Birthday Rocks

Celebrating birthdays with classroom traditions is an important component in setting up my class community.

Each child’s birthday is celebrated exactly the same — and it is deeply meaningful. I am amazed at the comfort the children take in the sameness of the tradition. There is no competition. The sameness allows the class to bring honor to each child.

One of the traditions is to give the birthday child a birthday rock. It is easy peasy and fast to make! They are beloved.

I present this simple rock and say something like, “This rock is a reminder that 5 years ago today a special baby was born.” Every. Single. Time. The child glows.  I love giving simple gifts and imbuing them with wonder.  I hold the rock like it is solid gold.

What is your favorite birthday tradition?


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  1. Marion Wunsch says:

    Wonderful idea! Every time they look at the little rock it reminds them how special and unique they are!!

  2. Sherry says:

    I am interested to know how you would work this when you have a child in the group, where the parents have requested no celebration of birthdays, for religious reasons.

    • Sally says:

      My practice has always been to have the child who does not celebrate birthdays go to another classroom during celebrations. I have a talk with that child at the beginning of the year really honoring and uplifting their family beliefs. The child, family and I share ideas of what they will do and where they will go during celebrations. One year, the child had a favorite art book with glitter crayons we kept tucked away. Just before the birthday celebration – she would go to another classroom and sit quietly with her treasures. It was special and honored her and her family.

      • Sherry says:

        Thanks Sally. I would need to think a lot more about it. (We have no other classrooms for the child to go to). Our children are a lot younger too.

  3. PSmith says:

    I love it! Such a cute idea. I’m going to do it!

    • Sally says:

      Yay! I’d love to see photos!!

  4. Anne Cude says:

    I love this idea. Thank you

    • Sally says:

      I love it because it is super easy and beloved!

  5. Nina says:

    I think I got this idea from you a while back, or maybe a link to another teacher you recommended? We use paper mache letters – one for each child’s first name. They are mounted on a bulletin board with a little card that says “reserved for _____,” and has their birthdate on it (or half bday). On the child’s birthday/half bday, the letter comes off the wall, and the child decorates their initial with whatever they’d like, i.e. paint, glitter, stickers, beads, buttons, etc. By the end of the year our community of letters is gorgeous!

  6. Tanya says:

    What about kids that their birthdays are douring a break or summer vacation? Can they decorate it together before the break?

    • Sally says:

      That would be great! Some classes pick a “half birthday” date to celebrate, but you could just pick a special day for those students who are on break or have summer birthdays. The children will feel so special.

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