You don’t need to throw a huge party to make memories that will last a lifetime when you have these 5 fun and easy birthday traditions.
(Note: This Article was Updated in April 2018)
Confession: Sometimes I get tired of planning big birthday parties.
Well, I love the planning part. I could pull together ideas for a dozen different party themes every single day and never be tired.
My problem is that I have a hard time stopping myself.
So, when party time comes, I’m running around like a crazy person trying to put it all together. It’s exhausting.
And you know what? Our kids are going to grow out of having birthday parties at some point. Then what?
So, while I may still go nuts for the kids parties, I’ve been thinking about creating a few new birthday traditions that our kids can enjoy long after the birthday party phase is over.
Plus, having other birthday traditions gives our kids something to look forward to each year, while also creating fond memories for years to come.
It’s a total win.
5 Birthday Traditions that Don’t Require a Big Party
Make a Special Breakfast
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This is my favorite way to start off our kids’ birthdays.
Why? Well, it’s the easiest way to get the day off to a spectacular start. All it takes is just a little bit of thought and preparation.
Plus, breakfast is our kids’ favorite meal of the day, so getting something extra special makes the
Here are a few of our favorite special breakfasts:
- Donuts in the birthday kids’ favorite colors
- Cinnamon rolls with extra icing and sprinkles
- Head out to the birthday kids’ favorite brunch spot
- All-marshmallows cereal
- Make a pancake cake like this one from Sugar Swings
Sneak in a Special Birthday Morning Surprise
We’re all familiar with the phrase “It’s the thought that counts.”
Well, this birthday tradition is all about thought.
What you do: While your kid is asleep the night before their birthday, you take some time to set up an extra-special surprise either in their bedroom or right outside their bedroom. That way, they will be greeted with celebration from the moment they wake up.
Fair Warning: Doing this every year may be going a bit overboard, but it’s a great idea for milestone birthdays, or if your kid is having to deal with some big transitions (new baby, tough time at school, family illnesses).
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Blow up a few dozen balloons and sneak them in the room while your child sleeps
- Hang streamers on the birthday kids’ door
- Fill helium balloons and add baby pictures to the strings at the bottom
- Cover the bedroom door with plastic and add balloons underneath to create a balloon avalanche when the birthday kid opens his or her door.
Tip: Don’t forget to shop your house for supplies! If you have extra balloons and streamers left over from parties, then it won’t cost you anything more than your time.
Leave Special Messages All Over the House
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This is another fun idea that can be as big or as small as you want!
But the basic idea is that you leave messages around the house to surprise the birthday kid and to let them know how special they really are.
This will probably be one of those birthday traditions that adapts well as your child gets older, too.
Feel free to get creative with this one, but I like these ideas:
- Write on mirrors and windows with window crayons like Skip to My Lou did for her kids’ 17th birthday
- Put post-its with little love notes on their toothbrush, in their drawer, or anywhere else that is hidden in plain sight
- Have older siblings help out and create a birthday sign with a big chalkboard
- Put a special note (and snack) in the birthday kid’s lunch box.
Make Time to Craft Together Every Year
(Photo used with permission from Where the Smiles Have Been)
Okay, so the tweens and teenagers may start groaning about this, but I love it.
I first saw this birthday tradition over at Where The Smiles Have Been, where Christine shows how she makes a new piece of canvas art with her son each year. The results are just adorable!
But, it got me thinking about how many other ways you could incorporate one-on-one crafting time with your kids for their birthdays:
- Make canvas art, like Christine does
- Visit a do-it-yourself pottery store to make a new ornament for your Christmas tree
- Make a birthday scrapbook just for the birthday kid, and add in one new page each year, with photos and special highlights from the year
- Have the birthday kid take part in crafting some of the birthday party decorations
Fill Out a Birthday Interview
We started interviewing our kids on their third birthdays, and it’s quickly become a favorite birthday tradition.
It’s so much fun to go back and see what the kids’ answers were year after year. And they love to see how the responses change over the years, too.
You can ask any questions you want, or you can download a FREE copy of the birthday interview you see above. Then you (or your kid) can fill out the answers and add them to a binder or a folder to keep for next year.
It’s available in two colors too!
All you have to do to get it is to opt-in to one of the subscription boxes on this page. Then, you’ll be sent the password to the Resources Directory, which is filled with fun printables just like this. (and more is added regularly, too!)
Seriously, we have some true family gems from this tradition. Like the time one of our kids said that she wants to a mommy or a teacher so she can be the boss. You’ll definitely want to grab your copy today!
Now, It’s Your Turn
See? You don’t have to plan huge birthday parties to make your child feel special. All it takes is one of these fun birthday traditions to make memories that will truly last a lifetime. And, with the free printable birthday interview it’s easier than ever to get started! Now I want to know…
Do you have any birthday traditions with your kids?
How do you make your kids feel special?
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