15 Creative Birthday Traditions - Easy Ways to Celebrate Your Child's Special Day for (Almost) Free
Updated: Sep 6
The end of August signifies the beginning of the cray-cray birthday extravaganza here in the Weber house…of the 5 of us in our family, FOUR of us have birthdays within 6 weeks of each other, so needless to say it’s a super busy time of year!
Birthdays are one of those things that I’ve always made a big fuss about it…not in the lavish “Real Housewives" $15,000 toddler birthday party with unicorns and Lady Gaga way (I mean, seriously, that’s just ridiculous!), but more in the fun and meaningful celebratory way that makes the birthday kid feel extra special!
With the current Covid situation and living in California where things are still super restrictive, this year has been a bit tricky to make birthdays a unique day, so we’ve really upped our creativity game and tried to do simple, inexpensive (plus pandemic friendly) gestures to make the most of each kid’s birthday!
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Here are Our Top 15 Birthday Traditions that will not cost you an arm and a leg and in most cases do not even a penny! (besides a few supplies that you probably already have sitting around your house).
1. DOOR DECOR
We’ve been decorating our kids' bedroom door since they were basically first born!
It’s such an easy way to make the birthday boy or girl feel extra special.
We normally do signs, balloons, and streamers, but check out these ultra-cool door decor ideas to inspire you.
2. SURPRISE SCAVENGER HUNT
My middle daughter has ALWAYS loved scavenger hunts, so we create them for all sorts of occasions…birthdays, holidays, because it's raining outside, you name it!
It's a staple in our house!
If you don’t want to spend the time coming up with your own rhyming hints, there are some super cute ones on Pinterest, like this one from Britni at Playpartyplan.com
3. BIRTHDAY INTERVIEW
I love me some little kid interviews! There is nothing much funnier than hearing what little ones say when they are being interviewed!
Once you are done documenting your child's responses in a birthday interview be sure to add it to your child's baby book or memory scrapbooks - I promise you will get a chuckle for years to come when you look back at the old interview answers!
There are tons of super cute, free printable ones on Pinterest like this one from "Life With My Littles"
4. A WORD & A WISH
A tradition that we’ve done in our family for as long as I can remember is to give the birthday child a “word” that describes their best attribute and a “wish” for the upcoming year. We normally go around at a family meal together and each individual shares their “word” and “wish” with the whole family. It's such a heartfelt tradition that always makes the birthday child feel valued and loved!
5. A PARTY ON WHEELS
Covid has certainly helped bring the “birthday car caravan” higher on the birthday experience list. During the lockdown, every few days we would hear lots of blaring music and honking for someone's birthday in our neighborhood!
Even post-pandemic you can plan a vehicle birthday parade or simply decorate your own car to show everyone it’s your child’s birthday. (Fair warning, your teen might totally hate you for doing this #parentsaresoembarassing)
6. CHALK IT UP
This is one of those ideas that also got really popular during quarantine, so much so that there was a national shortage of sidewalk chalk!
I absolutely love this idea of chalking a birthday sign on your trampoline from "The House of Hendrix"!! So cool! Makes me want to buy a trampoline just to do this!
Don't have a trampoline?... Well, you can decorate your driveway or front sidewalk!
7. PARTY IN THE POTTY
The “Party in the Potty” is another one of those things you can do to embarrass your teen…I mean seriously, how funny and embarrassing is this idea!
Shout out to "The House of Hendrix" for the hilarious inspiration! (Sanitary Side Note: Be sure you give your toilet a thorough cleaning before decorating!)
8. MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
Got dry erase markers at your house?
Then that’s about all you need to add a fun sign to your child’s bathroom mirror.
You can really up your festiveness by adding some balloons and streamers like we did!
9. TEXT YOUR TEEN
Once your child is old enough to own a phone, be sure to bombard them with lots of birthday texts and silly GIFs. Although my kids act like it’s annoying, I know they secretly love it!
I mean, really, is there anything cuter than a chimp wearing a party hat saying "Happy Birthday"?
10. BOSS FOR THE DAY
Birthdays are the perfect time to make your child "King/Queen for the Day"!
What does that exactly mean in our house?
No chores for "Your Majesty"
A royal feast of what they desire at each meal (which basically means junky fast food that I never let my kids get normally - hello, Popeye's)
Sitting in the front seat and choosing the radio stations (which is a BIG DEAL in my family)
Simply make your child feel like the HEAD HONCHO for the day!
11. YARD ATTACK
You may need some accomplices to help you pull off the “yard attack”. Ask your family and friends to make signs and leave them all over your front yard to surprise the birthday child! Wouldn’t you love to look out and see this in your front yard!?!
Look how festive and fun this yard sign from StudioDIY is!
12. COUNT THE WAYS
This year was a BIG birthday for my oldest who just turned 18, so we started another new tradition...counting all the ways we love her!
So we created 18 signs that we hung all over the house that each said one thing we loved about her. Most were sentimental, but we also threw in some funny ones that are family inside jokes that brought a smile to her face.
There are also some extra things we do to celebrate in our family that do take a little investment, but I thought you might enjoy them too!
13. PARTY PLATE
Each of my kids had a special, personalized birthday plate given to them when they were born that has their name and birthdate on it.
Not only do we use it to eat on, but we also display it on a plate stand to add to the party decorations!
You can find similar ones from Amazon here
14. LUNCH BUNCH
When my kids were in elementary school, I would deliver them a special birthday lunch from their restaurant of choice. You can imagine how envious the other kids eating school and brown paper bag lunches were!
15. WATCH THEM GROW
Another year older means it’s time to document another year of growth for your child, and what better way to do that than with a measuring stick to see how tall they get each year!
When I was a kid, my grandma simply documented my height on the wall in an inconspicuous place in her home, and my mom had a giant wooden stick where she kept our measurements.
If you want to get a little fancier than my family's homemade options, Amazon has lots of cute options to track your child’s growth.
So what do you think?
Were there some ideas that were new to you??
Do you already do many of the ones listed above?
Got some of your own family traditions that I should add to my birthday arsenal of festivities?
Leave me a comment and let me know!
Until next time, cheer to celebrating another year of life with those crazy kids, and cheers to you!🥂