Who Needs Cupcakes?!? Planning a Healthy (& Fun!) School Birthday Party
|April 25, 2013||Posted by Stacy under Cupcakes, School parties|
I don’t know when the custom of celebrating birthdays at school started. I certainly don’t remember having cupcakes every time a classmate turned a year older. While more schools are creating policies to limit junk food in the classroom, many still don’t have any rules when it comes to parties. And if each child in a class brings in treats on his birthday? Well, let’s just say it adds up to a LOT of sugar and who knows what else.
April happens to be a big month for birthdays in my twins’ preschool class. A total of six children*, including my two kiddos, have turned (or are about to turn) five. After a string of occasions featuring ooey gooey, chemically laden sweets (think frosted cupcakes, Easter candy and green frosted Oreos for St. Patty’s Day) in March, I talked to the preschool teacher about having one group party (instead of individual celebrations) without any junk food. She was on board, so I teamed up with another mom to make it happen.
As busy working parents with five kids between us, we didn’t have a lot of time for planning. We spoke on the phone once or twice to hash out the details, then gathered an hour and fifteen minutes before the party to put it all together. Spelling out Happy Birthday with fruit was her last-minute idea–sooooo cute!
To make sure the birthday kids felt extra special, we adorned them with homemade crowns (made by a third mom who surprised us when she showed up to help–thank goodness, because we needed her!).
We kicked off the party with a super-fun birthday balloon relay. The kids were divided into two teams. To prevent the balloons from floating away, we tied them to plastic bowling pins. I’d have to say that the race was the highlight of the party.
Instead of sugary treats, each of the six April birthday kids brought in their favorite fruit for the party. We ended up with cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, pears and mangoes. No duplicates! What are the chances? When it was time to eat, we lit candles and sang the birthday song. Then, as they noshed, the kids sat in a circle and tried to guess which fruit belonged to whom.
Yes, a birthday party with only fresh fruit. As you can see, this is one unhappy bunch. Kidding! The birthday kids were proud and excited to share THEIR favorite, and I didn’t hear a single complaint or mention of anything frosted.
Parents of the April birthdays sent in baby photos (which we mounted to the wall) plus a few fun lesser-known facts about each child. Then, we played another guessing game. Which birthday kid’s favorite veggie is broccoli? Who has 11 aunts and uncles? Who has a dog named Sam?
Entertaining a group of sixteen 4-and-5-year-olds for an hour is no easy task. Next time, given their young age, I would do more physical activity (like a dance party or musical chairs) to let them get their wiggles out. Face painting, fun music and a pinata filled with school supplies could up the fun factor, too. Overall, however, I feel like we pulled it off. I can honestly say that no one seemed to miss the cupcakes. And that night, when my twins asked for dessert, I loved being able to say “YES!!”.
For more ideas on throwing a junk food-free school birthday party, see A Healthy School Birthday Party: My Wish Come True.
*It’s important to note that four out of the six kids had group birthday parties outside of school. So there have been had plenty of cupcakes and other sweet treats to go around.
How does your school handle birthdays? Got any fun ideas for celebrating without junk food? Please scroll down and leave a reply to share your thoughts.