57 answers

Ideas for Kindergarten Birthday

Hi Moms,

I am looking for ideas for my daughter who just started kindergarten in August and she will be turning 5 on Oct. 3rd it is a school day and I would like to take something in for a little treat for the class. The teacher mentioned that we could do this but then said no cupcakes...only healthy snacks...and it has to be store bought with a lable on it...Urgh!!! what happened to homemade cupcakes? I tend to go way overboard when it comes to my kids birthdays but it is a very special time for them and I just love to see the excitement on their little faces...Any creative, fun, cute, good ideas PLEASE! I read somewhere where one mom actually brought brocoli as a "healthy treat" yes its healthy but come on now there is something seriously wrong with that! lol Also my daughters class has 20 kids and there are only a total of 4 girls (including my daughter) She really wanted to invite the 3 girls and a couple of the boys to her Birthday party and the teacher said I would have to either choose only to invite the girls..or I would have to invite the whole class...I just don't think it's fair...What are the chances the 3 girls will even show up they've known eachother a whole month now...I don't know...for a public school this one seems to have some weird rules!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My daughter's district has a similar policy. I sent in fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, and grapes in indiviual little cupcake holders. I also sent in a candle that fit in as well, so they could sing happy birthday. Her teacher just loved it. About the invitiations, I agree with the teacher. I AM a teacher, and it becomes such an issue about who got invited and who didn't. For my daughter, we invited the whole class (the party was held 3 weeks after school started) and about 10 showed up, which worked out well. I don't think you realize how much kids talk about this with each other, even in kindergarden. Hope that helps...

I think i just saw in this months family fun a cute idea for spiffing up fruit. They made a cake out of fruit slices, watermelon on the bottom with different fruits stacked just like a wedding cake style. Then there were blueberries and raspberries tossed in the different layers. It looked so darn cute!
As for her party, you invite who she (you) want to invite. Period. You do not have to invite the whole class. The only rule I would follow is that if you only invite a few, you must not hand out invites at school.

jello cups or pudding cups, (and you can bring in a can of whip cream for a little squirt) muffins--none of that yummy icing. Bags of chips. It needs to be easy for the teacher. they do not want to spend time cutting a cake-they want to hand the kids something and then out the door for recess. Last year I did sherbet cups, that requires getting to the classroom right before treat time. those 100 calorie packs are very popular for birthdays.

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As the mom of a child with special food issues, I wanted to let you know how much it means to me when other parents take the time to bring treats to class that everyone can share in. Healthy doesn't necessarly mean green veggies, however you can still make veggies a fun snack. Use an egg slicer and split short celery stalks half way through. Repeat several times at different angles. Soak them in ice water and the split side will curl up. If you have no peanut allergies, fill the celery with peanut butter and for a special treat put a few mini chocolate chips on the top (ants). Some kids don't like raisins, everyone loves chocolate. The four or five mini chips you put on add nothing more than fun.

Fruit chunks with a yogurt dip are also a big hit. You can get the extra long toothpicks with the colored shredded cello wrap on the ends for a fun way to pick at the fruit. For a less messy snack, air popped popcorn is a big treat. It's also less expensive than about any other option. Get some colored cello wrap and make pretend popcorn balls. Just wrap a cup of popcorn into a ball shape and tie off with a ribbon or elastic.

Moms with kids like mine will thank you for not making it hard on them later when their kids come home after eating things they shouldn't.

As for the party invites, you've gotten lots of great advice already. Ditto on do what you want outside the confines of the classroom.

Have fun!

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I work at a school and we have a no homemade rule as well. This is due in part because some people just don't keep their kitchen cleans or follow proper hygeine while baking. The other aspect is allergy related. A store label will tell all ingredients and any potential risk for severe allergy children. As for healthy, we encourage that at our school as well. 20 kids hopped up on sugar while trying to teach is no picnic..

I would suggest the precut apples with carmel sauce (available in the produce section). It is healthy with a little sweetness. Tortilla chips and salsa is another tasty treat. You can even get the cups of sugar free jello or pudding in the deli section. Kids love gogurts and watermelon too.

The teacher has no say in who you invite over to your house and you can do as you choose. It's nice that she wants to spare the "feelings" of those children not invited but is completely unrealistic. Kids need to learn that life is about choices and they don't always get what they want.

Don't make the teacher responsible for passing out invitations. Get to the school early at drop off (or pick up time) and catch the parents of the children you want to invite and personnally devliver the invitations. Encourage your daughter to talk up the whole class school celebration and not the other party to avoid confusion. My kids have come home thinking they're invited to all kinds of parties just because a kid mentioned one.

It couldn't hurt to check with the office or principle to see the school's official policy. I've seen parents bring in bouncers, magicians, pizza and cake while they sit back and let us teachers do the all the work. Unfortunately, the parents that take advantage ruin it for other kids.

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I had a mom in our pre-school class who was overboard in this area and the whole class had to follow her rules. She dubbed graham crackers as cookies and we were stuck with nuts and twigs until she moved. For a special occassion, come on! What they are trying to address is childhood obesity, making healthy food choices, and allergy issues (thus the label). Try mini muffins instead of cupcakes (blueberry, carrot, or apple) and ask if you can bring in cream cheese frosting and let the kids frost their own. Good luck!

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Hi T.,
Our state has passed a ordinance in education regarding treats in the classroom. Basically, because of epidemics of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes they are trying to get a handle on the situation by controlling the school's involvement in food. The funny thing is if you see what the average child has packed in their lunch, or see what's served at the cafeteria, you wouldn't need to wonder why these epidemics seem to be occurring.
In my classroom I had parents bring in all kinds of great birthday novelties for the class. One parent brought boxes of flash cards for all the kids. Another brought a small gift bag for each child filled with school supplies (pencils, erasers, stickers, mini globes, rulers, etc.). And still another brought prepackaged apple slices and carrot sticks. I know that this isn't as fun as cake and ice cream, but kids still love it regardless.
Also, is there a reason you are just inviting children from the class? Does Madison have friends in her neighborhood, or from church, swim class, etc that could be invited? I can completely understand why the teacher is suggesting to invite the entire class or just the girls. It is absolutely devastating to the child that is NOT invited, and the teacher is often left to deal with the aftermath that the well meaning parent left behind.

