We often hear of Montessori birthday celebrations for 3-6 year olds. But what about younger children? My family found that Montessori birthday celebrations can be simple and meaningful even for 1 year olds.
I’m going to tell about our Montessori birthday celebrations for my Montessori toddler grandkids, Sophia (now 16 months) and Caleb (now 13 months).
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I’ve written about the beautiful Montessori birthday celebration: “Montessori Birthday Celebration – A Lovely Celebration of Life Ceremony” (a roundup of ideas for a celebration of life) and “Free Celebration of Life Songs and Printables for a Montessori Birthday.”
Materials for a Montessori Birthday at Home
Materials We Used:
- Free sun printable from Clker.com
- Candle to represent the sun (I used an LED candle as a tradition, especially for safety when I have babies and toddlers around. Preschoolers can use a real candle with close supervision or an LED candle.)
- Free Month Labels by Ms Amy’s Learning Toolbox at Teachers Pay Teachers (I lay out the months counterclockwise … the same way the earth revolves around the sun.)
- Montessori globe or another type of globe to represent the earth (For 1 year olds, I like to use the earth from our Hugg-a-Planet Earth and Moon set. An inflatable globe would be good as well.)
- Photo for birth and the toddler’s first birthday.
- Script starting with birth and telling about the first year of the toddler’s life.
Note: After the 1st birthday celebrations, I got a new set of Montessori birthday printables. They aren’t free, but they’re part of the fabulous Montessori-Inspired Sun Printable Pack from Every Star Is Different. I like that they’re a coordinated set. You can read more about the sun pack here.
If you prefer, for a toddler’s first birthday, you could have a photo for each month or a number of photos throughout the first year, similar to how A Full Flourishing celebrated their toddler’s first birthday. If it’s your first child, you might prefer to do a ceremony like that.
Because we’ve had Montessori birthday celebrations for Zoey, it was simplest for us to use the same materials we use for Zoey’s birthday celebrations and just add a new script and two photos. Do what works best for your own family.
Our Montessori Birthday Ceremony for Sophia at 1 Year Old
In December, we had a Montessori family celebration for Sophia’s 1st birthday. It wasn’t right on her birthday, which is fine. It’s often best to have a very small celebration with a 1 year old. It was attended by Zoey’s parents (my son, Will, and daughter-in-law, Chea), Zoey’s aunt and uncle (my daughter, Christina, and son-in-law, Tom), Christina and Tom’s son, Caleb, my husband, Terry, and me. Sophia had already had a small birthday party with family members and a few close family friends.
In a classroom, you’ll typically see the children sitting in a large circle or ellipse around the outside of the layout with enough room for the birthday child to walk around the “sun.” For a family birthday, the family members might be more comfortable sitting on the sofa and/or on chairs. That’s what our family does.
In our family, the child’s mom or dad prepares a script and typically brings a photo for each year. You could just spontaneously talk about each year if you prefer not to prepare a script.
By tradition, Sophia’s birth would be read about and newborn photo shown. Then Sophia would walk once around the “sun” as we all sing to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”:
The Earth goes around the sun! (You’ll find variations in my posts linked below.)
After Sophia walks around the sun, the script would be read for her first birthday. (In later years, for each year of life, there will be walking and singing, script reading, and photo showing before doing the process again for each additional year.)
With a 1 year old, it doesn’t go quite that way, though!
Chea gave Sophia direction to get her started. Of course, as a 12-month-old, Sophia didn’t walk exactly “around the sun” and did drop the globe.
So Sophia’s 5-year-old sister, Zoey, brought the Hugg-a-Planet Earth and showed Sophia how to walk “around the sun.” It was all very cute, and we had a lot of fun with the celebration.
At the end of our Montessori birthdays, we sing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song and have time for presents and food.
Our Montessori Birthday Ceremony for Caleb at 1 Year Old
Caleb’s first birthday was in March. On his exact birthday, he just celebrated with his parents. For the family party, we included Will, Chea, Zoey, Sophia, my husband, Terry, and me.
Caleb was so excited to carry the continents globe! He didn’t exactly follow the path around the sun, and the globe did fall. But he sure was cute!
So Zoey came to the rescue! She got the Hugg–a-Planet Earth and led Caleb in the walk around the sun. You’ll notice that he’s still having lots of fun!
Then Caleb’s mommy (my daughter, Christina) finished reading the birthday script she’d prepared for Caleb. You can’t see, but there was a photo of Caleb as a newborn and one at age 1 that was passed around.
After the ceremony, Caleb and Sophia wanted to explore the LED candle we use to represent the sun. Caleb is always extra interested in how everything works, so we give him the chance to explore how things work whenever possible. The LED candle doesn’t have a real flame and they were closely supervised. So this was something they could safely explore.
After the ceremony, we went to Christina and Tom’s house across the street for singing the traditional birthday song and blowing out the candle, having birthday cake, and allowing time for Caleb to open presents.
Even though the Montessori birthday celebration wasn’t essential for either Sophia or Caleb, it was a special time for the birthday toddler, very simple to prepare and do, and a nice way for them to feel included in a special birthday tradition.
More Montessori Birthday Resources
You can read about our Montessori birthday celebrations for preschool and kindergarten-age children in my “Montessori Birthday at Home – How to Have a Simple DIY Celebration of Life Ceremony.”
You’ll find a variety of ideas for a Montessori birthday celebration in my “Montessori Birthday Celebration – A Lovely Celebration of Life Ceremony.”
See my “Free Celebration of Life Songs and Printables for a Montessori Birthday” for more resources.
Montessori New Year’s Celebration and Activities Related to Months and Seasons (for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners)
See my post about a “Montessori New Year’s Celebration” for ideas on using a similar ceremony to bring in the New Year.
You’ll find follow-up activities to birthday or New Year celebration of life ceremonies in my “Montessori-Inspired Months and Season’s Activities for Hands-on Learning.”
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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