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Fun and Unique Birthday Ideas and Traditions For Kids

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is celebrating my kids' birthdays. I love to make them feel special, especially in new and unique ways. I like to change things up, so some things are one time deals while others become tradition. Let me add, ALL of these are free or inexpensive!

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Birthday Countdown

I haven't done this one before, but I know it will be perfect when my youngest turns 5! Its a big birthday, and I know the anticipation will start building early! has a list of 10 free birthday countdown printables.

Use Photos As Decor

I enjoy incorporating photos of my boys into their celebrations, and they really like it too. Weather you use baby pictures, current pictures or a mixture, seeing their growth is so heart warming. This is pretty much a tradition for us, sometimes it's putting photos on mantel, other times its creating a number on the wall, or it may be putting together a poster photo collage.

Create Photo Ops

Making fun photo-ops, creating a win-win for moms and party goers. The kids have fun, while you get some great shots. In the first photo below, I made a Daniel Tiger Trolley from a science board and the second is just and inexpensive scene setter. I originally bought it on sale at Party City but you can also get it here on Amazon. The Mario Bros scene setter came with props which was fun. (Lots of Super Mario party ideas here.) I even decorated the hotel room when we went to Carlsbad to celebrate 5 and 3 one year!

Present Scavenger Hunt

This year was the first year I did this one, and it was a big hit! My very particular 9 year old was worried his actual birthday would be boring since he went to Legoland on a different day and his party with cousins on a different day. (Speaking of Legoland, here are my top 10 tips.) After the scavenger hunt, he thanked me for always doing extra to make things special. It worked out that I had about 7-8 gifts, so my birthday boy was able to find one gift in several spots. And, I actually had a great time hiding setting it up the night before. These are the cards I bought because they went with his Harry Potter theme, but you can get FREE printable cards at AND

Birthday Shirts

This one is definitely a tradition. I think pretty much every year my kids have had some kind of special shirt for their birthday. Some years I've bought them, other years me or my sister made them. (Here's where having a cricut comes in handy.) Sometimes they are on theme or sometimes show their age. Sometimes, brothers and cousins get new shirts too!

I particularly love the "Fournado" shirt my sister made for my oldest. We used that as his truck name for his Monster Truck Party. If you go to an amusement park with then on, you will get lots of Happy Birthdays from people who work there and guests alike! They also work the same way when the kids wear them to school too!

Birthday Breakfast

Birthdays in our house usual start with the sun coming up and the kids are ready to start the festivities ASAP. When my dragons were really little I liked to start with something healthy like toddler pancakes because there would be a lot of treats throughout the day. Another really cool healthy idea is Birthday Overnight Oats. These days, we usually start with cinnamon rolls or donuts, but we did do a fun Avengers brunch with Marvel waffles for my Baby Dragon's third birthday! More Avengers Party Food here. For a birthday cake waffle recipe check out

Birthday Time Capsule

On my oldest Dragon's first birthday, I asked guests to bring an item that represents the year he was born, anything from the date he was born to the date of his first birthday. We got some unique items like a 2 dollar bill from that year, a patch from a spacecraft that launched that year and a newspaper section from his birthday. You can also include letters from parents and grandparents. I recently came across this personalized custom first birthday time capsule box.

Birthday Journal or Interview

As my kids are getting older and can write on their own, I love that they can memorialize their own thoughts on paper. They can explain their favorites and why they love what they love instead of mommy writing it in a baby book. has a great list of journaling prompts that include things like changes they have made this year and goals for next year. has free birthday Interview printables as well.

Make A Keepsake

For my middle Dragon's first birthday I made him a special plate. It was a fun project I did at a paint place on Mother's Day with my mom and sister. So lots of memories with this Keepsake. You could also do stepping stones every year. suggests creating a tradition of making a yearly family stepping stone and includes all the directions. has some good tips on stepping stones as well. A hand print keepsake, is always something I treasure. We made these party hat hand prints on New Years but would work equally well on a birthday!

Gifts or Treats for Classmates/Teammates

I'm sure you've brought in cupcakes for classmates, and kids love it! But something I've found the kids go crazy for are goodie bags too. I like to give them something more than candy that they can keep. Last year my son's birthday theme was sharks. I found these cute shark cups and I sent party hats in too!

Birthday Video From Relatives

Baby Dragon's first birthday was at the beginning of the pandemic where parties were out of the question. I asked relatives to send a small video and I put all the birthday wishes together. Now the pandemic is over, but it still would make precious video for littles to have. If you have a party you could always make the video there. 🙂

It doesn't always have to be cake.

My mom has made my kids some awesome cakes in the past few years, and we've bought some tasty ones too! But sometimes it fun and memorable to change it up! My baby Dragon's second birthday was farm themed and we had ice cream with animal crackers, and for my middle Dragon's 5th beach themed birthday, we had blue mermaid flavor ice cream with crushed Graham crackers for sand with gummy sharks inside. (Now you might say, wait he had a 5 shirt on in the Super Mario party picks. Good eye! He had a special beach day on his birthday and three boys had a cousins party on a different day, since all of their birthdays are within a week period.)

Don't forget birthday freebies!

Who doesn't love a free gift or treat on their birthday?? I personally love Sephora's birthday gift and stopping by Starbucks for my free drink but there's plenty of things for kids too! Baskin Robbins being one them! The Krazy Coupon Lady has a great list freebies on her site.

Happy Planning!

Dragon Mama

Thanks for sharing!

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