Ways To Celebrate Your Students


Our students are with us for approximately 7 hours each weekday.  That’s a lot of time.  Our students spend 180 days of their lives with us.  That’s a lot of time.  What better way to build our community and positive relationships over that time frame with our students than to have various CELEBRATIONS!?!  

We can celebrate our students’ milestones like birthdays, but we, as teachers, can also celebrate the little things:  a tooth that falls out, achieving a goal, moving up a level in reading, the list goes on.

We all want to feel special every now and then, so what better way to make our students feel special than to incorporate celebrations into our classrooms…no matter how small!  Whole group celebrations can lend a great hand to classroom management, but sometimes let’s face it, it’s just a FUN time!  


A common and easy celebration to have in your classroom would be the birthday celebration!  Children and adults alike celebrate their day of birth, so we definitely want to make sure we plan an idea for EVERY student in our rooms.

Well, you may be asking, what about those summer birthdays that we aren’t in school for?   You cannot forget about them!   You can choose two different options:

  1. Celebrate their “half-birthdays”!  Which is choosing the date 6 months from their actual birthday.  For example, if their summer birthday is August 1st then you want to celebrate on or around February 1st.  That would be six months for their half birthday.  
  2. Pick a date throughout the year that you notify the family and student that you will be celebrating their birthday!  I know teachers that pick dates during the last month of school to celebrate all of those summer birthdays!  

Whatever method you pick, make sure that you have an opportunity to celebrate every student’s birthday in your classroom!   

Of course, you don’t have to break the bank with tons of gifts or goodies for the entire class.  There are some easy and cheap ways to celebrate your birthdays in your room!  I turned to our amazing Facebook groups: Education to the Core,Fearless Kindergarten Teachers,Fearless First Grade Teachers, and Fearless Second Grade Teachers for some ideas not only with birthday celebrations but all of them!   Let’s see what they thought on birthdays!  

“Student gets a birthday crown and small gift from our school and gets to be the leader of the day. They are allowed to bring in their favorite book that I read (pre covid their parent could come in to read to class). We sing to them and they can bring a small item for show and tell and/or share something special that they will be doing for their birthday outside of school.” ~ Anne O. 

“Birthday crown they get to wear all day and keep. I made birthday capes for them to wear while at school and they get to be the line leader for the day. Birthday bracelet and card from me as well.” ~ Destiny M. 

“We sing Happy Birthday if student celebrates. Lots of positive wishes, pick a prize from the Treasure Chest.” ~ Lisa V. 

“Each student gets a birthday crown, certificate, pencil, and an “it’s my birthday” sticker. They get to bring in their favorite book and I read it to the class. They can bring in a special treat for a snack and we sing Happy Birthday. I take a picture of them wearing their birthday crown and send it home.” ~ Brenda D. 

“I give a pre-made bag with Happy Birthday bracelet, balloon, pencil, and tattoo. Then we sing Happy Birthday.” ~ Jennifer L. 

“I give them a birthday half hour. They get to choose what we do for 30 minutes. Your students will love this.” ~ Cheri H. 

“Students get to pick the go noodle we do, we sing happy birthday during calendar. They get to use a special chair and we do a birthday compliment from each student.” ~ Alyssa F. 

“I had alternative ed high schoolers last year and I did a birthday certificate, birthday bracelet, and pencil, and their names are on the birthday poster (no dates just name under the bday month). For being high schoolers, they were excited to get their goodies and celebrate their special day.” ~ Jessica L.

“We have a birthday box decorated like a cake. After we sing happy birthday the child can take the lid off to reveal a balloon, small present, stickers, and a card!” ~ Vicki C. 

“I have older children so I give Birthday homework passes for my subject only.” ~ Carla C. 

“Birthday bucket! I put a bunch of fun ideas on slips of paper (15 mins extra recess, new pencil for everyone, dance party, no homework for everyone that night, homework pass, extra money towards my store for everyone) and the birthday kiddo picks a slip of paper from the bucket. We celebrate by whatever is on the paper!” ~ Theresa O. 

“I have them hold a chalkboard that says happy birthday and I take a picture and then I print the picture and have their friends sign it -I also give them a bracelet, a bookmark, a sticker, and a pencil.” ~ Pam D. 

“I have a box of birthday books that people have donated. Kids get to pick a book from the birthday box, we read it to the class and the child gets to keep the book.” ~ Dorian M. 

“I give everyone a secret name on the first day and we each make one birthday card so that on their birthday it’s like a “Secret Santa” style of card. They are always excited to see who made their card.” ~ Hannah L. 

“I have a Happy Birthday music box that the kids get to play. They also get to pick out a Smencil which is a scented pencil.” ~ Jenni C. 

“I do 2 really big parties a year. The day before Thanksgiving Break to celebrate all class birthdays July 1 through Dec 31. Then on the 2nd to last Friday before school is out for Jan 1 through the end of June. Everyone who has a b-day at the designated time gets a bag of candy, a new toothbrush, and a fun pencil with an eraser. If allowed every b-day person brings in their treats on their designated day.” ~ Lorri L. 

“I have Birthday bags for everyone, birthday crowns and they bring a treat to share! We sing to them at snack time.” ~ Cheyenne R. 

