The day your child was born. Could there be a great reason for celebration? I love having one special day to express your gratefulness and appreciation for their very existence. To tell them with absolution, “We are so happy you were born! Our lives are better because of you.”
I believe every birthday should be celebrated and honored with the importance it deserves. With the responsibilities and nuances of life, what a perfect reminder to stop, slow down and celebrate life.
I’ve put together a fun list of ideas and printables to help you create a magical birthday. Use these ideas to spark new ones and come up with your own traditions and special memories. It doesn’t cost a lot of money or require big celebrations to show someone just how special they are. (affiliate links included)
51 Ways to Make Your Kids Birthday Extra Special
- Birthday scavenger hunt. Make opening their gifts even more fun by increasing the anticipation! Use this scavenger hunt printable to leave them clues around the house leading to their gift.
- Wrap each individual packed lunch item in wrapping paper. If you send your kids to school with a packed lunch this is a fun way to keep the birthday momentum going. You can put special things inside that you normally wouldn’t send for lunch, like a miniature cupcake or a small gift.
- Eat with a special birthday plate. There are lots of special plates you can purchase online, like this one on Etsy, and even one complete with a photo from Shutterfly. To hand make one yourself, buy a ceramic plate and write on it with a porcelain pen you can find online or in craft stores.
- Make a special birthday chair. Attach balloons, streamers and a birthday sign to make a special chair for them to sit in for meals or while opening their gifts.
- Fill their room with balloons. You can use helium balloons to float around the room or blow them up yourself to cover the floor.
- Birthday bath. Color bath water with a couple drops of food dye or bath color tablets and fill with balloons. Another fun touch is cracking a few glow sticks and tossing them in for a glowing bath!
- Write a birthday message on the bathroom mirror. You can use the traditional option of lipstick but a less messy option is a simple dry-erase marker.
- Wear a birthday crown or tiara. You can purchase one pre-made or make your own with a simple foam crown from the craft store, decorated with paint, glitter and stickers.
- Have flowers delivered to school. Make your kids feel extra special by sending them a special delivery right to their school desk.
- Do a yearly interview. These are fun to save in a scrapbook to reflect on each year. Use this printable with 25 questions.
- Tell them the story of when they were born and look at photos. Kids love hearing stories about themselves. It’s fun to reminisce about the day they were born and show them photos of their tiny selves.
- For adopted children, tell the story of their Gotcha Day or tell stories shared from others.
- Watch home videos featuring them. Talk through the videos, telling them stories of what was happening or why the moment was special.
- Let them pick the birthday dinner meal. This was one of my favorite traditions as a kid! The birthday child gets to pick their favorite dinner. You can give parameters of a home-cooked meal, a restaurant, or either.
- Make a homemade cake or treat. Make it a tradition that mom or dad always makes something extra special and homemade for their special day.
- Buy small, inexpensive gifts so that they can open the same amount of presents as they are old. Turning 10 years old? You get 10 gifts!
- Kick off the week with a birthday countdown. Make a traditional paper chain countdown or this fun framed idea.
- Make confetti pancakes for breakfast. Just add some sprinkles to your box mix or favorite recipe and even add a candle on top! You can also do the same thing with cinnamon rolls.
- Use car markers write on your vehicle, “Honk to wish ____ a happy birthday!” Your kiddo will get a kick out of hearing all the honks!
- Blow noise makers and throw confetti to celebrate the exact moment they were born. You can even do a countdown, New Years Eve style! 3,2,1.. Happy Birthday!
- Do something nice for others. Pick a few RAOKs (random acts of kindness) to do together. Here are 100 ideas you can choose from!
- Buy a new birthday book to read. Birthday Monsters! By Sandra Boynton or Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss are a couple of great choices.
- Fill out an annual birthday keepsake journal. This one is amazing – it keeps track of every birthday from 1-18 with a place for photos, yearly interviews, time capsules and more.
