This is a guest post by Val, from Yibba Yabba Mama
Birthdays are lovely and for many kids, celebrating at school is one of the most special days they remember. They love having the whole class sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to them, some schools hand out birthday certificates or stickers and teachers usually go out of their way make the day extra special too. For many kids, the biggest highlight is having cake at school! So, what is the best birthday treat to bring… here is the inside information…from a teacher-mummy’s point of view!
Firstly, please…do not bring in a cake! No matter how large it is, one cake to be shared with the class is every teacher’s worst nightmare! As magnificent your giant fairy toadstool cake may be, please imagine trying to cut that up into 28 identical portion controlled pieces, with exactly the same icing and same amount of lollies (remember we are teachers, we like things to match and we don’t cope with improper fractions!) Here is the scenario; your beautiful cake on a cake board, sent in with 7 candles and 28 children all huddled around eagerly waiting for a piece..but not just any piece…….”Miss, can I have the chimney part?”…”Miss, I don’t want the pink icing…”. Trying to cut your cake neatly and without accidentally stabbing a child is absolutely horrendous! (Not to mention the work place health and safety issues involved with smuggling a knife into a classroom!) Please, save your masterpiece for your back yard party!
Secondly, save yourself the stress and time….Less is More! You really do not need to go to much effort at all, for it is rarely appreciated. While many mums have burned the midnight oil baking and decorating, desperately fulfilling a child’s request of 28 Scooby Doo faced cup cakes, I have to tell you…most of it ends up in the bin! You may think your cakes will be different because you only use your great grandma’s award winning recipe (and your class teacher will agree it was delicious!) but, in reality, most of the kids will lick the icing and dump the rest of the cake in the bin, at the very most only half will be eaten. Kids are happy to taste your creations, but they won’t necessarily appreciate your fine culinary skills, so please, do not waste your precious time and efforts! (Mums, you do so much already!)
Try to remember, this is all about the birthday boy or girl. They want to share a treat and even better, something they can hand out themselves to each member of the class. This is also a whole lot less stressful for the teacher too, for individual treats can be handed out at anytime, perhaps during class, just before heading out to lunch or even to take home. Birthday kids love to hand out their own treats! If you can, please make them all the same and don’t assume all the girls will want the pink ones and only the boys will want the blue ones! Teachers want to help celebrate this special day and would rather not have to console the little boy who missed out on the last sparkly princess wand cake, and no, he does not want the blue wizard wand cake instead! It is great having identical treats with the same lollies and are the same size. (Actually, most kids are not good at making choices anyway!)
So……what makes a great birthday treat?
I think I have celebrated almost 300 birthdays at school! As I said earlier, most of these treats end up in the bin! By far, the most successful are little and easy to eat! (And your teacher will hug for you for the minimal mess on the carpet too!)
Here is a super easy idea, which will save your sanity, get you to bed on time before the big day and best of all…regard you as an awesome mum by everyone in the classroom….
Birthday Biscuits! Don’t bother baking! Go and buy a packet of Arrowroot, Granita, Marie or other plain biscuits. Spread on some coloured icing (nothing fancy; just mix up icing sugar, water and food colouring) and decorate with lollies and sprinkles to your heart’s content! The birthday boy or girl can help you do this too! The possibilities are endless and you do not need to have a degree in cake decorating! And….sometimes….the uglier the better! Think aliens and monsters..kids love that kind of stuff! Funny faces are great fun too, go crazy with eyes, noses and hair….they don’t need to be perfect; it is the imperfections that kids love the most!
If you are strapped for time, there are other things you can bring along for your child to hand out. Many supermarkets sell ready made mini cupcakes, mini donuts and mini gingerbread men (are you hearing this…mini…mini is good for treats at school!) Also, consider sending along a packet of stickers, chocolate frogs or lollipops. If you check with your child’s teacher before hand, another great idea is to bring in a box of ice blocks! (How ‘cool’ would that be on a hot summer day?)
A word about allergies…there are lots of children with food allergies and they do often miss out on birthday treats. Please do not try to accommodate for them by making your own gluten/dairy/egg or nut free treat. It is not worth the risk, allergens could be present anywhere, even in the icing, sprinkles or lollies. Some allergies are life threatening and while many teachers have first aid training, we would rather not have to use an epipen! You may want to bring in a balloon, sticker or pencil for the class mate with allergies. (Most teachers usually have a stash of these ready for allergy sufferers so they don’t have to miss out entirely.) If you are a mum of a child with allergies, you may want to consider baking half a dozen allergy free treats for your child. They can be stored in the staff room freezer and easily defrosted when a birthday is celebrated. (Check with your child’s teacher first, most will be more than happy to do this!)
Birthday treats are not essential at school, some schools may not even allow them. If you aren’t able to bring anything in, don’t feel guilty about it- your child will have a magic day at school regardless! But if you are wanting to to bring something along, have fun, think small and don’t make it stressful for you…..oh, and don’t forget to pack an extra one for the teacher!
About Yibba Yabba Mama
Hi! I’m Val. I’m a teacher by trade but for now I am mum to three gorgeous little yibba yabbas. I am not particularly good at anything, my house is a chaotic mess, I am always tired, I eat too much chocolate, I’m a dreamer and a procrastinator. Join me as I yibba yabba about my life with kids, the fun times and everything else in between!
This post was written by a guest contributor. If you are interested in ‘being my guest’ please visit Be my Guest page for more details.