Birthdays are a big deal to preschool age children and it is a good idea to come up with a plan as to how you will celebrate each child's birthday in your classroom. The following are a few ideas or suggestions that can help you get prepared so you are not caught by surprise or having to throw things together at the last minute.
Birthday Organizer Box
Get a file box and a set of pocket file folders. Place each child's name on a folder along with his or her birthdate. Place the files in the box in order of birth date - you might even place a separater in between files to identify each month.
Place an extra file in the front of your file box for parent letters. Type up and copy a set of letters that will go home with each child a week or two before his or her birthday reminding the parent of what the rules of your school are regarding snacks, the time you will have a birthday celebration, and any other issues or rules you find necessary to communicate with parents about having a birthday party in your classroom.
In advance, fill each pocket folder with the following items...
- A birthday card or certificate
- A birthday crown
- A birthday name tag
- A balloon and ribbon
- Or any other item you like to use on birthdays!
Keeping the birthday party plans simple in design will allow you to bring special attention to the child without adding unneeded stress to your day. Preschoolers love the attention but overdoing things can sometimes backfire and leave the birthday boy or girl in tears. By keeping birthday party plans simple and the same for each child, the preschooler will know what to expect and will have a better experience.
Tags and Crowns
Let the child wear the birthday tag throughout the day and encourage other adults in the school to stop and wish the child a happy birthday when they see the birthday sticker. This will help the child feel a part of a community and the parent will appreciate it too. Save the crown for the actual birthday party so it doesn't get ruined before it is time.
Thirty minutes towards the latter part of your classroom day is often considered best - consider having the birthday party as a part of afternoon snack. This may encourage parents to leave work a bit early and be able to join in the occasion. Regardless of whether or not parents can come, the child will enjoy the event because the he or she will know what to expect.
Sing Happy Birthday!
Sing the traditional birthday song or create a song just for birthday occasions and teach it to your students.
Finally, a great way to collect birthday prizes without spending lots of money is to have parents donate unopened happy meal toys. Parents often end up with extras toys their child never opened and as you collect them, wrap each one up with birthday wrapping paper or tissue paper.
Put the "boy toys" in a boy birthday bag and the "girl toys" in a girl birthday bag. As part of the celebration, allow the birthday child to pick a toy from one of the bags and open the gift. It won't matter to most preschoolers what the prize ends up being - what matters most is the opportunity to pick a prize and open it up.
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