Birthdays are a special time of year; they come every year, right on queue…whether you want them to or not. Birthdays are filled with all sorts of traditional food, fun, games, and presents. How can literacy be incorporated throughout this year as you celebrate the many birthdays that will again come around?
For starters: Make a birthday calendar with your child. This alone will be a great literacy activity. The internet offers several free downloadable calendars in various sizes. Print off a year’s worth of calendars; particularly the calendars with room to write names on each day. Then adhere the calendars to some decorative paper, or allow your child to make their own decorative paper using various art and craft supplies. Each month could be personalized with ribbons, buttons, stamps, stickers, etc. Punch holes and use metal rings from the craft store to bind the 12 pages together, or use fun ribbons instead. The possibilities are endless! Either way, you and your child will have a wonderful time creating the calendar. Once the calendar is complete, obviously, names must fill the pages. If your child is skilled in writing, allow them to write the names of friends and family on the date of their birth. This calendar will then become more than just a calendar, but a family keepsake.
Now that you have a great new calendar filled with birth dates, here are some ways of saying happy birthday or gift ideas that will support your child’s growing love of literacy:
- Find out the birthday person’s favorite author and give them a book written by this author.
- Find out what the person’s favorite quote is and make a wooden plaque or framed paper craft of the quote.
- Don’t send a digital birthday wish. Get out the good ol’ stamps and send a personalized birthday card made just by you and the child. Include a written note.
- Make personalized bookmarks as gifts to be given throughout the year. Use thick card stock, craft paper, and ribbons. Papers can be cut with a fun edge using craft scissors or keep it a straight edge with a paper cutter.
- Write the birthday person a special poem or short story about your favorite memory with them.
One idea for including literacy in your child’s birthday celebration is to have a themed party around their favorite story book character or their favorite book. Decorations, gifts, games, and cake can all follow a literary theme. This idea is applicable to any age of child. From nursery rhymes to chapter books such as Harry Potter, the party will be a hit.
Throughout the year you and your child will be doing more than giving a gift of literacy to those you love; you will also be fostering your own love of literacy in the process.