Celebrating children's birthdays is important to the child and their families. It's a special occasion that focuses on the individual child and to celebrate the day they were born.
Typically when celebrating a child's birthday families bring in a birthday cake to share but with food allergies and healthy eating policies, there are alternatives to celebrate without the cake.
Birthday celebrations don't have to focus on food, services can introduce special ways to celebrate a child's birthday such as:
- Class Birthday Book - Each child in the room makes a page for the birthday child’s Birthday Book. A page consists of a picture and a message about the birthday child. The birthday child makes the cover. The educators can also make a page, too, and all the pages are bound in a special book for the birthday child to take home.
- Birthday Lunch - The birthday child may invite family members to eat with them. If possible, create a special birthday lunch table. The special table could have a table cloth and a vase of flowers to make it a little more special.
- Birthday Crowns - At the beginning of the year have plain white paper birthday crown ready for each child. Each child decorates and paints their birthday crown at the start of the year and then put back on the wall with a label that reads the child’s name and birthdate. They are hung in chronological order and the birthday child wears them on their birthday.
- The Felt Birthday Cake and Birthday Chair - The birthday child sits on a special birthday chair and a special felt cake with candles is placed on a birthday felt board. Children sing happy birthday while the child holds the felt birthday cake.
- Birthday Hat/Badge/Garment - The birthday child wears a special birthday outfit for the day.
- Birthday Plant - the birthday child plants a small plant in honour of their birthday in the garden.
Healthier Food Options For Birthdays
To promote healthy eating, use nutritious foods prepared and presented in special ways, rather than relying on ‘discretionary choices’ for celebrations
Some ideas include:
- Fruit platter or fruit kebabs
- Watermelon balls
- Mini pizzas
- Friendship Fruit Salad – make a fruit salad with fruit contributed by each child.
- Make Your Own Yogurt Parfait – mix plain yogurt with equal parts of vanilla yogurt.
- Layer yogurt with fresh fruit and granola.
- Make Your Own Trail Mix – mix together whole grain wheat square cereal, oat ring cereal pretzels, dried fruit, and shelled pumpkin seeds.
- Make Your Own Pizza - use whole wheat English muffins or pitas as the pizza crust. Set out tomato sauce, chopped vegetables, pineapple, ham, cooked chicken, black beans and shredded cheese.
If discretionary choices are used for special occasions, offer small, children’s serves and consider also offering a fruit platter or other healthy option.
When parents provide cake/cupcakes to share in the setting, make sure:
- They are store-bought
- They are enclosed in sealed packaging
- Ingredients are listed on the packaging
- The ‘use by’ date is clearly labelled
The child whose birthday it is will be given their own cupcake with a candle, this is to prevent the spread of germs through saliva on the whole cake.
Birthdays are a really exciting day for each individual child so make it a special day that they can remember!