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I wish I had seen the other responses before I initially wrote mine. Now, I feel I have to revise. As the mother of a 3 1/2 year-old beautiful boy with many food allergies, I was shocked by the lack of awareness by many of the other responses of how severe food allergies can be. The school is not trying to be overly controlling on this issue. Rather, they are putting the children's safety first! In many cases, severe food allergies can be a life-endagering event that no one should ever have to go through.

I am the Mom who has to alert my son's preschool teachers, coaches, team moms, and the other parents about my son's food allergies. PLEASE---OTHER MOMS--- realize that I don't do this to be controlling or to put a damper on anyone else's birthday celebration. I do it to protect my son! Since I cannot remain with him at school for every minute, it is my job as a responsible parent to let those who take care of my son in my absence know about his particular medical concerns. Any reasonable, responsible parent would do this.

You should ask your child's teacher for a list of children who have allergies that details what foods the children are allergic to. Wheat, soy, eggs, dairy (milk), and peanuts are some of the biggest culprits, and as someone else mentioned, some of the main ingredients in traditional birthday treats like cupcakes, etc. Some children are so severly allergic that they cannot even be around some of these things, especially peanuts. Keep in mind that this is something to be aware of whether it is a celebration at school or at your home or other venue. You wouldn't want your celebration ruined with an interruption by an ambulance or to put your guests in harms way, right?

I just hope this make some people a little bit more aware of what children with food allergies and their parents have to deal with every day in every situation.

After ruling out particular allergies to the following, you might want to get some pre-cut, pre-packaged fruit---apples, in particular come this way, and buy some waffle-cone bowls to serve in. You might even get some carmel dip to drizzle lightly over the apples.

I hope this helps and that your son has a wonderful birthday!


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Hi T.,
You remind me of me. I go way overboard when it comes to parties and I drive my husband nuts. I own a small party planning business though it's more of a hobby until my kids are older. My daughter's preschool has the "no cupcake" rule however the reason is because the younger kids don't really eat them and it ends up being a big crumby mess. I agree the whole "has to be healthy" gets a little ridiculous these days. Yes, you shouldn't have too much of the sweet stuff, but in moderation should be ok especially if you're otherwise a healthy eater. Otherwise it becomes the forbidden fruit. And a birthday party is one of those times "in moderation" applies. I understand the "no homemade" rule because of the issue of allergies. So save the creative homemade stuff for the actual party. For school, what about cookies and milk so the kids can dip the cookies in the milk - they love to dip. You could get your creativity out by putting together cute goody bags that they can take home.

As far as etiquette on invitations... First of all, the teacher cannot dictate who you invite to your home. Perhaps she meant if your daughter was going to hand them out in class, it would need to be that way and understandably so. However, if you invite some kids (while not others) and it's done in a respectful way (privately outside of the classroom), then there is nothing wrong with that. And if some kids find out by way of hearing others talk about it, then it's true that life doesn't always go the way you want. Hopefully they have loving parents who will explain that not everyone can always be invited to something and it's usually only someone's closest friends. Their feelings can be validated that it's ok to be disappointed but it doesn't mean the "birthday person" doesn't like them. It just means they are not best friends. If there were only 10 kids in the class, it might be nice to include everyone, but nowadays people don't have the money to have a million people for a party and I would think others would understand. Anyway, that's my two cents coming from a party planner who deals with this issue all the time. And always do what's best for you and your family.

Did you already do invitations? I just did my own daughter's for her 5th birthday. I put her handprint (using a pretty color of paint) on cardstock and wrote "Sophie's turning..." and then put a 1 on her first finger, a 2 on her second finger, 3 on third, 4 on the pinky, and then a big fancy 5 on the palm of her hand that curls up to the thumb. If you want more ideas, let me know. I specialize in unique & whimsical "message in a bottle" type invitations. I love theme parties. Are you doing a theme for the home party? For my daughter, we are having an early evening "pretend" sleepover where kids (girls & boys) come in pajamas with a sleeping bag & pillow and we do all the fun slumber party stuff and then they go home at 8pm sent off with a new toothbrush, other prizes and a breakfast treat for the morning. The cake I'm doing is so adorable. Send me a PM if you want to talk more. I love sharing ideas. Best of luck, K.

