Saturday 16 April 2011


Montessori Activity: A Unique & Meaningful Way of Celebrating Birthday

Age: From 3 year old

Traditional birthday parties often tend to focus on  presents, party bags and lots of sugary food, but what's the alternative? I am excited to come across this Montessori idea from "How to Raise an Amazing Child" by Tim Seldin of one way to make it a meaningful and unique birthday celebration for your child. I am making a summary below as a reference when planning J's future birthdays:

1. Giving a Memory Box as a Present

Keep the collection of memetos of the year in a box, so that  your child can look through them and remember the year gone by.

This includes photos, a copy of some family videos, a letter from mom and dad, some art or other objects that your child had made.

The box should be kept where he can look through them whenever he wishes.

2. Teaching the Concept of a Year as a Party Activity

Take the opportunity to teach or revise the concept of a year - which is the time it takes for the earth to go around the sun one time - by putting a candle or lamp to represent sun in the middle of the room, a long piece of yarn, representing the orbit of earth around the sun and a small globe to represent the earth.

Light the candle (or on the lamp) and explain that: "This candle/lamp represents the sun that we see in the sky. The sun is a great ball of fire that keeps on burning and doesn't go out."

Show how the earth circle around the sun by taking the globe and walking slowly around the line on the floor, saying that: "This globe represents the earth, the planet we live on. The earth goes around the sun and it takes a long time for earth to go around the sun. Every time the earth goes all the way around the sun, a whole year has gone by. It takes a year for the earth to go around the sun one time."

3. Tell the Story of the Birthday Child's Life

Tell the story of the birthday child's life year by year, from birth to the present day. Give the globe to the birthday child. Ask him to hold the globe and walk slowly around the candle/lamp on the orbit that the yarn provided each round for every year of the child's age.

Before your child begins to walk on the line, you can say that: "Today is J's birthday, and we are going to celebrate it in a special way. J is going to carry the globe and walk slowly around the line 4 times, because he is 4 years old."

"J is just beginning his journey on the earth around the sun. He hasn't been born yet. Mommy and daddy are waiting anxioulsy for his time to come, when he is born. J, would you take one stop forward please?" (J takes one step forward).

"Now J has been born. It is March 5th, 2009. He is tiny - only this big - and all wrapped up in a blanket. Mommy and daddy are so proud. Here is a picture of J as a newborn baby."

"J, would you walk all the way around the line? Stop when you get back to that spot. J is 1 year old and he is celebrating his first birthday with his family..."

When J has walked around the line the correct number of times for his present age, say: "J is now 4 years old, and today is his birthday. The earth has gone around the sun 4 times. 4 years have gone by, since J was born."

Present your child the memory box as his birthday present. End the celebration by singing a birthday song, pray for the birthday child and all in the room, then let your child blow out the candle. You may serve the cake and other goodies, if you can't do without the traditional birthday celebration :-)

Here are more birthday party ideas:

Raising An Amazing Child by Tim Seldin

We did a Montessori Birthday. You can read more about it here:

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