I feel that it is important to do something at school for students’ birthdays. It is the one day out of the year that is THEIR DAY so I feel that it should be acknowledged with something special.
Over the years I have tried different options for celebrating student birthdays. The basics have stayed the same but the options for the gifts, certificates and apparel have changed over the years. I have listed my favorite student birthday ideas below.
Personalized Birthday Certificate Waiting on Their Decorated Desk
The birthday student is acknowledged as soon as they arrive – why make them wait when I know they are excited! I greet my students at the door each morning, so I welcome the birthday boy or girl with a big “Happy Birthday”, make a little “fuss”, and direct them to their desk or cubby.
Their desk or cubby is decorated with confetti and sometimes streamers and has a special, personalized birthday certificate.
I now create the birthday certificates on my computer which allows me to personalize the message, style, and name so each student feels special.
We start the day with a special, fun birthday chant to recognize the birthday student. It’s similar to the military cadence. (We sing the regular Happy Birthday song later in the day at snack time.)
Teacher: I don’t know but I’ve been told.
Students: I don’t know but I’ve been told.
Teacher: (student’s name) is ___________ years old!
Students: (student’s name) is ___________ years old!
Teacher: It is (his or her) special day.
Students: It is (his or her) special day.
Teacher: So let’s wish (student’s name) a happy birthday!
Students: So let’s wish (student’s name) a happy birthday!
Teacher: A very happy birthday!!
Students: A very happy birthday!!
Signed Birthday Certificate from Classmates
Each student also gets a signed certificate/card from their classmates. I pass it around when students arrive (I try to be secretive about it) and then present it to the birthday girl or boy after we sing Happy Birthday.
Compliment Collage from Classmates
This is something I started doing recently once we started using the free app Pic Collage (Pic EDU) and students love it!
I load a picture of the birthday student on Pic Collage and set it as the background. Then, students add compliments around it and I print it out for the birthday student.
If you don’t have access to technology, you can have the students write their compliments on your board, then have the birthday student stand in front of it or beside it and take their picture.
Let the Birthday Student Choose Their Apparel (Birthday Crown, Badge, Brag Tag)
I like giving my students choice – especially on their special day. I let them decide what they would like to wear (if anything) to commemorate their birthday and set them apart from the other students.
They can choose to wear any of the following:
Birthday Crown – I have full-color and black and white birthday crowns. If they want to decorate their own crown so that it looks unique, they color the black and white version. If not, they can wear the color one.
Birthday Badge – They can also choose to wear an “official birthday badge” either on their shirt or around their neck.
Birthday Reward Tags – I have started using reward tags in my classroom so students can choose to add a special birthday reward tag to their necklaces.
Let the Birthday Student Choose Their Classroom Job
Classroom jobs are a big deal to primary students and there seems to always be several that they love to do more than others; so, on their birthday I let them choose their classroom job for the day OR they can choose a job for another student. The idea to let them choose a job for a friend came from a sweet little girl one year who said, “Can I please let Elizabeth take my place and be line leader? That is her favorite job and it would make me happy to let her do it instead of me.”. How adorable is that?
Let the Birthday Student Pick the Read Aloud Book or Bring in Their Favorite Book
I also let the birthday student pick what story we read that day or they can bring in their favorite book from home for us to read.
Let the Birthday Student Choose the Snack or Bring a Special Snack
We have snack time during the day. Usually the birthday student brings a special snack, if not they get to choose from our snacks.
Student Birthday Gift / Take Home Treat Ideas
I also like to send students home with a special gift and/or treat. Here are some ideas I’ve used over the years:
I found this idea several years ago on Pinterest and absolutely love it (I can’t remember the original Pinner to give credit)! These birthday “sundaes” are very simple to create, look adorable and special sitting on students’ desks, and my students love receiving them – win,win!
You can purchase the dome cups and lids on Amazon (set of 50 or set of 25) or kindly ask your local McDonalds or Starbucks for donations. Fill the bottom of the cup with candy or small prizes. Add crinkle cut paper to resemble the whipped topping. You can find it on Amazon or your local craft store or shred and “crinkle” your own white paper. Place a red lollipop (Tootsie Pop) through the top hole to resemble a cherry (please note that the gifts I give to the students have a wrapped Tootsie Pop, I did not have one on hand for these pictures which is why the lollipop is not wrapped) and a pencil through the hole to resemble a straw. Glue or tape a student gift tag or label on the cup.
To add a more personal touch, I like to give each student a custom label. Even though the gift is the same for each student, giving them a personal message and gift tag makes it special for them.
Another simple birthday treat that students love receiving are bubbles! They can be purchased in multi-packs at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Attach a birthday gift tag with ribbon and voila you’re done!
Special pencils are a simple and useful birthday gift that students love receiving. You can find birthday pencils at school or office supply stores, party stores, Walmart, Amazon, Oriental Trading, Really Good Stuff. Simply tape a special birthday gift tag to them to make look extra special. A saying that I like to add to the tag is “A gift that is just “write” for your birthday”.
Goldfish Crackers or Swedish Fish – You are “o-fish-ally” 6 years old
Since turning another year older is a big deal to young children I really like this gift idea because it emphasizes their official age. You can purchase the snack bags of Goldfish Crackers or Swedish Fish and attach a birthday gift tag or buy a large container and fill a baggie with either Goldfish Crackers or Swedish Fish and attach a birthday gift tag with a ribbon. Put the saying “Happy birthday! You are “o-fish-ally” 6 (insert age) years old!” on the tag.
I’m Bursting with Excitement Starburst Treats
If your students enjoy Starburst candy, a cute birthday saying for their gift tag is “I’m bursting with excitement that it’s your birthday!”.
Cookies or Sweets – Wishing You a Birthday as Sweet as You
If your school allows giving cookies or sweets as birthday treats, a cute saying for the gift tag is “Wishing you a birthday as sweet as you!”. I have attached them to snack size bags of cookies as well as the large wrapped cookies.
Scooby Doo Graham Cracker Sticks – Special Treat for Your Birthday
For the last several years I have had a dog theme in my classroom and therefore have given these birthday treats to match our theme. I purchased individual snack bags of Scooby Doo Graham Cracker Sticks (they are shaped liked dog bones) and attached a birthday tag with the saying “A treat for your special day”.
Birthday Box / Treasure Chest
When I first started teaching, the school where I taught had a birthday box for each grade. It was a copier paper box that was gift wrapped and filled with special prizes from Oriental Trading. When you had a birthday in your class, you would bring in the birthday box and the birthday student was allowed to pick a prize. (sorry I don’t have a picture of it as it was a long time ago lol).
When I moved to a different school I changed the idea slightly. I liked the idea that the student had some choice in their gift but I also wanted to give them something special from me so I combined the two. I would give them one of the treats/gifts mentioned above and then they also got to choose something out of our class treasure chest.
For students who have birthdays during the summer months, we celebrate their “half birthday” during the school year. As someone who has a summer birthday, I never got a chance to celebrate my birthday at school and always felt left out so I make sure that doesn’t happen to any of my students. They receive the same treats and privileges mentioned above, but the certificates and tags are special “Half Birthday” ones.