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Hi Tawyna,

Well, now we live in an age of kids who are obese, have serious peanut allergies, or who need gluten-free diets, hence your public school's rules. My son's school requests healthy snacks too--but they do not have to be store-bought. I made yellow cupcakes from Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook--full of pumpkin puree and almost no bad things. They were also the mini-muffin size. Each kid got one--the school swore that a mini-muffin would be fine--and you know, it was! The kids loved them. Since you have to have a labeled store-bought item, how about purchasing healthy muffins (bran, carrot, banana, etc.) from a Trader Joe's or another health-food store. They also sell the mini-muffin kind. Or you could get some whole-grain bagels from a bagel shop (just bring in the nutrition info card with you to the school) and give each kid half of a bagel--add a squirt of light cream cheese for a mouth, raisins or another dried fruit for eyes, stick on strips of dried apricot "hair" with another squirt of cream cheese--you get the idea. Or--for a Halloween school snack, once I took pre-sliced store-bought light cheese and used cookie cutters to cut out Halloween shapes, and served them on Halloween paper plates with low-fat whole-grain crackers, mini boxes of raisins, and store-bought sliced apples. Those were a big hit! This would work for you as your daughter has an October birthday. As far as who you get to invite to the party, I'm assuming you wanted to hand out invitations at school? In that case, I agree with the teacher. Kids get their feelings hurt easily--don't you remember the tragedy of not getting invited someplace as a kid? (Maybe you were always invited! In that case, let me tell you--not getting invited is not fun.) Besides, how would you feel if your kid was not invited to a classmate's party later that years when others were? I'd be sad--I think my kid's pretty great, and I would wonder why a mom would not want him at her kid's party (especially since your kids are so little--how can you turn away a small child? Who gets invited to little kids' parties is at the discretion of the parent, after all, and even if kids express a preference, their feelings are so fickle. My goddaughter turned seven over the summer, and my friend invited her whole Brownie troop from the year before--that's good manners.) Anyway--yeah, I think you either invite the whole class or else you send invitations to the kids' homes directly. My son's school has a no-invitation policy for that reason (which just means no invitations handed out at school). If money is a concern for you, which is why you don't want to invite the whole class--then perhaps try a party at a Pump It Up!, roller rink, Chuck E. Cheese, community swimming pool, Gymboree, zoo, etc. You get the idea--those places have pretty reasonable group prices that often include refreshments and entertainment--plus the added benefit of not having a bunch of parents and kids tromp through your own house--plus it's over in a nice, neat amount of time--PLUS the facility helps you conduct the party so YOU get to enjoy it, too!

Good luck! Happy birthday to your daughter!
:-) D. E.

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If her b-day party isn't at school than the teacher can't tell you who you can and can't invite--she can tell you what she thinks but not what you can do. Most schools now have a health and wellness policy in place, and this is good. If your child is in a public school kindergarden class that may have 30+ kids, imagine if everyone had their birthday treats at school. That is at least one party a week plus the ones they have for Halloween, December holidays, etc. Your kids end up eating junk all the time. Make their home b-day party a big deal. At school they are thrilled to be sung to, wear a crown, and maybe bring some cool stickers for the class. I like treats and let my kids eat plenty of them but our schools have become really unhealthy places and we need to address that.

jello cups or pudding cups, (and you can bring in a can of whip cream for a little squirt) muffins--none of that yummy icing. Bags of chips. It needs to be easy for the teacher. they do not want to spend time cutting a cake-they want to hand the kids something and then out the door for recess. Last year I did sherbet cups, that requires getting to the classroom right before treat time. those 100 calorie packs are very popular for birthdays.

It seems to me that the teacher is out of her mind, they are 5 years olds for petes sake! How about buying organic cupcakes, will that fly with the teacher. I but my daughter a cupcake cake for her birthday, not organic but the teacher did say no pork products because we got the kids pizza,but she goes to an adventist school (we are catholic). Also they have the sugar free version cakes and icecream. those are healthy, and besides the kids don't even finish the cake. Ask the teacher if these are her rules of the school districts because if they are just hers you may not have to be compliant.Good luck!

Allergies and food sensitivities seem to be a big problem for kids now days and that is probably the reason for the "store bought" rule. I know my son's school has a similar rule and I am grateful for it since he has a big problem with wheat and dairy and, if a parent were to bring birthday cupcakes with those allergens in for him and the other student so eat, we would pay a very dear price for that.

Now, when the school says, "healthy," I don't think they mean broccoli. I think they mean foods that are free from all the known allergens or at least labeled in such a way that you know whether or not they contain one of the main food allergens: wheat, soy, dairy, eggs. . . If you want some "healthy" birthday options, take a trip to your local whole foods market and purchase the makings for a "healthy" ice cream social: Simply Divine ice cream, Ah-Laska Chocolate syrup, Kosher marshmallows (made without any of the dies which exacerbate ADHD symptoms), organic gummy bears, chopped nuts (if that's okay), fresh fruit, bowls and spoons. Let the kids build their own ice cream sundaes and all will be satisfied without a homebaked cake.

Apparently, the "healthy snack" thing is statewide. Some ideas can include pudding cups, popcorn, juice, or fresh fruit.
It may even be fun to put candles on lowfat, whole grain muffins. Some stores sell these in the health food section.(Think small. Kids in kindergarten can't eat the gigantic ones). Good luck.
(By the way, the store bought rule (which is in most of the schools in So. Cal) is because some parents made homemade stuff,that was not cooked thoroughly, eggshell in the food,or not following proper health standards, and others got sick)

First off, you can invite who you want. But mail or contact parents directly. She can't tell you what to do. But try to get the kidst to keep it quiet so the others don't get hurt.

Ideas- Tanaka Farms in Irvine does fun tractor rides where they hand kids samples off the land- radishes, string beans, whatever. I know kids who started eating veggies after this!This time of year it's pumpkin picking! We've alos been to strawberry picks and watermelon....fun!

Depending on your budget, if it's all girls, you can do a princess dress up tea party at your house, or if budget permits, go to Libby Lu or Build a Bear in Downtonw Disney (latter for co-ed). Aquarium does cool things too. That could be good for boys/ girls.

But at 5, honestly, kids are fine with a jumpy that you can rent for $100 or so. We tend to spoil them, you know?

In regards to snacks, sugar free alternatives aren't so great because the substitutes are worse for your body than real sugar. I've done organic yogurt with fruit (chopped strawberries, blueberries, etc) and crunchy pecan granola...kids can make their own. Careful if they are allergic to nuts. Or fruit kabobs. They are fun.

Good luck.

You could get the little individually-wrapped granola or nutrition bars, then overwrap them with interesting paper, then wrap pipecleaners around that to form legs and glue on googly eyes - make little caterpillars.

Actually, I don't think it's fair not to invite the whole class. That is my rule with my kids, if you want a party and want to invite friends from school it must be all of them or none at all. I would hate for any of the kids who didn't get invited to feel left out. Likewise, I would never want my daughter to feel left out.
Snacks - thankfully we are able to bring cupcakes and the like to school still. You can look online and I'm sure you'll find plenty of creative ideas.

Good Luck!

