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Celebrating Class Birthdays on a Teacher Budget

By Naomi O'Brien


I don’t know about you all, but when a birthday comes around in my classroom, I love to celebrate it (if that’s allowed in that particular student’s culture).
I WISH I could give each student some awesome gift to take home and cherish; a toy, a book, or a new hat, but that is definitely out of the question when I average 24-28 students per year!
I always want to do SOMETHING though, and the answer to my prayers was at Dollar Tree!
The best solution that leaves me happy and my students excited and feeling special costs less than $20! Like for the whole year!
WHAT I BUY: I buy two of the decorative balloon weights, that my son can be seen holding in the picture above. On the student’s birthday (or the Friday before, if it falls on a weekend) I let them place the weight on their desk for the day. It is so SIMPLE, but they absolutely LOVE IT! Of course rules are given about not playing with it, or other friends moving it, but they are always SO good about making sure it’s not a distraction. I buy two in case there are two birthdays that fall on the same day. 
Cost: $2
*If a student’s birthday is over summer or winter break, I arrange a day to randomly celebrate during the year.
WHAT I BUY: I buy a few packages crazy straws. All kids love crazy straws, am I right? They are so excited to have something to take home and use time and time again. There are 8 in a pack and I pick up 4 to be safe.
Cost: $4
WHAT I BUY: I buy foil tiaras! It makes the kids feel really special to have a shiny sign on their heads that screams, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” Who wouldn’t? I let students wear them in class and to specials, but not to recess or lunch so they don’t get lost or stolen. There are 4 in a pack so I buy 8.
Cost: $8
That’s what works in my classroom! I hope you enjoyed this idea!



Hi, I'm Naomi

I have been teaching elementary students for over 10 years. Effective reading instruction and accurate social studies at the primary level are huge passions of mine! 

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