Beyond the Cupcake: 8 Alternative Birthday Treats for the Classroom!


woman, mother, girl, daughter, cooking, kitchenWe know that it can be easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to feeding our families. When you are contending with picky eaters, time constraints, and sleep deprivation, meal planning and food prep can often feel overwhelming. The BVTMB team along with our sponsor, Healthy Living, is here to provide some fresh perspective and inspiration in the kitchen! From meal ideas to how to feed those picky eaters, we are excited to talk about all things food these next few weeks in our “Growing Up Gourmet, Beyond the PB&J” series.

Beyond the Cupckae: 8 Alternative Birthday Treats for the Classroom

Isn’t the day that your child gets to bring in a birthday treat to school one of the highlights of their year? Kids love to bring in a goody, pass it out, and get to enjoy it amongst their friends! What is the common birthday celebration snack? Why the cupcake of course! What do you do when there is a child with a gluten, dairy, or nut allergy in class? How about when there are 5 birthdays all within 2 weeks of each other and the kids are on cupcake overload?

Check out these birthday treat ideas that will leave a smile on everyone’s face. Most of these are easy enough for the kids to help you out in the kitchen too!


1. Chocolate Topped Crispy Bars

We all know how much kids love traditional rice crispy treats but how about jazzing them up with chocolate? This is an easy recipe that even children with gluten intolerance and nut allergies can eat. Follow the recipe for crispy treats from the back of the cereal box then top with melted chocolate (be sure to buy nut free chocolate if there is a nut allergy in the classroom)! Kids love these!

2. Popsicles

For my daughter’s birthday this year we wanted to find a treat that all of the kids in her class could enjoy. This meant we needed to find a treat that was gluten-free, nut free, and dairy free. Popsicles ended up being the treat of choice! Most supermarkets carry a variety of popsicles that are nut, dairy, and gluten-free.

Brownies with chocolate chips and chocolate fudge frosting.

3. Brownies

My kids love brownies even more than their love for cupcakes. There are so many things you can do with a brownie that can make it an extra special birthday treat. Brownies can be topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Flavored frosting like mint or peanut butter are also a big hit!  You can add chocolate or another flavored chip to the batter before cooking. Use a mini muffin pan to make bite size, smaller portion brownies. Be creative, brownies have endless possibilities!

4. Fruit Kabob

Send your child into school with a rainbow on a stick! Make 1 or 2 fruit kabobs for each child in this order: red grapes (for purple), blueberries, green grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, and a strawberry. You can even make yummy dips for the kids to dip their fruit in.

5. Muffins

Similar to the traditional cupcake but healthier! You can make a variety of different muffins using whole grain flour and fruits that will win over every kid in the class. The lack of frosting makes muffins a more nutritious treat than a cupcake!

6. Birthday Chex Mix

Start with a box of plain Chex mix then get creative! Add yogurt covered pretzels, marshmallows, raisins, chocolate chips, banana chips, peanuts (optional), and anything else that sound delicious. This type of snack is easy to adapt to nut, dairy, and gluten intolerance. Bag a little bit of the mix in individual paper bags for easy serving.

7. Chocolate Dipped Bananas

Bananas covered in chocolate on a stick? Yes please! Push popsicle sticks into half of a banana, dip in chocolate, shake on some sprinkles, and freeze. These easy treats are sure to please!

Vanilla chocolate pudding pops.

8. Vanilla-Chocolate Pudding Pops

Make 2 cups of vanilla pudding and while it is still hot divide the pudding into two bowls. Add 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate to one bowl and stir until it is melted. Pour the vanilla pudding chocolate mixture into four ice pop molds or four 4 ounce paper cups. Freeze these for 10 minutes then finish topping with the remained of the pudding.  Insert a popsicle stick and freeze for 3 hours. Deliver to school in their containers, then pop them in the freezer in the teacher’s lounge!

Can you think of any more alternatives to the cupcake?  Surprise your child’s classmates with a fun birthday treat next school year!

woman, mother, girl, daughter, cooking, kitchen

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Jenn Foster
After spending a lot of time and money on an undergrad and masters degree, I realized that the only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a momma. Three beautiful girls later; Emma (7), Sophie (4), and Madelyn (2), my husband Geoff and I have been married for 13 years and are happy to have planted our family in Fairfax, Vermont. My journey as a mother had been fairly typical until my oldest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes in August of 2011 when she was 3 years old. I recently took on a part time position with JDRF, an organization that funds type 1 diabetes research and also provides advocacy. Being a "work from home" mom with three kids under foot is going to be a whole new journey!


  1. Our school requires store-bought stuff–not sure if it’s for the “certified kitchen” or for the “ingredient list” or both. I like the yogurt idea! I’m thinking plain greek yogurt, dixie cups, sprinkles. Any other ideas?

  2. Thank you! These are great. I’ve done mini scones, mini muffins and fruit kabobs for the preschool crowd. I think we will try the chocolate crispy treats for kindergarten!

  3. As a teacher, I’ve grown to HATE cupcakes! Another good one is “yogurt sundaes.” Just toss some chocolate chips and a dash of sprinkles into yogurt and voila! It’s delicious and young kids think it’s pretty cool!


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