I've joined this really neat facebook group for Children Christian Educators. There are thousands of members from all over the world. Every hour (or less) someone posts another question or request for ideas. Some are obviously more helpful to me than others - we all have specific issues, events, ideas that occur at our own churches - but I found myself having a hard time figuring out how to remember all the great things I was reading! So, I decided that when one question/request catches my attention, I'd turn it into a blog. Then I'd have the info forever :) Of course, this is based on the idea that I would also have time to write the blog :) The first one I'm going to write about is
"How do you celebrate the kids' birthdays in your church?"Great question! At my current church we do it during Sunday school and we just have a birthday bulletin board and they get to add their names when it's their month. At one church I worked in the Sunday school teacher sent cards. After reading some of these ideas I'm ready to try something different! (just to reiterate, the 10 ideas below are NOT my ideas...)
As you may already know from previous posts, I'm not a fan of having food in the classroom - at school or church - unless absolutely necessary. Too many issues surrounding food and not worth it. Plus, we are trying to teach children to eat healthy and giving them junk food every Sunday (or even once a month) isn't something I want to do...but to each his own. I'm not judging! Just my opinion. Too many allergies and special needs to think about. Anyway, some of the suggestions and ideas (that didn't center around food) really caught my eye, so I wanted to write them down. Here they are!!
First off, you have to decide WHEN you are going to celebrate the birthdays - there are many options out there...the Sunday after their birthday, once a month or once a quarter. One suggestion was one birthday bash for everyone just one time a year and then send a little something in the mail ON their birthday. Once you have the WHEN taken care of, then you can decide on the WHAT :)
1. Send/give child a card with a $5 gift certificate to the Dollar tree or Five Below. I love this idea...but with a lot of children it would be expensive.
2. Give them a fun yet simple gift - this is a really cute idea. Even my 8 year-old loves the straws at Friendly's that bend every which way!
3. I love this idea! One teacher bought a big inflatable that she brings out on birthdays and the children take their picture with it! I went to oriental trading to see if there are any biblical ones and only one popped up...
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...but I see so many possibilities with this :) Like a speech bubble, party hat, bling...very cute idea. Of course, they also have a giant flamingo which is not Biblical but so darn cute :)
4. One person shared how her youth took it upon themselves to find a way to celebrate people's birthdays in the church by handing out balloons on their special day!
5. Use your office supplies! Give out church pencils, balloons, pens, etc. We buy these in bulk anyway - Good time to use them! :) You could even make a goodie bag!
6. This idea is very clever. I read the description and didn't quite understand so I went to pinterest. Pinterest to the rescue :) I learned the correct term for this - whipple cream...or the more common term - puffy paint! You make it out of glue and shaving cream to make a "pretend cake" that will last you a very long time. The educator that suggested this said she puts real candles on the "cake" (she covered a cake pan with whipple cream) and lets them blow them out - which is the best part! Here are a few pics...click on the pink cake to see the recipe and instructions. The cake with 5 candles is whipple cream on a sponge! so cute! I really like this idea...somebody make me a whipple cake :)
7. Simple but effective - if you have a group gathering of all the children on Sundays (children's church, worship...) call up children that had birthdays that week, sing to them and give them a birthday sticker. Hey, if it works for Disneyworld it can work in church ;) Give them a little extra special attention - that's all they really want, right? :)
8. Cool...and hot idea :) If your church has a cafe, mail them a birthday card and give them a coupon for a free smoothie or hot chocolate inside! Even if you don't, we all know how great Chick Fil a is and they sell $1 ice cream cones! I bet they would give you a deal if you ask them for $1 coupons to hand out to the children at your church on their birthdays! And maybe hot chocolate in winter...
9. Mail a card during their birthday month and then on the Sunday after their birthday they get to pick from the "birthday treasure box". I'm sure oriental trading could help with this box...as well as parents. Neat idea, and lots of non-candy things you could put in it :)
10. I think a consensus was made with everyone that an old fashioned card works best...especially since now a days it's so rare! If you slip a little something personal in it as well, that makes it even better :)
11. Listing their (first) name on your facebook and/or webpage.
12. I really would like to do this one - if you have a time when you all meet together, play a silly happy birthday song from youtube and make all the birthday children (from the month/week) stand up front). You could give them a little card or something to take away with them as well...Here are some neat youtube birthday videos...
Have fun celebrating those birthdays!! Now I just have to decide which one(s) I want to do... :)