Inside: How to celebrate birthdays in the toddler and preschool classrooms while keeping it simple and fun!
Just mention the word birthday and you get a super excited toddler or preschooler. Seriously, there is nothing like turning 3 or 4 in their lives.
If we just mention the word, our 3 year olds get so excited, all telling me at once how old they will be, or what they want, or what kind of party.
That means celebrating birthdays in the classroom is important. Super important!
The key is keeping it simple and yet special. And that’s exactly how our toddler and preschool birthday celebrations are!
Edited to add: Since this post was written, we’ve changed from displaying birthday crowns to hanging a banner. Scroll down towards the bottom of this post to find a free printable so you can make your own banner!
How Celebrate Birthdays in the Toddler and Preschool Classrooms
We celebrate every child’s birthday during the school year. Our summer birthdays are celebrated in May. We don’t want anyone feeling left out! (And, as a mother with 2 children who have summer birthdays, I am sensitive to this.)
The Birthday Crowns
We have a plain white paper birthday crown ready for each child when school starts. These will be taken down to be painted and then put back on the wall with a label that reads the child’s name and birthdate. They are hung in chronological order starting with September and ending with August. (Our school starts in September.)
The first or second week of school, we have our toddlers and preschoolers paint their crowns.
I love how this personalizes each crown!
Once the crowns are dry, they are assembled and hung back on the wall.
And then we wait.
We wait for those magical birthday celebrations! And we keep letting each other know how old we will be.
The Felt Birthday Cake
We’ve had this felt cake set since I first started teaching, over 16 years ago. It’s helped celebrate hundreds of birthdays at our preschool! It’s looking a bit tired and might need to retire soon, but it makes me smile every time I see it.
The birthday child sits in a special birthday chair and we place the cake on a felt board. We then count how many candles will go on the cake, and they are placed on the board.
The Birthday Song
We sing 2 songs. During the first song, the birthday child holds the felt board face out, so we can get some good birthday photos.
Here’s our first song (tune: On Top of Old Smokey):
Today is a birthday, I wonder for whom?
I know it’s for someone who’s right in this room
So look all around you for somebody who, is
smiling, and happy
My Goodness, it’s YOU!
I honestly don’t recall where I found it, so I will give credit to this website, where I am finding it now.
We then flip the felt board around to face the birthday child, and we sing the traditional birthday song.
And the whole class cheers the birthday person!
We used to have the birthday child supply treats for the classroom, but between keeping it more simple and having children with food allergies, we stopped the treats. It has not altered the birthday experience in the least!
Watch the video on You Tube:
Free printable banner for you to use in your classroom!
There is a banner with 3 candles on each cupcake, and a banner with 4 candles. In the white rectangle write the child’s name and birthdate. Click on the photo for the pdf download:
More posts for early childhood teachers:
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