  I keep my birthday bag of treats under the table when they're not in use. 
  • So that I don't forget it's a child's birthday, before I go home, I put the birthday chair in the middle of the Circle Of Friends Carpet, and lay the birthday "goodies" on the chair, then go decorate their locker.

  • Snack Time:
  • When I'm doing my Snack Calendar for the month I make sure that any children who are celebrating birthdays, are also the children bringing snack on that day. Some parents like to make snack day extra special then. I don't allow cake or cupcakes, as I don't feel that's a nutricious snack for the children. I find that when parents bring in gooey cupcakes a Y5 will generally lick off the frosting and not eat the cupcake at all. They often get the frosting up their nose, and if they do take a bit or two, I have crumbs everywhere.
  • Some parents bring in special cups and plates, and even make treat bags for the children. I let parents know that's perfectly fine, and welcome them to come share the day with us if they want to. I have a note about all of this in my Student Handbook if you want to check it out.   Just click on the link. Some teachers are now doing a "You are special!"-red plate program in their class, which would include a child eating off a red plate on their birthday. Check out my Main Blog for September to read this article.

  • Balloons:
  • Parents always have questions so it's good to have a policy about birthdays.
  • We have a latex free school zone so there are no balloons allowed. So if that's true in your school put it in your handbook. One year I had a mom bring in balloons for all of the children.
  • I do put them in their treat bags, just because they are inexpensive, but I tell my students not to open the bag 'til they get home. balloons

  • Seat of honor:
  • When the child comes back from putting their treats in the locker they get to sit anywhere they want.
  • A new thing I'm going to do is a seat cover. Somewhere floating through cyberspace or a magazine I had seen a birthday cake made out of felt. I thought: "Oh I can do that!" and filed it away in the back of my brain of never accomplished tasts, because I ran out of summer.
  • I think this would be an added way to make children feel extra special.
  • Then I was surfing the net for more b. day ideas for you and came upon this link of other teacher's b.day ideas from A to Z Teacher Stuff, and one teacher mentioned that when she was a child her teacher put something on her chair and she still remembers it from 16 years ago! Well if it's that memorable I'm getting right on it,. Hmmmm. 
  • It has to be EASY, CHEAP, FUN, FAST and DURABLE
  • Here's what I came up with:
  • Buy two large sheets of flat foam Lots of color choices at Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart and Michaels's Crafts, but I chose WHITE  because I wanted to decorate it with multi-colors and then with a white background they'd all show up.
  • I have little chairs so I CUT exactly 2  1/4 inches off the side and it fit great.
  • Just to make sure, test it on your own chairs BEFORE you cut.
  • If you have 1st graders, and they sit at a desk, you won't want to cut anything off. 
  • STAPLE both sides and the top. Leave the bottom open so that you can slip it over the chair. 
  • Press hard on the stapler, but you don't need to use the heavy duty kind that staples 20+ sheets, a regular one works just fine as long as your foam sheets aren't "extra thick".
  • Try and stay on a straight line. I covered the staples with puffy paint later.
  • Now it's time to DECORATE.Happy_B._Day_Cover
  • I used stencils because I own a zillion and my fat foam stamps are at school and I wanted to "play" this minute. My husband secretly thinks I have ADHD. He came home, and I'm sprawled all over the kitchen, paint bottles, and supplies everywhere.  "What are we making today Diane?"  I'm gratefully married to a saint who doesn't mind walking through my creative messes. You could also free hand paint a birthday cake on it if you're artistic.
  • TIP: This was so fun I made a STAR STUDENT one too. Click on the link to see the pix. You could make one for your Author Chair too.

SUMMER Birthdays:

  • When I was in elementary school I always felt left out of the "birthday loop." I don't know what was the matter with teachers back then, but I NEVER got to celebrate a single birthday because I ws born in the summer in July.
  • I vowed that when I became a teacher, those little ones would also celebrate.
  • Winnie the Pooh celebrates "very un-birthdays" and I liked that concept. Some teachers celebrate 1/2 birthdays during the "middle" of the year. Whatever you do - CELEBRATE! Young children are all about fairness.
  • Any of my little peanuts born in June, July and August get a special day in June when we celebrate their "pretend summer b. day."  If I have a lot, then I start at the end of May. Since Michigan starts the day after Labor Day, I celebrate any September birthdays that happened prior to the start of school in September, so I don't get confused.

More helpful information on birthdays:

  • I'm sharing this site where a mom asks other moms for ideas of how she could celebrate her son's 5-year-old birthday party at school.  Be prepared for this question, and hopefully your parents will ask. I was very happy that almost all of the mommies advised her to ask his teacher first. That's why it's so important to be specific in your handbook, and to let parents know that you have your own special celebration for their child, and just what it entails so that they WILL feel special through out the day.
  • Click here for some cute party games. I like Monkey See Monkey Do. 
  • Click here for some bulletin board ideas for birthdays. Don't forget to click on her sidebar for more birthday day bulletin boards for September birthdays, birthday displays, and birthday bulletin boards for teachers!.
  • Here's another awesome website: KinderKorner.com.  Click on the word birthday for some terrifice birthday songs, poems, ideas, and birthday book selections.
  • One of my favorite magazines is Family Fun. They have lots of kid tips, recipes, craft, deocorating, and party ideas. Check out their website at Family Fun.
  • And if you're a parent and just looking for an interesting site that has some fun birthday party ideas  for your own little one.click on the link.
  • Click here for two favorite birthday treat recipes from a teacher/parent.
  • Click here for a list of 17 party games. From there you can click on that game for directions.
  • Click here for 5 Birthday Mazes.
  • Click her e to make your own Birthday Storybook. 

"Birthday Buddy Book Bags" to get your students reading and writing!

  • When I taught 1st grade I had all sorts of "Reading Buddy Bags" for my students to take home. They couldn't wait for their turn to check out a bag. The Birthday Bag was one of them. Inside were two of my birthday books, a birthday notebook, an envelope of birthday stickers, and an envelope of birthday bookmarks with a laminated letter home to parents explaining the book bag. Beanie Babies were really popular 11 years ago so there was always one in the bag for them to "read to".  I had a regular small bear tucked in the zipper of the backpack for the Birthday Bag.. He also had an autograph book because I wanted the children to work on writing their first and last names.
  • Parents helped their children write a brief description of what they did on their birthday, then helped them read one or both of the birthday books. They got to choose a sticker and bookmark when they were done, and returned the bag the next day.
  • I had laminated library pockets with names on index cards, so I knew who had what bags.
  • Click here if you'd like to print a copy of the letter so you can make your own Birthday Bag as well as the cover of the writing journal.
  • I made a new one for you, because I simply put a piece of laminate over some birthday stationery. bear_bag
  • In my note I also told them to sign the autograph book and included this note:  "Child psychologists say that it's important to tell children about pleasant things in their past that they don't remember. My own children never tired listening about the funny things they did as a baby or toddler. It became a tradition on their birthday to haul out theri photo albums and reminisce about the day they were born and past birthdays." 
  • Pictured below is the folder that I kept the notes, journal, and authograph book in. I had 2 backpacks in case I had 2 birthdays on the same day or twins.
  •  I let them choose the books they'd like to take home from the birthday basket.

Birtday Songs:

  • Need a new birthday song? Click on the link to go to Jean Warren's
  • Pre-School Express site's new birthday songs.
  • Well that's it for my tips on celebrating birthdays in my classroom.
  • If you have some you'd like to share,  I'd love to hear from you!
  • bear_folder



Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

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