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30 Simple & Memorable Birthday Traditions & Activities

In our family, we have a little “unofficial” birthday tradition. I believe it probably started with me, but my husband quickly jumped on the bandwagon when it came to his birthday.  We declare a “birthday week”! We call “birthday week” anytime we are trying to decide on a place to eat, TV show to watch or even if we have a chore that needs done! I once tried to claim a “birthday month”, but my hubby wouldn’t quite go for that one! Lol!

Birthdays are a big deal to most people, whether they are 5 or 85!  Most people want their birthdays to be celebrated, even if they don’t act like it! And birthday traditions & activities are one of the most special things that a family can do to make birthdays memorable.

 Simplified Birthday Traditions

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Just like any tradition, birthday traditions help your child have something exciting to look forward to. When they remember from previous years how fun things have been in the past, they anticipate all the excitement! It’s important to keep in mind to set realistic expectations.  If you are anything like me, you will see this list and want to check off every idea or activity! That will definitely cause you to feel pressured and could lead to your child’s birthday being extra stressful and no one having fun!  So, look thru the birthday traditions & activites list and look for ideas that will fit your family and each child’s individual likes and values!  Then, just go and have a blast celebrating your child’s big day!

Birthday Traditions: The Food

Food is an important part of any celebration, big or little!  Give the birthday child some freedom with the menu!

  1. Our kiddos love to have a special birthday breakfast, and going along with my motto to “just add sprinkles”, we have adopted sprinkle pancakes as our official birthday breakfast.  I have tried many different recipes, but this one from Crazy For Crust is now may absolute favorite! It doesn’t just taste like cake batter, so I can feel good about giving it to my kids for breakfast.  I usually add a little extra sugar and serve them with diced strawberries, whipped cream, and extra sprinkles on top!

2. Letting the birthday boy or girl pick the menu for dinner is a popular idea.  And of course, let them pick the kind of cake that they want also!!! A good friend of mine from high school had 3 siblings and each one had a favorite dessert that was seasonal to their birthday.  One got strawberry shortcake in the spring, another pumpkin pie in the fall, etc.

3. My family eats out almost every week after church, because we live almost an hour away from our church.  We all (even mom & dad) enjoy getting to make the decision on where we eat, on the Sunday of our “birthday week”, without having to consult anyone else!

4. And we can’t forget… THE CAKE!!! I love cake and I think I have passed that love along to my kids!  They plan and plot for months on the kind of cake that they want me to make.  But fair warning, if you start making your kids birthday cakes, they will continually push your decorating skills! Lol! Keep watching the blog for an upcoming post on simple birthday cake decorating!

Birthday Traditions: The Gifts

We know that children think a lot about the gifts before they get them, but will they remember years later what is was that they got?  Make the process of receiving gifts extra special with these memorable ideas.

5. Allow your child to pop a balloon each hour or so on their birthday.  The balloon can contain a small gift or even a clue inside. The clues can add start them on a hunt to their gift!

6. Give your child their gift at the exact time they were born!  This works great for us because all of my little guys (were stubborn and had to be evicted, and were all born during the day)!

7. My children don’t get a lot of toys throughout the year unless they save their own money for them, so their birthdays are almost like Christmas.  They make lists and have lots of ideas on what they would like to have for gifts. You could give your child a special “birthday wishlist” to fill out in the weeks leading up to their big day.  This way you will have an answer when grandparents and aunts and uncles ask what your child would like for a birthday present.

However, if your house if busting at the seems with toys, consider an experience instead of a gift. My cousin took her daughter to an waterpark resort for a long weekend for her birthday and they had a blast. You could also consider taking them to a play or theme park with a friend of two.

8. In my family, we LOVE stockings at Christmas!  Plan a fun birthday stocking, basket, bag or something to fill with your child’s favorite items.  They won’t be able to wait to wake up on their birthday morning to see what awaits them!!!

Birthday Activities

Just like other holidays, there are many great activities that you can do leading up to or during your child’s birthday.

9. My family loves countdowns (we have several just for Christmas)!  Recently, my oldest son who is about to turn 10, created his own birthday countdown! So, I decided to make one so that we could use it for each birthday.  

10. Let the birthday boy or girl choose their favorite activity to do on their birthday.  We do this sometimes instead of having a big birthday party. We have taken our boys to the rodeo, gone to a rock climbing gym, and visited Chuck E Cheez for their birthdays.

11.Do a birthday interview (check out my Birthday Interview post and my printable here!) with your child each year so you can have a fun way of remembering their likes and special memories from year to year! 

12. Give your child birthday coupons that they can use to redeem certain treats, etc throughout the year.

13. Each year, have a special prayer of blessing on your child.  Of course, we pray blessing on our children all throughout the year, but allowing your child to hear these specific requests for them spoken will build up their confidence in the Lord.  This can even be a written prayer and saved from year to year.