It's still warm outside. You may consider having an ice cream sundae celebration. Kids love it. It allows for some creativity. And, it can all be store bought. Okay. It's not the healthiest. But, what's the big deal. It's a birthday!!!

As far as inviting just a few friends from school, I recommend going to the office and asking for the addresses or phone numbers of the students you want to invite. Invite them outside of school. This avoids the issue of some friends feeling left out.

Good luck and have fun!!! Don't let the system get you down!

First of all the teacher can only recommend fair ideas about who to invite. If you hand out invites outside the classroom and school she can not tell you who you can or can not invite into your home. She is probable trying to keep feelings from being hurt. It's a great idea to keep the kids who aren't invited from knowing about it and feeling left out.
As far as what to bring as a treat on the day, a lot of schools have gotten strict about homemade treats. They know this way that it's safely made. I am sure someone got sick once from a homemade treat and that was the end of that.
Maybe try out some items from the sugar free section? My grocery store has a whole section in the bakery for that. Also offer to hand out the treat as they leave. Maybe she's worried it will get the kids hyper. We had a mom once that froze Gogurts (the yogurt in the tube) and put "Happy Birthday so in so" stickers on the tubes. The kids all seemed to like that. Frozen yogurt right? ha ha.
Good luck and happy birthday to your sweet girl!

My sons' school also had a no sweets rule. I know they say they do it because they want the kids to learn about healthy eating, and because of food allergies as well. I wouldn't just bring in a sweet just because you think it's a good idea because the teacher might very well tell have you turn around at the door which could be devastating for your daughter. Also, I don't think ice cream is considered a healthy snack. I like the idea of fruit popsicles, and also many parents I know of have also brought in watermelon slices. They're great for this time of year. As your child continues on in school, you may meet teachers who are less strict about the sweets rule, and you'll have to check with them individually, but for now, I would listen to what she says. As far as the party goes, our school always said you can invite whomever you want as long as you send the invitations to the child's home and not pass it out in school, so I don't see any harm in that. Good luck !

Hi T.,

A great, cute and healthy idea would be an edible arrangement. It is a fruit arrangement that is cut into shapes and looks a bouquet of flowers. I used to own one and they have a kids line that would be perfect. Check out their website www.ediblearrangemens.com There is one in Corona, Riverside, as well as all over orange county. To save some money, pick it up yourself because they charge for delivery and look for coupons in the Inland Empire Family or Orange County Family Magazine. You might even get coupons at home or see if the store has any specials for the week.
Good luck!

First of all, it's your daugther's birthday, you can invite WHOEVER you want. You don't have to listen to the teacher. If you want to only invite 6 kids, invite 6 kids. If it's an after-school function, the teacher has NO say in it.

Secondly, the healthy treat thing came from the government, because of the obesity act. They have changed all the food at schools for kids, taken out the soda machines, etc. I was a teacher and I still gave them treats when they got A's on test (fire me, whatever!). But, as a teacher, you have to show that you are "doing your job". One treat can be kettle popcorn or something like that. You can dye the popcorn, or put a little cinnamin or sugar on it! However, you can serve 100% juice, capri suns now make 100% juice!

Third, not sure if you live around Disneyland. But a fun day to take 3 other girls to is Libby Lu in Downtown Disney. They can all get their hair, nails, and make-up done for 30 bucks a kid..then go to Rain Forest Cafe!!! I plan on doing that with my daughter for her 5th bday. I would take them to Disneyland too (hoping they also have disney passes like us).

Good luck,

You have many good ideas...for my kids I make goodie bags, penicils, stickers, bag of cookies, (and you can add some ideas from others) and have your child pass them out (after they class sings happy birthday) to all their school mates afterschool. This way each parent can determine if they want to give their child what you gave them and the teacher does not have to worry about it. Your child will enjoy what ever you do for her no matter how big or small...good luck.

Public schools just want to control everyone, even outside of the classroom! Sad! As far as the invitations go, let your daughter choose who she wants to invite and MAIL the invites to those people, don't hand them out in class.

As to the in-class b-day celebration, I agree it's dumb. I mean, our society is as screwed up as it ever was, everyone is heavier than ever, sicker than ever, and everything else, yet there is more of this type of rule than ever... obviously it's not working. Maybe rather than restricting treats, schools need to bring back more recess times and physical education class.
Maybe you can skip the snack altogether and bring in a fun art/craft project for the kids to do. Check Michaels or Oriental trading Company for ideas. Ask if you can do it outside in the fresh air (something kids are lacking in school these days and I think they would love).

What about oatmeal cookies from a bakery or from the supermarket bakery. You can't even do chocolate chip? That's what I did for my son's b-day when he was in Kinder. last March.

The rules havnt change in 19 yrs, when my son was in kindergarden the same rules he had, and the same rules for my daughter 17 yrs ago,, the store bought items is to protect the kids, if something a kid had a reaction to its on the label they can better seek the medical care they would need. Plus never know about people they dont want to take a change the food is laced with something.. << not a bad rule at all

I woulkd bring in a bucket of healthy ice cream give each one a scoop, you supply the paper bowles & plastic soons , a gallon of milk and paper cups, thats healthy

you can sprinkle the ice cream with mini choc ships a few wont hurt.

Also the rule is if you dont invite them all then dont invite any, nothing like finding out other class mates went to a party but your not invited it hurts feelings..

besides kids dont need parties every year, a decorated kitchen for them I called it there own private party room, to this day my kids would rather have the party room then the presents.. but So Sorry I am on the side of the school rules on this one, nothing weird about protecting our kids

Hi. My son's school has a similar policy for birthdays- No sweets whatsoever! What a bummer! My son's teacher recommended that parents donate a book to the classroom instead. I plan on bringing one of our birthday favorites and reading it to the classroom. My son has a birthday coming up in October and I'm faced with a similar dilemna when it comes to invitees. I plan on giving the parents invitations when the kids are already in the classroom in the morning. I'll remind them that we aren't inviting the whole class. That way they have the party info. and can choose to wait to tell their kids about it until just before the party. I've been invited to quite a few parties this way and it seems to work out well. Hope this helps and good luck!

