Birthday Celebrations Without Food – Follow Up

I just wanted to touch base about how the birthday celebrations went!  I got to celebrate my birthday last week (setting the tone for the year), and we also had out first student birthday.  The “Me Box” and Birthday Gallery were a fabulous success!

Here are a few photos to narrate how it went.  First, I shared my items from my “Me Bag” with the class.  Then I spread them out on a table.  They were allowed to look, but not touch, throughout the day.


I then got my letter – K – and decorated!  I created a box with special craft items, only to be used for the birthday gallery.   Here is the collection of items I put together.  I also have tempera paint in a variety of colors.



Here is my decorated letter:  (I wanted it to look fancy, but also not overdone.  I wanted the kids to see that they don’t need to use everything in the box.)


Later in the week, one of my students got to share his “Me Box:”


Then his items were on display.  (My other students were very respectful about not touching the special items!)


He decorated his letter, and now our letters are rehung in the gallery.



I am very excited to watch the gallery blossom over time.  I am considering removing the fuzzy puff balls before the next birthday, just to encourage a different type of letter design.  I am concerned that the kids will think they have to use the puff balls since I did, and our first student did.  We will see.

Anyway, I am very excited about how things went, and can’t wait to see our birthday gallery grow and change!

5 Responses to Birthday Celebrations Without Food – Follow Up

  1. MTexidor September 15, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Because there are so many allergies these days (gluten, milk, peanut, etc.) I am following your lead. We are also celebrating with a “me box”. Our first birthday was last Friday and can I tell you how excited my little boy was to share his things!! The children were very respectful as well and did not disturb his items. We didn’t do the bulletin board. Our schedule is so tight I couldn’t figure out when I would be able to let him decorate. When do you?.

    • Karen Langdon September 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      So glad you are going “food free!” I know time is tight… We have about 45 minutes each afternoon of “choice time.” This is when the kids play with blocks, kitchen, play dough, etc. I am having the kids do it then. I am sure this varies depending on grade. I could also see letting the child “skip” something on a given day to decorate. Because it is literally one day out of the school year, it would not be that terrible. Hope the “me boxes” continue to be a hit!

  2. Lesley November 6, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Amazing idea..absolutely love it. Plan to use with my class next year! 😉 Thanks!

  3. Nina July 29, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    I love love love this! I follow Fairy Dust Teaching, and she tracked back to your site, which is now a favorite too! I’ve always been outside the box when it comes to classroom community, and did a version of your Me bag as well, but this year i will do it for birthdays, and completely skip food altogether! Even though I supply parents with lots of healthful ideas, we often get the cupcakes with an inch of frosting, so I’m more than happy to replace it entirely. One question I have is where to purchase the letters? So far, the least expensive I’ve seen is $3.49US, (Michael’s) which is hefty for a class of 24. Any other viable resource on that?

    Thanks for what you do!

    • Karen Langdon August 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

      Thanks Nina! I have been so happy with changing some of the rituals to do a better job of building community. Unfortunately I don’t have any good suggestions on where to purchase the letters. I purchased the first set from an online distributor (I can’t remember the company off hand). However, that did not really save me much money, because I had some children move in and out of my class during the year. So I had over purchased some letters and still had to go to Michael’s to get the rest! After that first year I opted to cut the letters out of cardboard myself. They are not quite as stylish, but the kids love decorating them just as much, and they didn’t cost a thing! I have seen other posts with Reggio inspired ideas, and I think the key really is having a personal piece of artwork in the gallery. The letter option is just one example. Hope that helps!