I loved my birthday when I was growing up. I was always a shy kid, but if there was one day when I didn’t mind the attention, it was on my birthday. My parents made our birthdays special with lots of fun traditions that I plan to carry on with my daughter. We were allowed to pick a restaurant for dinner and choose the kind of cake we wanted to have at home. Every year we also took a birthday quiz that my mom saved for us, so we can now look back at how our answers changed over the years. (We may have whined about taking it some years, for which I am sorry Mom!). Since my daughter is starting to understand birthdays now, I decided it would be fun to start some of these birthday traditions with her this year.
Birthday Read Aloud – This year for my daughter’s birthday, I bought her The Night Before My Birthday written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know I am a fan of the Night Before series. Natasha Wing does a great job of rewriting the classic Christmas poem for big holidays and events, introducing kids to all the symbols and traditions of the holidays. This book is a fun addition to the collection.
The story follows the main character through his (or her) birthday. The child’s face is never shown, allowing kids to see themselves in the character. The family prepares for a big birthday party, blowing up balloons and setting up the house. Kids will enjoy the bright and colorful illustrations, and will recognize the excitement leading up to a birthday party. Parents will appreciate the nod to some of the bittersweet parts of a child’s birthday (measuring how much they have grown). I wrote a message on the inside of our copy of the book telling my daughter that I look forward to reading this book to her on the night before her birthday for many years to come.
Birthday Book Shopping – I love giving and getting books as gifts, so buying my daughter a new book every year for her birthday is definitely something I plan to do. We stopped at our local Barnes and Noble a few days before her birthday and I let her pick out a few new books for us to share. (I can’t stop at just one!). While we all do most of our shopping online these days, I still have such fond memories of going to the bookstore with my parents. We went before vacations, after good report cards, and sometimes just because. I hope my daughter will have fond memories of bookstore trips with me as well!
Birthday Interview – This is a tradition that my mother started with my sister and I when we were in elementary school. Every year around our birthday, she would print out a blank copy of the birthday quiz and have us fill in our answers for the year. While we sometimes grumbled about it, I am so thrilled to still have the quizzes showing how I changed over the years. It’s interesting to see how my taste in movies and food changed, as well as my fears and my dreams.
I created a new version of this birthday quiz for you to share with your kids. I included the questions that I asked my daughter, as well as a blank page so you can create your own. While my daughter is too young to fill out a quiz on her own, I decided to ask her some of the questions to see what her answers would be. I was quite entertained by a number of her responses, and I will definitely write them down so she can chuckle about them when she is older!
Some of her answers:
- What is your favorite snack? Peanuts (I asked her twice, and this was her answer twice. She has never even eaten peanuts!?)
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Grandma….. or a doggie
- Where is your favorite place to go? The post office…. and Target (I guess we go to Target too often!)
- What is your favorite book? Mommy loves to read Llama Llama (Because it is MY love of it that keeps us re-reading it?)
Birthday Chalk Charts – We have been having a lot of fun with chalk so far this summer! One of the suggestions in my recent post on chalk activities, was tracing kids’ shadows. My daughter has really been enjoying this one, and insists that I trace her almost every day. I decided to take advantage of this, and I traced her body on the driveway, then added important milestones and information about her. We listed some of her favorite things to do, as well as her age and her height. I will definitely attempt to do the same thing next year so we can see how much she has changed!
Birthday Cupcake Painting – This was a fun project which allowed us to have some sensory fun while creating birthday themed artwork. I cut some cupcake liners in half and glued them down in the center of paper plates. (You can use any kind of cardstock). Pour some shaving cream into a mixing bowl. Add white glue over the top and mix until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of food coloring if you want it to have some color. This will give you some very fluffy paint that you can now use to create cupcake art. My daughter really enjoyed playing in the fluffy paint and it looked really cool on the plates. You could sprinkle beads, sprinkles or glitter (if you are brave!) over the top as well. It hardened up a bit after some time, but it did eventually deflate.
Special Birthday Breakfast
Birthday Pancakes – I wanted to make my daughter’s birthday morning a bit special, so I decided to surprise her with some confetti pancakes. We are big Funfetti fans in our family (it was even our wedding cake). I prepared the pancake mix as usual, then added it to the frying pan. When it was almost ready to flip, I sprinkled some rainbow sprinkles over the top. The result was some very colorful pancakes and a very happy birthday girl!
There are so many great ways to make a birthday special for kids. From making their favorite foods to looking back at years past, there are lots of birthday traditions that you can start together. What are some of your family’s birthday traditions? Share in the comments!