- Take them to the bank to deposit or cash in all of their piggy bank money from the previous year. You could also dump it into a change machine you find in grocery stores.
- Give them a ‘skip chores’ certificate. No one wants to do chores on their birthday!
- Take their picture in the same spot or with the same item every year. This is another fun thing to keep in a scrapbook.
- Ask what their birthday wish is and write it down in their baby book or memory journal. They’ll think it’s funny to read all the things they wished for when they were younger.
- If your child is school age, surprise them by bringing in a special lunch from their favorite restaurant. If it’s allowed, you could also pick your child up for a fancy lunch date!
- Decorate your family dinner table like you would if you were hosting a party. Use a birthday table cloth, cover it with confetti, use special birthday plates and make everyone wear a hat! You can take it one step further, and have everyone dress up like it’s a fancy dinner.
- First birthday – plant a tree in your backyard. Each year take their photo standing next to it and watch them both grow.
- Instead of a cake, make a cupcake decorating station! Set out plain, iced cupcakes and lots of toppings so everyone can make their own. Topping ideas: sprinkles, jelly beans, coconut, colored sugar, chocolate chips, candy and more!
- Give them a birthday card with a special handwritten message each year. Save them in a scrapbook. You can also whole punch them and string them together or use a binder hook.
- Give them a dollar for every year old they are. Turning six, they get six dollar bills!
- Make them a fancy drink like a Shirley Temple or this Cranberry Cutie Mocktail. Let them use a fancy straw and top it off with an umbrella!
- Take a handprint each year. Another idea for their scrapbook or baby book, is to make a new handprint each year to see how big they’ve grown.
- Make a birthday time capsule. Every year, fill a box with things from their birthday. Some ideas are: a party hat, a napkin, a ticket to something they did or somewhere they went, birthday cards, a receipt, or a candle.
- Have a surprise party. Plan a top secret party they know nothing about!
- Have a family slumber party. Build a fort in the living room and have the whole family sleep together. Hanging up some Christmas lights and pretend they’re stars!
- Take a spontaneous road trip. If you think you might plan a trip to the zoo or some other fun road trip idea, surprise them! Make all of your plans, but just don’t let your kids in on the secret. Spontaneously announce that you’re heading out on adventure, so hop in the car!
- Leave a special birthday note in their lunchbox!
- Memory Share. Have each family member share something they love about them or share their favorite memory with them from the past year.
- The birthday string. Tie a long piece of string from a starting point to different areas in the house, having the birthday kid follow it until they find their gifts.
- Write a letter each year adding a $10 or $20 bill. Save them up for and give it to them on their 18th birthday. Not only will they have a little bit of money but they’ll have sweet notes from their parents from their entire childhood.
- Serve their morning milk with sprinkles. Everything is more celebratory when you add sprinkles! You can add sprinkles to almost any drink or food item.
- Make a bubble wrap run from their bedroom to their birthday breakfast by rolling out a bubble wrap path while they are sleep.
- Make up a special song to the tune of Happy Birthday. Here’s an example: I love you so much, I love you so much, Brady’s (enter your child’s name here) so very special, He’s a gift from above.
- Confetti filled balloons. What else says “Celebrate!” more than confetti? To save on the clean-up, go outside to pop the balloons.
- Schedule a special birthday phone call. NickJr.com sends kids special birthday wishes with a phone call from one of their favorite characters!
- Treat them like a big kid! For girls, maybe host a spa evening where you give her a facial, foot massage and manicure. Light candles, put cucumbers over her eyes and pull out all the stops. For boys, pick out some things they see daddy do like pretend to shave or build/fix something with tools. Maybe take them for a round of golf!
- Spend good, quality time with them. Turn off the electronics and free yourself from distraction. Give your child your undivided attention. After all, that’s really what they want anyway.
- For a little extra fun, celebrate their half birthday! You can cut a normal sized birthday cake in half and sing “Happy Half Birthday!”
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Check out these awesome birthday breakfast ideas!
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.