Some parents go all out when it comes to their kids’ birthday celebrations. It’s tough to compete with backyard bounce houses and over-the-top party activities. The good news is that preschool classroom celebrations are small-scale events — and you have several easy and affordable options for sharing your birthday star’s special day with his classmates.
The cupcake is the go-to treat for classroom parties, but standards are changing. Your child’s school might no longer allow sugar-packed treats for birthdays. Even if the school allows it, the teachers and fellow preschool parents might shoot you a look when they find out you pumped their kids full of sugar. Healthier options include fresh fruit, string cheese, graham crackers or applesauce. If you’re afraid the preschoolers will revolt, play with the presentation. Put stickers or temporary tattoos on the rind of an orange or the peel of a banana. Draw a smiley face on the cup of applesauce. Preschoolers are usually a much easier audience than older kids. Some schools don’t allow homemade treats, so check with the preschool teacher before you bring in the birthday treats.
If you don’t want to worry about all the food restrictions — or face angry mob of parents upset about what you chose — a non-edible treat for the kids is an alternative. Party stores offer a variety of little party treats that are often available in bulk. Check the suggested age range on the items before offering them to your child’s preschool classmates. Little pieces that could break off become a choking hazard in the classroom. Ideas for non-edible treats include small containers of modeling clay, bubbles, stickers or a small set of watercolor paints.
If you want to get involved in the classroom celebration, why not plan an activity with the kids? Get approval from your child’s preschool teacher so you can schedule a time to play a game or make a craft with the group. Simple activities that the kids can handle without adult assistance are best for groups of preschoolers. Activity ideas include a treasure hunt, dancing the Hokey Pokey or playing classic games such as “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” For a simple craft, let the kids decorate construction paper cutouts of birthday cakes or balloons.
Your little birthday star gets enough gifts at his party. Reverse the flow of gifts by letting your preschooler pick out a gift for his class. Ideas include a new book, board game, art supplies or dress-up clothes. Ask his teacher for some suggestions if you’re not sure what the class needs. Add a dedication on the item with your child’s name on it. You might write, “To Mrs. Paul’s preschool class. In honor of John Smith’s 4th birthday.” If you choose a book, request a few minutes on your child’s birthday to read the book to his classmates.