27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special

These birthday traditions for kids are both super fun and super simple! 

Great news – you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars or countless hours creating a “Pinterest-worthy” party for your kids to feel special on their birthday! 

“It’s not the party or elaborate celebration that matters; it’s the focus on the individual child for that day and a focus on their new age and development,” says Heather Ulrich, Ph.D., in Citizen Times

Here are some of our best ideas to help you do just that. Now you’ll be able to focus on your child on their special day in a way that doesn’t stress you out OR break the bank! 

Without further ado, here they are:

27 best birthday traditions for kids

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Look at baby pictures of your child 

If you have a photo album, baby book, or even tons of baby pictures of your child on your phone, take a few minutes to thumb through them with the birthday kid!

You can make this extra special by telling him or her a few cute stories about funny things they did when they were small or what they were like as a baby. 

looking at baby pictures

Write a birthday letter to your child

Every year, after you tuck your birthday boy or girl into bed, grab a piece of paper and write him or her a letter. 

You could write about things they accomplished or learned during the past year, or make a list of things you love about them at this age. Or you could record details about a major event that happened to them in the past year. 

Whatever you write, it’s a great idea to keep your letter in a safe spot, such as a small three-ring binder or folder. 

Then, someday when your child is old enough to appreciate these letters, you can give them to him or her as a special gift. 

Hold a birthday interview 

Conducting a short but sweet birthday interview is one of our favorite birthday traditions for kids! 

In fact, you can use the free Birthday Interview printable from the Jen Bradley|MOMs Free Printable Library to make this super easy! 

Simply sit down with your child on his or her birthday and ask each question, filling in the blanks as he or she answers. 

It’s an awesome idea to keep these Birthday Interview pages in a safe place, so you can look back and reminisce about your child and what he or she was like on every one of their birthdays!

birthday interview free printable

Hold a “Compliment Circle”

What is a compliment circle? Basically, it’s a chance for your birthday kid to hear how great they are!

Start by having your entire family gather around a table or sit in a circle on the floor in the living room or a bedroom. 

The birthday boy or girl gets to sit in the middle, and each person takes a turn to share what he or she loves about the birthday boy or girl. 

You can go around the circle any number of times, but the point is for the birthday kid to enjoy the spotlight and hear words of affirmation from their loved ones!

Ask family and friends to send letters or cards

If your child really appreciates words of affirmation, you may consider asking extended family or friends to send a birthday note or card in the mail for your child. 

It’s not very often that kids get real mail, so having these cards and letters arrive from afar could be a fun lead-up to their actual birthday. 

(This is also a fantastic idea if your family has recently moved!)

birthday cards are a great birthday tradition

Tell your child their birth story

On your child’s birthday, take a few minutes to tell your child about the special circumstances surrounding their birth. 

Of course, you’ll want to keep this upbeat and positive, and you can approach your child’s birth story from many angles. 

You can tell them about how you felt when you found out you were expecting, some of the funny details of your pregnancy, or how you knew it was time to go to the hospital. 

Additionally, you could tell them about preparations you made for their arrival, such as setting up their nursery or crib, gathering baby clothes, or about baby showers or sprinkles that were held for him or her. 

tell your child their birth story

Set out pictures from each of your child’s past birthdays

On the evening before your child’s birthday, set out a photo of your child on each of their previous birthdays! You can line them up on a table or countertop, or hang them up as a wall gallery. 

Then take a few minutes to tell them about each photo and a few things you remember about each of their past birthdays. This is such a wonderful birthday tradition because it creates an extra moment of bonding time for you and your child. 

Movie night with mom and dad

If your kids are a bit older, planning a fun late-night movie with mom and dad could be a super special treat! 

Your birthday boy or girl could choose the movie, the treat, and more! Staying up late can make him or her feel so grown up.

have a birthday movie night

Balloon bedroom surprise

On the night before your child’s birthday, blow up a ton of balloons after your child has gone to bed.

Then fill the floor of your kids’ room with all of the balloons while they’re asleep, so they wake up to a fun and festive surprise! 

