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Toddler Birthday Activities and Ideas

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/5/2012

These toddler birthday activities are sure to have your birthday boy or girl grinning from ear to ear on their special day! Use some or all of them to let your children know you are glad they are there.

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    As educators, we sometimes take it for granted that the children's lives at home are exactly what we want them to be. On the other hand, we may think that one particular child needs a special birthday. The fact is that every child deserves a special birthday. Though you can't possibly decide what goes on in their homes, you can certainly give them a good birthday while they are with you! With just a little bit of effort, your toddlers can have a wonderful birthday and know that they are someone special.

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    Special Activities

    For these toddler birthday activities you will need a blank paintable picture frame from any craft store, a variety of tempera paints, paper plates, a sheet of poster board, a digital camera and a poem or letter from you, the teacher. It helps to have the special birthday child absent from the classroom while you are preparing the gifts. Ask a fellow teacher or possibly a librarian, if your school has one, to take the birthday student from the room for some one-on-one time or a special activity.

    Follow the instructions below to complete these toddler birthday activities. There are actually two activities done at the same time in these instructions:

    Birthday Card Artwork

    • Fold the poster board in half so that it looks like a large card.
    • Place shallow puddles of tempera paints in the paper plates at a height that is difficult for the children to reach.
    • Prepare the frame for painting.
    • Take each child individually and ask them to lay their hands flat on the tempera paint, then to place their hands flat on the poster board so that they leave a hand print on the front of the card.
    • Allow card to dry. You may wish to use a small, portable fan to speed the drying process.
    • While the child is still messy with paint, move on to the second of the toddler birthday activities.

    Keepsake Picture Frame

    • Have the child dip their fingertips in the tempera paint.
    • Guide the child so that they can lay their fingertips on the picture frame to leave fingerprints on the frame.
    • Allow frame to dry. Again, you may wish to use a small fan to speed the process.
    • Wash the child's hands.

    Repeat these toddler birthday activities with every student in the class. When the students are done, attach a copy of the poem or letter to the inside of the card as your gift to the birthday child. When the birthday child returns to the classroom, do the birthday snack and song. Then, take a picture of the child in front of the other children in the class. Print the picture out and place it inside the frame. Give the card and picture frame to the child as their birthday gift from the class with well wishes.

    These are fun activities that can get the whole class involved. It can also be very educational if you have each child describe what color they used for their hand prints. Have fun with the toddler birthday activities and put your own creativity into the celebration.

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    Basic Activities

    As a reminder, here are some basic ideas that should be a part of every toddler's birthday:

    • Whether it's a cake or not, birthdays require special treats. A lot of times the parents bring a special treat for the birthday child, but you should still be prepared to have something of your own to contribute - just in case. Whether it is the child's favorite snack or it's the same for every birthday in the class, make sure you have a special snack.
    • Birthday crowns. Shouldn't every birthday child be king or queen for a day? You can purchase or make a crown with very little effort. Some construction paper and special scissors is all you really need!
    • There is the traditional birthday song to be sung - but maybe you have a different version of the song! The main idea is for all eyes to be on the child so that, if even for only a few moments, that child has all the attention.

    When you put all of these toddler birthday activities together, you can give the children in your class a day to embrace as all their own.

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    Remember to Create Birthday Activities for All of Your Toddlers

    Remember, you may have children that are not year-round attendees. Be sure to pick a day in a month sparse of birthdays and have a birthday celebration for them, too. Let them know that you are aware it's not their birthday, but that you simply wanted to let them know that you are glad they are there in class with you and that you will miss seeing them on their actual birthday.

    Read about the best preschool party games right here on Bright Hub!