Hey there,
I agree with not sending any food to school.
Why do they need to celebrate with food? Aren't you going to have a party at home?
The thing is, would you want your daughter to eat something that a total stranger brought for the entire class to eat?
And yes, kindergartners talk about their birthdays and who was invited and bla bla bla so I'd invite the whole class, and I'd bet perhaps half of them shows up. That way, there wont be any hurt little feelings in class for the remainder of the year.
At home, you can serve what ever you please.
But at school, a simple gathering where the class wishes a happy birthday is sufficient.

I think i just saw in this months family fun a cute idea for spiffing up fruit. They made a cake out of fruit slices, watermelon on the bottom with different fruits stacked just like a wedding cake style. Then there were blueberries and raspberries tossed in the different layers. It looked so darn cute!
As for her party, you invite who she (you) want to invite. Period. You do not have to invite the whole class. The only rule I would follow is that if you only invite a few, you must not hand out invites at school.

i know that cupcakes are fun, but there needs to be a label for one big reason, allergies! my son is allergic to wheat, so we have dealt with this kind of stuff for a few years now. a good alternative that we do is a small goodie bag with a couple little toys and a pencil. you can get all of that kind of stuff from the dollar store without breaking the bank! another thing we have done is fruit snacks. at target you can get a large box of spongebob halloween fruit snacks that has about 30 packages for a good price. fruit snacks are not the healthiest treat, but they are usually allergen free. no egg, milk, wheat, or nuts. i also at the beginning of the year take a box of fruit snacks to the teacher for her to hold on to for the year so when parents do bring in cookies, cupcakes, or the likes, my son can still celebrate with his friends and not have to miss out or deal with allergic reactions. just an idea that maybe can be passed along.

as for the invintations we had to invite the whole class, but only about half of them showed up anyways and it was only his favorite friends. most kids know if they want to go and will tell their parents that they dont want to go to so and so's party.

Hi T.,

I haven't read the other posts, so hopefully I'm not being repetitive. You could buy sugar-free jello cups. You could also buy pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, granola, nuts, and dried fruits (in bulk, if available with the labels from the store on them), then let the kids combine the ingredients to make their own trail mixes - something fun for them to do. You could include yogurt covered raisins - they're sweet, but still good for you. You can provide fun little bags (from papermart.com) for the kids to package their homemade trail mix and have something to munch on at their leisure. You could freeze a bunch of sugar-free yogurt, and let it thaw a bit while they're making their trail mix, so it's more at ice cream consistency when they're done with the trail mix. You could bring in a big watermelon, and cut it into slices in the classroom, and bring along fun cookie cutter shapes and allow the children to cut up their own fruit in fun shapes. Or, you could just pre-buy the fruit salad mixes at the grocery store (they have a label) and serve it over store-bought sugar free yogurt. If you mix the yogurt with a bit of sour cream, it makes for a yummy dip (again, just bring in the containers and mix on site). Same idea for veges and bring in the ranch dip (not necessarily healthy, but I can't imagine the teacher arguing with it). Bring in celery and peanut butter and raisins for the kids to make "ants on a log". Other ideas - pretzels: plain, yogurt covered, peanut butter filled (find out about the whole peanut allergy thing though, that's a biggie); fruit leather (similar to fruit roll ups from when we were a kid); low-fat string cheese with apple slices (use different colored apples) and slice on site - bring one of those easy apple cutters and whallah, whole apple cut in two seconds.

[A little edit]: for vege dips you can buy hummus and tzaziki sauce - a yummy cucumber dip.

Hope those ideas help.

As to your other questions - if the party is at the school, yes, you'll need to invite everyone. If it's an additional party other than the one where you're bringing food to the class, then your child can invite whomever she wants. Obviously, it would be best if you knew the parent's phone numbers or addresses so you could invite the children outside of the school day where some children might be hurt, but honestly, if they don't talk anyway...

All public schools have the rules about no cupcakes. Some even say it has to be store bought (allergies, food poisoning, terrorism) or made by their cafeteria. Broccoli -- that's ridiculous. Try thinking outside the box -- ie not food at all -- cool treat bags w/ pencils & erasers, tiny note pads, stickers, or the pinata filling toys (not candy), etc. Most schools also have the rule about inviting the whole class or not --- but generally this relates to passing the invitations out during class (of course they won't give you the addresses so you could mail the invitations either.) The way around this issue is to see if you can meet the other parents as they pick up their sons/daughters (the ones your daughter wants to invite). get their phone numbers. I have done birthday parties for my oldest girl where I invited the whole class and 18 rsvp'd but only 8 showed up (not all parents speak English). For 3rd grade I just had my daughter pass out her own invitations during recess, so the teacher had nothing to do w/ it.

Ha Ha! I totally know what you mean about going overboard! I don't have any kids but my 5 1/2 year old niece is the love of my life! We are like best friends, have very similar personalities! Anyhow. A "healthy snack" or treat suggestion: My nieces teacher suggested cool designed pencils, stickers, small coloring books, something they could use toward learning! If you still want to do a snack try a natural pre-packaged fruit snack pack from the store or Trader Joes. I think they are called like fruit leathers or Gerber Graduates make some too. I agree that homemade cupcakes are the best! For her birthday I'd say invite the whole class, ask for RSVPs, there are only 20 kids so chances half will only show up! For my nieces 4th bday I did a Princess and Pirate theme. It catered to both boys and girls, had a pirate treasure hunt that ended at a Princess Castle Pinata, made foam tiaras and pirate eye patches with glue on jewels, decorated their own cupcakes, pin the patch on the pirate, etc.! See what I mean overboard! That way boys will still want to come party! At that party including brothers and sisters that showed up with the classmates had like 20 kids participating, but some parents stayed to help. It was a blast! My sister lets me take control and she just does what I tell her to do for once, as far as helping out with the party! Just beware, I set the bar high for future kids birthday parties at her school, which was kinda funny! A lot of the kids thought they were going to have a treaure hunt at their party too! Good Luck! have fun! I have tons of party ideas so feel free to contact me! Tell your daughter happy birthday! Bet you're a proud mommy!