To make this great idea much quicker and easier, we highly recommend these great balloon pumps right here!

birthday balloons in bedroom

Decorate his/her chair at the table

Another simple decoration idea is to put some special balloons or streamers at the birthday child’s spot at the table. 

Every time he or she sits down for a meal, they’ll feel loved and celebrated. 

decorated birthday chair

Allow your child to choose his or her birthday breakfast

If you have some time before school (or your child’s birthday is on a weekend, holiday, or summer), give your child the option to choose a special birthday breakfast. 

Some of our favorite birthday breakfast ideas are:

  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Crepes
  • Quiche
  • Breakfast burritos
  • French toast casserole
  • Birthday smoothies

Decorated doorway/arch

A super easy and really fun birthday tradition that’s really popular is the balloon arch! Setting up a balloon arch isn’t very expensive and it’s so easy to do! 

All you need is a simple balloon arch kit from Amazon like this and a balloon pump and you’ll be good to go! 

birthday balloons

Outdoor birthday announcement

You can either hire a service to place a giant birthday greeting in your yard or you can order a reusable, waterproof Happy Birthday sign from Amazon for 1/3 of the cost! 

Allow your child to choose their birthday cake

Allowing your child to choose his or her birthday cake is a great way to celebrate their individuality on their birthday! 

Whether you order a cake from a local bakery, make your own, or allow your child to decorate their own birthday cake, remember that the most important thing is NOT a perfect cake!

What really matters most is that your child enjoys it and feels celebrated. 

a birthday cake is one of the oldest birthday traditions

Allow your child to choose their birthday dinner

Another great way to empower your child on their special day is to allow them to choose their birthday dinner.

(And if you don’t feel like cooking, have him or her choose a favorite restaurant instead!)

Pin the image below to come back to this article in the future!

birthday traditions pin

Arrange a parent-child birthday date

Taking your birthday boy or girl out for a special date time with mom or dad (or both!) is a great idea too! 

You can allow your child to choose the venue, or you may want to surprise them – it’s totally up to you!

Some great ideas for a fun birthday date could be:

  • a trip to the bowling alley
  • going out for dinner or ice cream
  • visiting a favorite or new museum
  • going to a sports event 
  • visiting a trampoline park or bounce house
  • going miniature golfing
  • checking out a family fun center or arcade
  • going fishing or boating
  • getting a manicure or pedicure
  • going to a concert

Related article: 7 Brilliant Ways to Spend Individual Time With Your Kids

Read a special birthday book

Reading a special picture book is a wonderful birthday tradition – no matter how old your child may be! 

Here are a few of our favorite birthday books for kids:

Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss 

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Ten Rules of the Birthday Day Wish by Beth Ferry

Happy Birthday from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Take a special day trip/vacation

In lieu of throwing a birthday party at home, you may consider taking your child on a special day trip or vacation. 

Some great short day trips could be:

  • going to the zoo
  • visiting a splash park or pool
  • going camping 
  • taking a trip to the nearest big city
  • going to an amusement park
  • taking a trip to the beach

Celebrate their golden birthday

What is a golden birthday? A golden birthday is when your child is turning the same age as the date of their birthday. 

For example, if your child is turning 8 on July 8th, this would be his or her “golden” birthday. 

You could make this extra special by adding touches of gold to the party decorations, have a gold cake, wrap their gifts in gold wrapping paper, etc. 

celebrate their golden birthday

Grant your child a “Three Wishes Day”

Instead of gifts, you may consider giving your child a “Three Wishes Day” where he or she can have three wishes granted. 

Now, you probably want to set a few parameters on their wishes before their birthday, so they aren’t expecting to go on a trip to the moon! 

Having a Three Wishes Day is a great chance to get creative with some of your kid’s personal interests.

For example, if your son’s wish is to go on an African safari, you could take him on a trip to a safari or animal park or arrange for a close encounter with a specific animal at the zoo or wildlife shelter near you. 