“I make a big deal. Write it on the board and give them a sticker to wear “donut forget it’s my birthday”. I also tell everyone that stops in the classroom.” ~ Keirstin P. 

“I give them a birthday crown and a pencil and ask if they would like the class to sing Happy Birthday to them.” ~ Matthew W. 

“We make cards for the birthday kid. We watch a how-to-draw video of their favorite animal (usually from Art Hub for Kids) and that’s the picture on the card. They love it and it’s a fun brain break when the birthdays come.” ~ Jessica J. 

“We do a 2-minute dance party with a disco light and song of their choice.” ~ Lindsay C. 


Another great opportunity to celebrate the students in your room is to celebrate students’ hard work!  Whether they moved up a level in reading to everyone remembering to bring in an important paper signed by their family.   Sometimes our students need a little boost in confidence.  What better way than to do some of the following: 

  • Make up a funny celebration dance.  My students love when I dance and make up a little song.  Might as well pair it with a small task… like a student remembering to put their name on their paper.  
  • Positive and specific praise.  
  • Student choice!  Sometimes I let my students choose what color marker or stamper I use on their paper!  It seems so small, but they love it! 
  • SMELLY MARKERS!!   This is probably my favorite on this list.  I have sweet-smelling markers and stinky-smelling markers. I grab one of each out of the packet and I walk around to each student and ask quickly “stinky or sweet”. They get to choose which I use on their paper.   

Let’s see some other ideas from our Fearless Facebook Groups!  

 “It’s pretty much all I put on my walls and bulletin boards. Sometimes I will snap a photo of the child with their work and text it to the family.” ~ Lorelle G. 

“Have students share with class and/or partners.  Give them the choice of what is being displayed.” ~ Donna G. 

“Display their work on walls and bulletin boards.  If it is a writing piece, I ask if the child would like to read it in front of the class.  (They get to sit on my stool to read it, which to them is a huge deal!).” ~ Jenny D. 

“Praise the effort, not the outcome.” ~ Jessica V. 

“I use ClassDojo.  When a student does something well, I put their picture out for the class to see.”  ~ Theresa M. 


Look for other ways in your room to have student celebrations!   We don’t have to stick to the main ones like birthdays or completing an academic goal (although very important).  Sometimes it is a fun surprise to toss on a quick playlist and have a dance party…just because!  

  • A student lost a tooth. 
  • Fun – Friday!  (just because – we made it through another week)  I like to have Fun Friday, where we celebrate the week and then we get to play different Math Games during the afternoon!  
  • Cultural Traditions – To learn about different cultures and traditions that are either in your classroom or not, here is a great social studies lesson!   Bring in other cultures into your classroom and celebrate a special holiday tradition.  
  • Gross Motor Competitions – Perhaps a hula hoop contest is in order of who can hula hoop the longest.  Feel free to hand out some blue ribbons and certificates for various competitions, either athletic or non.  
  • 2nd Day of 2nd Grade
  • 100th Day of School

Other ideas that were taken from our Fearless Kindergarten, Fearless First Grade, and Fearless Second Grade groups are: 

“Share rotations. I also encourage my students/families to send in things that are important in their life as it comes up.” ~ Zuri T.

“Star student once a week! They make a poster, bring in a bunch of things to share, make a book about them, read a favorite book, the family sends in a letter about why they are special to them.” ~ Melissa K. 

“Ask families if they’d like to share about special traditions they may have at home. Students take great pride in talking about these with peers!” ~ Donna G. 

“They also share any holidays they celebrate with us, so I’ve learned about many cultural traditions through what they share and sometimes families bring pics or write to me to support understanding. All are a huge hit!” ~ Zuri T. 

“Special person books- I secretly choose a student. I take magnetic letters of the child’s name and place them out of order or play Hangman. After they guess, then I ask the child all their favorites: color, holidays, season, food, books, TV/movie, school subject, etc. Then everyone writes the child’s name on the top of the paper and the illustrator writes his/her name at the bottom. Then the students draw a picture of the child with some of their favorites and color. The kids write a sentence or dictate to the teacher what he/she likes about the person. Then collect them, bind them, title it “L is for Liam” date it, and give as a keepsake. The kids love these special books!” ~ Danielle R. 

“ ‘All About Me’ poster and that child gets to be the Student of the Week. They also get to be line leader and teacher’s helper for the whole week!” ~ Allison S. 

“Star Student of the week… they each get a turn.” ~ Erica M. 

“When they reach a goal they set, whole class compliments (fill their brownie tray –  cosmic brownies… complete all the parts to a potato head – chip party).” ~ Daryl T. 

C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E!   I want to celebrate you, our Teaching Trailblazer, for all the hard work that you do!   Here are TWO FREEBIES just for you!  An entire pillar of Impulse Control from our K-2 Social Emotional Learning Resource AND an awesome sample from our Sight Word Passages!  I hope you feel as special as your students do when you celebrate them!   

Remember to look for important events in your community and classroom culture.  The important thing to keep in mind is no matter what acknowledgment system or events you choose to celebrate is that you offer it to all the students sitting in front of you!   Enjoy the celebrations and remember to just have fun with it!  What other celebrations do you do with your students in your classroom?  Let us know in the comments below! 

Written by – Christopher Olson

At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.

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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.