Beyond Cupcakes: School Birthday Treat Hacks

My kids’ birthdays are both in the summer, but they are as eager as the other kids to bring in treats for their class—they just do it on their half birthday. They are also quick to report who distributed a birthday treat on any given day.

Clearly, birthday treats are an important feature of any classroom.

Like many things, treat planning has become a little more complicated than it used to be. Considerations such as food allergies, school restrictions, teacher preferences, simplicity and ease of serving, preparation time, Pinterest-planted expectations, parental concerns about sugar, and cost can make the decision more overwhelming than it might otherwise be.

Happily, most of the ingredients for the birthday treats featured below can easily be added to your next  Family Fare Fast Lane order, giving you even more time for those special birthday celebrations!

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11 School Birthday Treat Hacks for Parents

Here are a few kid-approved and enjoyable yet simple birthday treat ideas to make your decision a little easier.

1 – Pretzels… With Sugar on Top

Elevate the lowly pretzel rod by dipping it in melted chocolate and then in sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. (If you don’t mind an extra step, dip it in caramel before adding the chocolate layer.) Kids love to help with the sprinkles, so be sure to involve them in the process. 

2 – Licorice Rainbows

A great idea for those rainy spring birthdays, create a rainbow scene with colorful licorice and mini marshmallows. Don’t forget the (chocolate filled) gold coin! 

3 – Bubbles

Everyone loves bubbles! For a good deal, check out Dollar General’s party packs of 24 for $3.50; larger bottles are also available at many local stores. Some teachers don’t mind an impromptu bubble-blowing party in the classroom while others prefer that the students enjoy the bubbles on the playground or at home, so give the teacher notice so that the distribution can be timed for right before recess or dismissal, if desired.

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4 – Make Fruit Fun

Birthday treat fruit kabob

Who can argue with fruit? The possibilities are endless and can be as simple or involved as you want them to be.

  • Grab a Sharpie and a package of stick-on googly eyes to dress bananas as Minions.
  • Have your child write short messages on Clementine Cuties. (Or provide plain Clementines—that’s fine, too!)
  • String chunks of fruit into kabobs (no sharp sticks though, please). For kabobs, save time and knife-washing by purchasing ready-made fruit salad.

This may be the easiest option for the super busy mom. You can make it even quicker to finish by ordering ahead and picking up from Fast-Lane Pickup service at Family Fare—they’ll bring your purchase out to your vehicle and birthday treat anxiety is gone

5 – Kids Love Balloons

birthday party treat balloon animals

Balloons go hand-in-hand with celebrating. Younger kids will appreciate any balloon to take home, and punching balloons are great for bigger kids.

Another twist on the balloon is balloon animals. For older kids, package a long, skinny balloon with a printout of instructions for a balloon animal, such as this one. Make sure to provide the type of balloons intended for sculptures, which are extra-long and much more flexible than the regular kind. A Balloon Animals Kit from Party City will ensure the correct balloon type for this and includes 40 balloons—plenty for all.

6 – Gift the Classroom New Books

In honor of your child’s birthday, purchase a book for the classroom that the teacher (or you, or the birthday kid) can read to the class. If you are stuck for ideas, ask the teacher for his or her wish list or your favorite librarian for age-appropriate suggestions.

7 – Put Together Special Candy Kabobs

Customize kabobs with your child’s favorite candy. Cut larger pieces down to size and put on toothpicks.

8 – Butterfly Snack Bag is Easy, and has High Impact

birthday party treat butterfly snack bags

Make a variation of the Pinterest-favorite “butterfly snack bag.” The easy version just involved twisting a pipe cleaner. Or, you can get fancy and do the clothespin version and customize each clothespin with each child’s name with a magnet on the back so kids can display notes or drawings on the fridge at home.

9 – Snack Mix

Snack mix is easy to personalize with your child’s favorites (cereal, pretzels, dried cranberries, M&Ms, marshmallows) while customizing to class allergy concerns. For a low-waste, extra-tasty option, serve it in flat-bottomed cones instead of plastic bags.

10 – Watercolors

birthday party treat painting

Foster creativity—and fun—with a tray of kid watercolors. These can be had for less than 50 cents each at Oriental Trading and are, of course, also available at many local stores.

11 – Dress Up Donuts

Photo Credit: Kelly Rawson

You can do a lot with a donut and just a few embelishments. (Krispy Kreme is known to be more allergy-friendly.) From adding fangs to create a spooky mouth to dabbing on a bit of icing with a brush, a donut is now your new canvas.

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