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under5s - birthdays
Happy Birthday!

Just saying Happy Birthday, makes me feel happy and brings back happy feelings with memories of my own childhood, what my children had for their birthday and how we celebrated, and is something that most children understand - do remember though to consider everyone in your setting if you are working in childcare as not everyone celebrates birthdays, but this could be an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of today's society, so why not have a birthday party?

Whose birthday?

If it is not your birthday, then why not choose a cuddly toy to have a birthday, and then plan a whole range of activities around it, decide how old your favorite ted is going to be, and help the children in your care plan special events for him, over the coming week - part of the fun is the organization and who to invite. By providing ted with a party, you can help develop his personality, understand what he likes and dislikes and to acknowledge our own feelings about birthdays.

Or perhaps you could celebrate someone else's birthday - like the Queen, that way you could learn more about our countries heritage and discover for yourself why she has 2 birthdays! Did you know if your children wrote to her, you will get a reply!

Activity Ideas

    Decide on a date and design your own birthday invitations, and banners saying 'Happy Birthday' - this is a great opportunity for children to practice writing for a purpose and enthusiastically as after all the whole toy box want to be invited!

    Count down the days to the party - talk about the day of the week it is on, what day it is now, and how many sleeps till then, to help build up the excitment - part of a having a birthday, I think is waiting for it to arrive.

Make birthday cards - experiment with different techniques, or reuse old ones - lots of opportunity to develop fine motor skills, to be creative, as after all Ted likes all his birthday cards to be unique.

    Party Hats are great party accessories and a real challenge to make when all the toys have such different sized heads! Older children could be challenges to design though on, you just need to provide a range of suitable resources and present them with the idea.

Go shopping - talk about what kind of present ted would like, and visit a toy shop, help select something and pay. Then have fun at home wrapping up the parcel. At the same time you could wrap up one with several layers, and play pass the parcel at ted's birthday party.

    Plan a menu for the birthday meal, write a shopping list and then go to the shops to find Ted's favorite foods - he would of course like a jar of honey (for party guests over 1 year olds), some carrots for his friend rabbit, and some jelly and cake!

    Make the party jelly - here is an opportunity to try some simple science, what happens to the jelly cubes when an adult carefully adds hot water, and what happens after it has been in the fridge?

    You then could continue cooking and make Ted his very own birthday cake and let the children help decorate it? How many candles will he need? Whilst making a cake, you will be introducing your child to weighing and measuring - don't forget to use grams, helping them compare different ingredients, teaching them about time as you wait for it to cook and of course counting on those candles and decorations.

    If you can't wait for the cake - cut up some drinking straws into different lengths, and find a large lump of playdough and encourage the children to design their own birthday cakes. Sing Happy birthday when they are done, and try to blow out the pretend candles - then cut it up, and share it out!

    Have a go at blowing out candles - be really careful here, and supervise properly, ensuring you put them away afterwards and do not leave them unattended - but it is actually quite a tricky skill to master.

    Have a party, play some party games.. dance along to a tumble tots cd (perfect for all the entertainment), spread out the party food and gather the toys around and sing Happy Birthday!

    Don't forget to take some photos of Ted's special day, so that you can talk about his birthday again, and recall events from it - that way when you have another birthday to celebrate, you can compare differences and similarities with ted.

Then afterwards - help clear up, and sit Ted down to write his Thank you letters to all his friends as he had such a wonderful time and is counting down the days till next year already!

Helen Renouf

under5s - birthdays
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