When your child's birthday rolls around, it's time to focus on capturing the memories you make. Beyond the everyday joys of your child's life, a birthday celebration is a milestone. It's a chance to revel in a special moment.
Make a special birthday moment for your child by creating an annual tradition that commemorates that year. Match your ideas to your child's personality and interests. Let these fun birthday ideas inspire you.
- Invent a birthday specialty. Cake isn't the only way to commemorate a birthday. Start a tradition of a muffin or pancakes (complete with birthday candles) to start the day, serve ice cream sundaes, or offer other silly birthday-only substitutes for a usual food choice.
- Play a role. Dress as a French waiter with a formal tie and white apron and take your birthday child's breakfast or dinner order. Dress as a birthday fairy to grant your child's birthday dreams. Grab your cowboy boots, bandanna, and stick horse to play deputy to your child's sheriff for the day. Dream up a birthday role that the two of you can share. Make the once-a-year event a tradition your child anticipates with excitement. You can repeat the same scenario or make it a new surprise each year.
- Paint birthday dishes. With paint-your-own dishware, you can design custom plates, bowls, and cups to be used only on your child's birthday. Surprise your child with a plate featuring a hand-painted birthday design and his or her name and birthday. You can purchase plate-decorating kits or visit a paint-your-own-pottery store.
- Fashion birthday clothes. Decorate a simple T-shirt with stamped-on letters and your child's handprint in paint. Design a new T-shirt each year, and watch the handprint grow. Or ask your child to help create each new T-shirt.
- Recruit paparazzi. Hand out disposable cameras to all the birthday party guests, and retrieve the cameras at the end of the party. You'll get wonderful angles and surprising compositions that you'd never have been able to achieve otherwise. Gather the best shots in an album, scrapbook, or online album. If you post them online, request comments and stories to go with the images, and save the stories, too. Add a new set each year.
- Designate a birthday throne. Buy an inexpensive children's chair. Every year on your child's birthday, decorate it with notes, drawings, and stickers from family and friends. Editor's Tip: When your child finally outgrows the birthday throne, keep the tradition alive. Continue to embellish it with birthday wishes, and use the chair as part of the birthday decor. Depending on its size and style, the chair might work as a cake pedestal, a photo album holder, a gift tower, or simply as a party accent.
Whatever birthday tradition you share with your child, make sure to document the experiences. You'll want to linger over the pictures and tell the stories for years to come. On the next page, check out these birthday tradition ideas that also serve as birthday keepsakes.
Continued on page 2: Keeping Birthday Party Memories