SO go to the store and get cookies!!! they have lables on the package. LOL
No really. I have put up with this for years. Stupid i know.
Try a fruit tray. All my kids love fruit. Get cute forks and plates and a cool party favor that all of them can take home. If they can't have cupcakes or something fun like that then give them something else that they will talk about for a few days with your daughter.
I would think that the girls would show up for a party. When my kids were in kindergarden we had parties and invited the whole class and a few boys came but most of the girls came. I find that most parents of small children want to make friends with people that have kids their kids age. that way the adults can get together and let the kids play while the adults have adult time too.
I still have two very good friends from that time. 7 years later :O)
Good luck

First of all... we do have weird rules! I am a public school teacher and in my district we are no longer allowed to give food to our students of ANY kind unless it is through the cafeteria. It is supposedly a federal law (that only our district follows). So we can't do any food for birthdays. What my students bring instead is a book for the class library (with her name in it to dedicate to the class), a goodie bag, pencils, etc. My daughter's pre-school had us bring those cups of vanilla ice cream (believe it or not ice cream is actually considered a healthy treat because it has milk).

About the invitations... I haven't heard of there being rules about who a parent can and can't invite to the party. Unless it is a school or district rule your child's teacher can't dictate that. Just pass out the invitations after school when the parents come to pick up their children. That way you don't have to go through the teacher.

Good luck!

First of all... why is the teacher "telling" you who you can and cannot invite to your daughters party? I would invite whoever you want and tell the teacher that what you do on your own time is none of her business. I sure hope that once my son gets into school (he is 14 months) he doesn't have a teacher like this!! Healthy snacks for the classroom... how about the fishy crackers that come indiviually wrapped, animal crackers in the fun little boxes, carrots and ranch, little bottles of juice (I love the little glass bottles of Martinelli's apple juice - fun & healthy), small bags of pretzels or little muffins. I am sure that you will make it fun for the kids! You can always put fun stickers on the packages or put a few items in the clear bags to make it "special". I hope your daughter has a great birthday!!

The reasons a treat is not to be sugar and must have a store label on it are: obesity and food allergies. Some kids are allergic to eggs, milk, wheat, etc - almost everything in your common cupcake. Our teachers suggest wrapping a book and send it to school for the birthday child to unwrap and the teacher reads it to the class while they enjoy a healthier snack like muffins or popcorn. Check w/ the teacher for food allergies.If there are any, google "Foods without (name of allergy food).

The reason the teacher says to either invite the whole class or not is because they are the ones that have to deal with the "left out" kids. Think about it: Your child comes home from school and says"Everyone except me and johnny and Lisa were invited to Shelley's party." One your wondering the same thing as your child "Why was my kid left out?" Now think about the teacher. All the kids in class, minus a few, get an invitation and the party is now all they talk about for days. At this age kids don't understand and they are very sensitive.
My suggestion is to ask those few parents for their address to send the invitation to. Ask them not to make a big fuss over the party with their child. Then the party comes and yes the kids will talk about it after, but not for as long as they will with the anticipation and there won't be as many of them after since about 1/4 usually don't go to the party. Or you can bite the bullet and invite the entire class. Your child is in the first month of kindergarten and this is a way for her to make more friends. My son was invited to 3 parties in the first mont of kindergarten and less than half of the class showed anyway.

The Teachers are only trying to think of all of the kids - their feelings and their health. Don't bring down the hammer on them. Their jobs are hard enough without having to deal with additional outside issues. They have around 20 kids to take care of in a day.


Totally weird!! For the class, You could make each child a little goody bag full of fruit roll ups, pretzels, etc or just go non-food items with stickers, erasers, pencils, or a combo of both. That way you can put a little card on it and say its for her birthday celebration and the kids can take it home. I always like to buy a present for the class, too, like a lego set or a favorite book and wrap it up so they can have a little class unwrapping party.

Is there a way to get the phone numbers of the kids that you want to be invited to the birthday party?? Those rules about who to invite are totally ridiculous - not everyone can invite the world to their birthday parties!! I would try to invite the kids that you want to invite on the QT - and have the party that you want to have. It is a reality of life that not everyone can attend - nor should they be required to.

Hi T.,
As a mom and school teacher, I like the idea of store bought and label food items only. You never know the hygiene habits other people may have and you don't want your child to get sick.
Ideas, I've had parents that send party favor bags with treats, another mom said small bag of chips or capri suns so the kids can eat with their lunch, another mom brought ice cream cones or was it popcycle sticks five minutes before school ended and the kids had them after school.
Good luck,

Hi T.,

I had the exact problem with my son's birthday who turned 5 in August. I couldn't bring ANY treats, healthy or not. I can respect that since some children have life threatening allergies...but I don't need to go on about that. So my son's teacher suggested donating a new book to the class. My son got to bring the book, the teacher read it to the class and put a label on the inside cover that had his name as the book donor. I found a great large book at Costco, it was 'Curious Greorge' which was totally appropiate for my son!
As far as the birthday invite, I would just invite the kids you want to invite outside of the class. It shouldn't be the teachers business who you invite to your house.
Hope this helps.

When my kids school went to no "homemade or 'junk'" foods I started bringing frozen juice bars for their birthday treats. Last year for my daughter's fifth birthday I brought these for the Kindergarten. They ate them outside under the big tree on the playground. Food for Less I've found has the best selection and lowest price, but I purchased Dreyers last week for my son's tenth birthday. They are more pricy but they were GOOD.