Arrange a gift scavenger hunt

A really fun birthday tradition is to create a scavenger hunt for your child’s gifts. 

Instead of piling all of their gifts on a table, you could hide them around the house and give them clues to help them find their presents! 

This is a great idea if you want to stretch out the time your child will spend opening their gifts. 


Have a fun birthday photoshoot

To celebrate the milestone of growing another year older, have a special photoshoot featuring the birthday child. 

You don’t need to hire a professional photographer or to buy a fancy camera – all you need is your phone and an attitude of celebrating that your child is another year older!

To add a little bit of fun, you can add props such as a large foil number balloon, a birthday hat or sash, or a special birthday outfit too. 

Take a special treat to school or sports practice

If your child will be at school or attending an extracurricular event on his or her birthday, find out if you can bring a special treat for his or her classmates or teammates to enjoy together. 

(Make sure to respect any rules regarding potential allergies and whether or not any food items need to be store-bought.)

cupcakes for the team

Celebrate your child’s Birthday Eve

Kids love to anticipate their birthdays, so a really fun birthday tradition is to celebrate their Birthday Eve. 

This doesn’t have to be anything huge or well-planned out.

But doing something small, like going out for ice cream or allowing your child to open one small gift on the evening before their birthday can be a really great way to make their birthday feel extra special.

Find fancy birthday candles 

Another simple, but super fun birthday tradition is to try a different fancy birthday candle for your child’s birthday cake every year! 

There is a huge variety of specialty candles available – from trick candles, colored-flame candles, letter candles, singing candles, to spinning candles, and more! 

sparkler candles

Make a “Reasons Why We Love You” list

Some time on your child’s birthday, consider putting together a “Reasons Why We Love You” list. You can record this list on paper or write it on a whiteboard somewhere in your home. 

Hearing these special sentiments can become a treasured birthday tradition for your child each year!

Use a special birthday plate for meals

Buying and using a special birthday plate is another simple but awesome birthday tradition that kids love! 

Bring out the birthday plate for your child to use at breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and he or she will feel special all through the day! 

Give your child a birthday crown/cape/button/ribbon to wear

If your kids love to dress up, they’ll love this simple birthday tradition! 

Grab an inexpensive birthday crown, cape, button, or ribbon for your child to wear all day on their birthday. This will help others recognize the fact that it’s your child’s birthday too! 

birthday crown

Why birthday traditions for kids are important

Celebrating your child’s birthday with special traditions isn’t only a ton of fun, it also helps your kids to understand “the growing up process of aging each year and assists them in understanding what each age means and its developmental significance,” says Ulrich. 

Here are a few more reasons why special birthday traditions for kids are so important:

  1. They create continuity and consistency for kids over long-term periods of time
  2. Special celebrations help you give your kids individualized attention
  3. They give you an opportunity to demonstrate your love for your kids
  4. Siblings can be involved to strengthen whole family bonds

Of course, you don’t need to go overboard with birthday traditions for your kids!

Simply choose a few that you know you can maintain over time and start adding them to your children’s birthday celebrations little by little. 

Don’t forget to pin the image below!

pin for birthday traditions

Final thoughts on birthday traditions for kids

Birthdays are such a wonderful opportunity to help our kids feel loved and important. 

While it can be hard for a mama heart to watch your kids get older, each birthday is a special milestone for our kids. Be sure to download our FREE Birthday Interview printable to help you document and remember each of your kids’ birthdays!

Focusing on simple birthday traditions is a great way to make each birthday more meaningful and memorable too!

Related articles about birthday traditions and family fun:

5 Cheap, Easy, and Meaningful Birthday Ideas for Kids

How to Find Opportunities for Family Bonding

Pin the image below so you can come back to this article in the future!

27 great birthday traditions for kids

Which of these 27 birthday traditions for kids is your favorite? 

27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special27 Amazing Birthday Traditions That Will Help Your Kids Feel Special

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m Jen and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom who believes that meaningful connections with our families can happen in small and simple ways. Read More …


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