Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that large pretzels served at a birthday party at the Montessori School of McLean were baked by a student's mother. They were bought at the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe in Arlington.
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A Birthday Celebration Without the Sweets

Even More Options

KidsPost asked readers how their schools celebrate birthdays now that many have banned cupcakes.

Thomas Jones, 8, of Gainesville, said kids at Buckland Mills donate books to the library and receive a birthday card. Alexa Regnier, 9, of Fairfax, said her teacher gives American Collector postage stamps for special occasions. Claire Hinders, 7, of Herndon, wrote that for one of her birthdays "my mom got a bunch of different-colored Post-it notepads, and I stuck birthday stickers on each one" for classmates.

"Instead of bringing sweets and junk food, at our school we bring in hats and assorted party favors," wrote Matthew Gherman, 12, of Poolesville.

Others said they bring in craft projects -- with the permission of the teacher.

Alicia Levin, a teacher at Washington Hebrew Early Childhood Center in Potomac, used to watch in dismay as sugary birthday treats sent students bouncing off the walls. On a trip to Israel last year, she discovered a new idea: the Birthday Chair.

"We decorate a chair with flowers, and the child gets to sit in it all day. We make a crown out of paper flowers, and we sing 'Happy Birthday' to them in Hebrew, English and Spanish," she said. "A lot of parents, instead of sending in treats, have gotten very creative. One sent in little bubbles, another sent in crayons with a little coloring book. . . . The kids just love it."

Some schools allow healthy treats such as carrots, celery, fruit cups with vanilla yogurt, and bagels with cream cheese.

Diane Sartori searched online for ideas about what to take to her daughter's kindergarten class at St. Leo the Great Catholic School in Fairfax. She came up with bamboo skewers of fresh fruit that she calls Magic Wands. She cut the fruit with cookie cutters to vary the shapes. Since the kids had been studying the color wheel, she lined up the pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and other fruits to match it.

Another way to celebrate a birthday is by creating a new tradition at school. Maybe your teacher would allow the birthday girl or boy to be line leader for the day or help teach the class.

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