The kids always loved them ( I am three birthdays in ). I would however only get one or two flavors in order to prevent arguing over who gets what kind.

Kids always love popsicles and fruit bars are just healthy popsicles.

Happy B'day to Madison.



Wow. Sorry about the no cupcake rule. That's harsh- I'm a sweets person. The party invitation thing is weird, too.
As far as treats go, How about fruit or raisins? Or granola bars? I think that they make individual packets of crackers now, too. You are pretty limited when you can't do treats.


How about some fresh fruit, yogurt or maybe some crackers and cheese (goldfish crackers with string cheese). Have your child pick out special napkins or plates to bring to school with the snack. As far as sugar free -- Yuck! We don't want our children eating all that chemically engineered stuff. I like the idea of presenting a book to the class with child's name in it. It will always be a part of the classroom. It's something she and all her friends can share throughout the school year. As far as the party, I think the general rule is to mail invitations to the home of the children if you are not inviting all the children. This does protect their feeling. Would you want your daughter to come home and say that she wasn't included? They are too young to start dealing with this issue. Your child will appreciate anything you do big or small. It's all in how you present it. I hope it all works out for you.

screw the healthy teacher, I can't name one person who thinks sugar free cookies are good.

Take in cupcakes or donuts, and let the kids take one as they leave the classfoom to go home. If the teacher is worried that she'll have hiper kids after the sugar intake then let them eat them the fast 10 minutes of class. Our kindergarden teacher always did party stuff the last few minutes of class. When the kids can put their stuff away, eat a cupcake and off they go. She also said that you had to invite the intire class or no-one at all. (They're feelings get hurt). But there is nothing that says you can't give the invite to the parents while you are waiting to pick up your kids. And tell the parent to talk to their child about the party but not to talk about it at school, so that no-one gets their feeling hurt.

We are also a family that loves our kids and are happy that they were born. So we celebrate like crazy.

Good luck! J.

Since it has to be store bought, I would bring in strawberries and blueberries with mini bagels and falvored cream cheese, then bring whppied cream and allow each child to just squirt a little pile on their plate, they will it! Just make sure there are no allergies in the class first!

As far as invites. I understand the teacher's request of inviting only the girls or the whole class IF you are handing out the invites at school. If not and you are mailing them, invite the children your daughter wants, there is nothing wrong with that. Kids that are not invited most likely are not the kids that play with your daughter at school and they won't care anyway, this has been my experience.

Good luck!

The teacher CANNOT tell you who to invite to a party at your home. Invite whom ever you please. Just don't hand the invites out in class where other kids might feel left out.

Healthy snack.... apples and caramel dip? Carrots and ranch dip? Cheese and crackers? Granola bars? I know nothing takes the place of a festive, decorated cupcake homemade with love. It really does seem pretty ridiculous, I agree with you.

Our school has a healthy snack policy too. For my daughter's birthday (oct 8) I made popcorn and put it in those cute paper animal cups with lids and juice boxes. We also made goody bags with a pencil, a cute eraser and a small plastic ruler (all from bulk packages from a party store).

It is so over-the-top in the States about birthdays and treats. I live in Germany, where birthdays are a big thing. My son attends a local German school and is in 4th grade. Kids are allowed to bring anything they want, whether it is healthy or not. My son wanted to bring in two packages of Oreo cookies (we work on a US military installation and can buy US products on base) for his last birthday because his friends love them. Some of the other parents bake cookies or bring in candy. Kids with any allergies or on special diets simply don't eat what's brought in.

As for party invitations...kids here are allowed to invite whoever they want to. A birthday party at home is considered a private affair. Kids give out invitations in full view of the teacher. Of course they want kids to have good self-esteem over here too. But they also live in the real world where not everyone gets invited to a private birthday party. It's a good life lesson..kids have to learn eventually that they can't always be included in everything. I survived not being invited to other girls' birthday parties and my son has also survived the experience of not being invited to parties. Both of us have intact self-esteem.

As to your original question...some ideas for healthy treats would be: cut up fruit that kids can eat with their fingers or toothpicks (e.g. apple and pear slices, melon cubes), popsicles made with real juice, granola bars, raisins, or cheese and different types of crackers.

Yikes! The teacher should never dictate to you whom should be invited to YOUR birthday party! It is on your time and away from school grounds. Invite whom you would like but either hand the invitations to the parent or child as they leave school discreetly or mail them.
As for snacks, homemade is not allowed anymore anywhere. You can buy some cute animal cookies at the store or get some grapes AND some cupcakes. You will do fine and the kids love it anyway. No broccoli though for a party, how silly is that!!!! Have fun!!

Pizza and juice and fresh fruit for dessert is a good idea. The reason home made products are not accepted is because there have been occasions where the goodies have been laced with pot. So the districts have banned outside homemade products. Macaroni and cheese from Pizza hut is also good.
Do I understand correctly that you are having this birthday party at school? If that's the case then you should provide for the whole class, but if the party is in your home then the teacher does not have a say as to whom you can invite. But please do be discreet about party invitations since children will have their feelings hurt if only a few get invited. Think of how your child would feel if she was not invited to someone elses party.

