This month, we are going birthday crazy at Footsteps to celebrate the launch of ‘Footsteps Birthday Celebrations.’ We are holding a birthday celebration every day of the year through the Footsteps Foundation for the pre-school children we support in partnership with Child, Youth and Family.  By creating a unique and personalised celebration, our home-based early childhood teachers will reinforce to each child how unique and special they are.

To celebrate, we have decided to share with you some fun, and inexpensive birthday celebration ideas from Footsteps early childhood teachers to help make your preschooler’s birthday a very special and memorable one.

1. Have a Big Birthday Hunt– Children love to use their imagination and work together to find the hidden treasure. Why not create a birthday hunt, with a hand drawn treasure map and tokens made from old magazines. You could theme the hunt around one of your child’s interests such as animals, oceans or transport.

2. Create a ‘recycled orchestra’ and play Happy Birthday –Invite children over to make musical instruments using recycled materials from around the home. We have two free learning resource videos and activity sheets on the Footsteps website showing you how to make Bongo Pongo drums and Yoyo Shakers. When you have made your instruments, become an orchestra and create your own version of ‘Happy Birthday’.

3. Decorate cupcakes – If your child is into baking or decorating, make some cupcakes together and decorate them using different coloured icing and fruit. Let them go wild and see what creations they can come up with. If you are not a big baker, just buy some cookies and icing as this still allows your child’s creativity to shine. You can find a great recipe here.

4. Create a birthday chair – Why not decorate your child’s chair with their favourite things and some birthday items like balloons, hats and ribbons. You could go out shopping together to choose some items that your child is interested in and then spend an afternoon decorating the chair. When your child has a birthday meal, they will feel extra special.

5. Make footprint birthday art – why not mark this special occasion with a footprint painting. Check out Footsteps video ‘Happy Feet’ which shows you how to create a piece of heart-shaped art from your child’s footprints. Then write a special note inside the heart and frame on your child’s wall or keep as a special memento in an album for years to come. 

A fun birthday celebration doesn’t need to be expensive; you can use things from around the home to create activities for your child, their friends and whānau to enjoy for their special day at little cost. Always remember that love is spelt T.I.M.E, so spend lots of time together having learning fun!

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Jacqueline Taylor, mum of two, worked for 25 years in ECE and currently works as an early intervention teacher. As a qualified ECE teacher, she is especially interested in working with under 3s to understand and help them develop a strong foundation for the future.

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