In birthday celebrations, Chef Brad, How to homeschool with a preschooler, Raising Kids, Thomas Jefferson Education

We decided a couple of years ago to keep our kids’ birthdays small and the presents thoughtful partly because we didn’t want to fill the house with expensive toys the kids wouldn’t use and partly because we haven’t found the city of gold yet.

We feel that family time is underrated and wanted to spend as much of it together as possible. Brent often takes a vacation day for each of the kids’ birthdays to increase the family time. We drop our regular school schedule and opt for something fun, yet slightly educational.

Along those lines, the entire birthday budget for each kiddo is about $40-50. When times are particularly tough, the budget drops as low as $20 for treats and presents.

Today was my youngest son’s, Jesse’s, 2nd birthday.

We let Jesse and the other kids lead us in our fun day. Jesse started out by playing on our swing set.

Jesse swinging

Then we went into the garden to look for a snack. We found a huge carrot, took a few bites, then I decided we had to document our success. It was first time we had a productive garden since we moved into this house.

One of the first carrots from our garden.

Our kids love to be crafty and they love to get wet, so the kids decided to have boat races. Jared made Cambria’s and Jesse’s. The way to win: have the last that still floats.

Since everyone was cold, they decided to get the bouncy house out. Jesse is athletic and is very good at jumping. He got a lot of exercise!

After Jesse’s nap, he decided to rinse and repeat some of his morning activities. In the evening, part of the plan included having the cake Jared made by himself. Unfortunately, Jesse was asleep for the night by 7 PM, so we had to postpone cake and my husband’s (Brent’s) homemade ice cream until the next day.

Fresh Apple Chipotle Cake inspired by Chef Brad

Jesse sleeping on the couch.

We also didn’t open presents on Jesse’s birthday, which actually turned out just fine. We decided to “recycle” the older boys’ toys that they don’t use any more and wrap them up for Jesse’s birthday. Though we deep cleaned our house over the summer, we didn’t finish going through the toys. So, a few of us spent a couple of hours sorting and throwing away broken, non-donate-able toys. When we found all the Mega blocks and a few toddler friendly trucks, we put them in a box and used a belt to keep it shut. We also used a cooler for a few of the toys because he loves opening this particular cooler.

Jesse’s “wrapped” presents.

Jesse will also get a brand new ball for his birthday.

Kids love to have attention from family members. Mine have shown us that the attention is more valuable than expensive activities. They also enjoy picking out their own presents by giving us a wish list. We look at what works for the budget, what we already have the house (we don’t want a bunch of duplicate toys unless it helps for each child to have their own for a group game or group play), as well as how the wished for items fit within the family’s standards.

I called this post “birthday celebration TJED style” because we planned our activities around what inspired the kids, spent the day as a family, and instead of increasing the clutter in our house, we handed down toys. We haven’t handed down toys for the older kids unless we acquired them from another family either through hand-me-downs or garage sale. We only did this for Jesse because 2 year olds really don’t care as much about where the presents come from as they do opening a box to see what is inside.

I’m always looking for more ideas to keep birthdays simple, thoughtful, and fun that the whole family can enjoy. I’d love to find out what your family does. Thanks for sharing!

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