Hi there,
You want a creative treat for the class ans store bought snacks aren't. I understand your frustration. My advice is to think of non edible treats. Bubbles are fun and can be "dressed up" by you for the ocassion (they make good clowns, ballerinas, pirates,whatever your daughter is into) Kindergatners love them! Party hats are also fun and can be home made and creative. If you want goodie bags they can be filled with colored chalk, stickers, pencils, mini playdough and a healthier snack like fun shaped pretzels.
As far as who is invited... well the teacher can determine who she is willing to hand out invitations to, but not who you invite. My advice is to give invitations discretly (do not want to cause hurt feelings to other kids) to the parent's yourself either before or after school.
Good luck

I think the schools are being more cautious now because of childhood obesity. There is nothing wrong with cupcakes in moderation, but if they served them at school, that is all that some kids would eat...sugary foods, because that is what they eat at home (sugar and junk food). Also, schools have to deal with food allergies, etc. Many schools have the rule about the store bought items now also. I think if you did a store bought fruit tray or maybe store bought low fat pudding (vanilla, because some kids are allergic to chocolate), that would be okay. I would plan a snack, but be sure to ask the teacher for final approval before purchasing so you don't waste your money. I can understand your frustration about your daughter wanting certain children from the class included but not the whole class. My son's preschool will not allow parents to bring party invitations to school to be given out either, so the kids not included will not be upset. If your own family members (your family or your in-laws) live close by, I would plan a small get together for family and maybe neighbors who know your child. If your child persists in inviting school friends, I would explain to your child that the school has a rule of inviting the whole class instead of certain friends. Personally, I don't like to buy lots of presents for my child's birthday or have big parties. Just do something special for and with your child to let her know that you love her. That is what she will remember most. I hope this helps you. Good luck in your situation.

For a healthy birthday snack, how about apple slices. I know Costco carries the box which comes with them already portioned into little single serving bags. Hope this helps.

The teacher cannot dictate who you invite to a party in your own home. As long as she invites all of the girls (there are too few to snub one- though this too is my opinion and not what you have to do) I don't see any problem with only inviting some of the boys.

Maybe some of the hundred calorie pack cookies? They are cookies but in a "healthy" amount. Kids always love fruit snacks and those come in just about every licensed shape imaginable and can have vitamin A and C in them...

Good luck!

My daughter is in 1st grade and we went through the same thing this year and last year as her birthday is the first week of school. Store bought donuts from somewhere special like Krispy Kreme is fun. Or, make fruit kabobs with cool whip to dip in - the kids love them. And as far as the party goes, invite the whole class. I'm surprised the teacher gave you this as a rule; however it is only good manners. It's just not nice to show up and pass out invites to a select group of kids; it causes hurt feelings. And, you don't want to start upsetting kids and their parents in kinder already - you have to be with these people for years! Don't worry, at this age, especially when they hardly know each other, they won't all come. Last year, out of 20 kids invited, we had three show. And, this year, out of 20, we had five. You'll be lucky if 1 in 4 shows up - and that's only five! Good luck

I second the Edible Fruit Arrangements idea:


You can order the fruit arrangement without any dip. (too bad they are not organic). The kids love it.

Fruit kabobs are great fun too. My son's preschool let the kids create their own fruit kabobs as a fun activity (and no dipping sauce is necessary).

If you need to keep allergies in mind, please remember that some kids are sensitive to dairy products too - so yogurt and puddings might be an issue.

Store-bought with a label does not necessarily mean healthy, especially with high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes being added to food, along with other ingredients that we can't even pronounce. I also agree with another post that sugar substitutes are sometimes more dangerous than sugar itself.



The restrictions on the food comes from allergies. My daughter was in kindergarten last year and there were 3 kids in her class that we had to be careful what we fed them, that is why the labels are so important so the teacher/parents can read to ensure the kids will be safe. This really is a big deal, I accidently fed my daughters friend bread that had been made in a factory that processes tree nuts (who knew) and had to be on alert for a reaction and had the epipen ready...it was not fun. Fruit is good and you can make funny faces with fruit, start with an oragne and use grapes and such for eyes and things...the small cutie oranges are great and kids love them. I take popsicles in because they typically are good (except this year there is a kid allergic to red dyes-yikes).

As far as the invites, they don't like to send invites to school if not everyone can go so mail them to the kids houses, that way you can invite whomever you want and not have issues.

Good luck, it only gets crazier!

Hi there...maybe I can shed some light on the school rules and offer a few suggestions. I am an elementary school teacher in a public school. Like you, when I was a child birthdays were a special day with lots of homemade goodies for a class party. Today is a different story, particularly if your child attends an urban school. The store bought rule comes about because not everyone keeps a clean and sanitary kitchen, or uses fresh and healthy ingredients...seriously. The label is because allergies among children (especially nuts) is getting more and more common. Labels enable the school to avoid a child having an allergic reaction by checking (teacher's are alerted about student allergies and parental preferences for food/snacks) or to help doctors diagnose what may have caused an attack. (I've seen a child go into an extreme allergic reaction to something at school...it's quite scary) The public schools in California have a healthy foods mandate. We've done healthy food parties in our classroom and the kids have loved it...we brought bananas, strawberries, graham crackers, apple slices, etc. and different dipping/toppings (yogurt, jam, etc). The kids had a "dipping" party and they tried different combinations. It was a yummy, gooey treat and they loved it. We've also done a breakfast party with cereal and fresh fruit, waffles and syrup. They loved it!

At school I tend to keep the birthday celebrations simple, and try not to impact the instructional schedule for no more than 15 minutes. First, the children really do appreciate simple things and don't need an elaborate celebration to have a good time. Second, there are many children whose parents can't afford to do something for their child's birthday or aren't inclined to celebrate their child at all. As a teacher, I try to balance letting children celebrate, but also being sensitive to other children. Many of these children may look like everything is fine, but the home story can sometimes be quite another story. Finally, as far as the party invitations...that's a new one on me. I've never told parents who can/cannot be invited to a party that is being held off campus. I would double-check that with the teacher, or clarify with the administration. Good luck planning your party and congratulations on your little one's upcoming birthday!

My daughter's district has a similar policy. I sent in fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, and grapes in indiviual little cupcake holders. I also sent in a candle that fit in as well, so they could sing happy birthday. Her teacher just loved it. About the invitiations, I agree with the teacher. I AM a teacher, and it becomes such an issue about who got invited and who didn't. For my daughter, we invited the whole class (the party was held 3 weeks after school started) and about 10 showed up, which worked out well. I don't think you realize how much kids talk about this with each other, even in kindergarden. Hope that helps...

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