Birthday Traditions: The Decorations

Think decorations should only be for a big party? Think again!!  Let the birthday girl or boy wake up to the house decked out in their honor!

14. I really love making my kid’s birthdays feel festive! I will put streamers, and balloons in their doorway so when they wake up, they will have a fun surprise.

15. Place post it’s all over the house with messages of love and encouragement for the birthday kid!

16. Fill your birthday girl or boy’s room with balloons!  Place them all over their bedroom floor while they are sleeping! However, since I still have a toddler, I try to keep balloons up and out of her reach!

Puppy wearing a birthday hat!

Birthday Traditions: Making Memories To Keep

Memories are great, but having something to keep that your child can one day show his or her children is a truly special birthday activity!

17. Take a family photo or selfie each year for each member’s birthday.

18. Take the birthday boy or girl’s picture with the number of balloons that they are old.

19. Jennifer from www.momstheglue.com shares a wonderful idea that her mom did with her and her siblings.  

“My mom made us a birthday poster each year with our name, age and some of our favorite things in the number of how old we were (example age of four meant a poster with 4 butterflies, 4 hearts etc). She hung it on the wall and we took our picture with it. She did this until we were 18.“

(I made a simple birthday board for baby girl’s first birthday using black poster board and chalk markers to make a faux chalkboard.  You can order these from Etsy also, but they are simple and fun to make!)

Celebrating Milestone Birthdays

All birthdays are special, but there are some that we want to make extra big and extra special!

20. My sister-in-law made a birthday time capsule when my oldest nephew was one.  She had each person at his party write something to him and seal it in an envelope to be opened on a certain day (10th birthday, high school graduation, etc).  This is such an awesome idea, and my nephew still has a note to open on his 18th birthday from my dad that has been dead for 9 years!

21. In the book Everyday Confetti, Glynnis Whitwer mentions that in her family milestone birthdays were topped of by having a special trip with a parent.  A 12 year old boy might take a Father-Son camping trip, or a 13-year-old girl and her mom might take a Mother-Daughter shopping trip!

22. “Double Digit Decathlon” is another idea from Everyday Confetti. Each person in the family gets to participate in 10 crazy Olympic-style games. Some ideas are, “pin the nose on the birthday boy, backward race, shock put using water balloons, etc. Have Prizes (and food) at the end!

23. I’ve heard it called a “golden” or “magical” birthday, the year that your child turns whatever age their birthdate falls on, i.e. turning 8 years old on the 8th of the month.  Make this birthday extra special by decorating with gold, glittery, or sparkly items!

24. One of my favorite birthday ideas ever comes from Emily at Jones Design Company:

She tells about a special tradition her family has when one of their children turns 13.  The entire extended family, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles join together to have a “fancy” meal with the birthday boy or girl and they speak words of encouragement, affirmation, and love to them!  This is a special night meant to help prepare the child for the sometimes-trying teen years ahead and help them have words of encouragement to draw on during those hard times.

25. And Alison at LaughHopeThrive.com shares,       

“Ten years old was the age us girls got our ears pierced. It was a celebration of maturity entering the “double digits” and the precursor to becoming a young woman.”

Making Birthdays Special for Multiples

This is something I really struggle with and especially since my boys were born right at the end of the school year which can be such a BUSY time!!!  

26. A birthday cake for each child… this is something I am not good about and so far my boys have worked it out who picks what, but I feel a little guilty that they are not getting exactly what they each want!

27. Amy at lovingourmessy.com suggests a simple… WHY HAVEN’T I THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE suggestion!!!! Sing “Happy Birthday” twice (or 3 times for triplets and so on ;)!  Why haven’t we been doing this!?! No extra stress, easy and meaningful!

28. Make sure that anything that you do individually for your singletons birthday, you do individually for each twin also….i.e. Birthday interviews, birthday gift list, a special meal out with mom, etc.  

29. Check out this great post from Rookie Mom for awesome ideas for twin birthday themes!  They are truly so creative!!!

30. Remember that you don’t have to make a huge effort to do everything separately… it’s likely your twins are so used to doing everything together that they will be perfectly happy sharing this time.  I know that my boys are!

What Matters Most

No matter what your family does for your birthday traditions, what really matters is that you show your child that you care by setting aside time to make them feel like a priority.  Maybe your child stays in the background a lot because he has siblings who are much more outgoing. This can be such a sweet time for everyone in the family to be that child’s cheerleader for the day!  And you can encourage them to take the lead! Maybe you’ll even discover a hidden talent or passion that your child has on their special day!

Want to remember these fun birthday traditions & activities?  Pin this post, 30 Simple & Memorable Birthday Traditions to your favorite Pinterest board!







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