I love cupcakes as much as the next person. I have sweet memories of the birthday cupcakes my mom made for me when I was a child (read “For the Love of Cupcakes“), and I’m sure that some years, she brought those cupcakes to school.
But for better or worse, cupcakes at school are on their way out. High rates of food allergies mean homemade cupcakes aren’t safe for everyone anymore–and concerns about how much junk food kids are getting (and how frequently they’re getting it) are making more parents uncomfortable with this tradition.
Recently, a friend told me about the way her daughter’s preschool celebrated birthdays without cupcakes–and I liked it so much, I shared it on Facebook (it’s #1 on the list below). Lots of people chimed in with even more ideas, and so I wanted to share those here. These suggestions are geared toward younger children in preschool or elementary school. Maybe you can suggest one of these at your child’s school too!
Food-Free Ways to Celebrate Birthdays At School:
1. Bring in special party napkins (or party hats) to use with the usual school snack.
2. Get a special “recess pass” and choose the main activity the class does at recess time.
3. Bring in your favorite book and the teacher will read it to the class.
4. Give a gift to the class, such as a book (write an inscription inside), a toy for the play area, or a game.
5. Be “VIP of the week”: Make a timeline of your life, have your parents read to the class one day, and have other students interview you about your favorite things.
6. Get a card from the class. All the students sign it saying what they like most about you.
7. Have your name read over the morning announcements.
8. Get a special sticker or crown to wear at school all day.
9. Have your parents provide a special craft for the class that day.
10. Pick out of a birthday prize box that includes fun pencils, temporary tattoos, stickers, and small toys.
Thank you to Facebook readers who provided ideas for this list. If you have one to add, I’d love to hear about it!