School Birthday Treats – What to Bring Besides Cupcakes


Growing up, school birthday treats were always cupcakes. Always.

These days, most schools discourage parents from sending cupcakes as school birthday treats. Some schools ban cupcakes outright. With our increased awareness of food allergies and other medical conditions, cupcakes just don’t work for classes anymore. Our schools also emphasize healthy eating and we all know that cupcakes are not healthy, even though they are delicious! So, save the cupcakes for birthday parties and try sending in one of these other school birthday treats instead.

popsicles for school birthday treat


My children’s preschool didn’t allow cupcakes for birthdays, but they did allow 100% fruit juice popsicles. I did have to shop around at a couple different grocery stores, but I liked that I didn’t have to bake anything. Definitely check with your child’s teacher before buying popsicles, though. Not everyone has access to freezer space and we all know that popsicles can get messy. Also, find out if any of the children have any allergies to fruits and avoid those ingredients.

Coloring Books

If your younger child is in a smaller class, coloring books are great options for school birthday treats. Most dollar stores have a large selection of coloring books to choose from. They are easy for children to bring home in their backpacks. Plus coloring is just fun! As a parent, I appreciate a useful gift. Also, I like to recycle the book when my children are finished with it.

Fruit Platters

Fruit is a nice healthy alternative to cupcakes that most kids will actually still eat. If you’re short on time, quickly grab a ready-made fruit platter from a grocery store. If you are feeling more creative, you can cut the fruit into fancy shapes and arrange the pieces into a fancy display. Again though, ask about any fruit allergies beforehand and leave out those fruits from your platter.

fruit plate for birthday treats

Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes are a really fun alternative to cupcakes. They are also inexpensive if your child is in a larger class. For older children, you can send in papers from a paper airplane book and let them fold their own airplanes. For younger children, buy little airplane kits made of wood or foam. The children simply insert the wings into the body. Just make sure to warn the teacher what you are bringing. Kids can get out of hand with paper airplanes indoors, so it’s best to distribute them either just before recess or just before the end of the school day.


Seriously, what kid doesn’t enjoy stickers? There are so many design options to choose from. Let your child pick out whatever they think their classmates might like. The upside for parents is that the children will quickly use up the stickers and there won’t be anything left to clutter up your house. The downside is that stickers may end up all over your furniture. For that reason, teachers may want to wait to distribute stickers until the end of the school day. Teachers don’t want stickers all over their classrooms!

Read a Story

Many schools allow parents to come to their child’s class and read a favorite story. Besides being a fun break in the school day for the children, it gives you a chance to take an active part in your child’s special day. Reading a story is a great school birthday treat for families who can’t afford to buy a treat for every student in the class. I recommend reading the story beforehand so it will be easier to read to the students while holding it so that they can see the pictures. Most students are very vocal about not being to see the pictures in the book! You can also donate the book you read to the class library afterward!

art supplies

School Supplies

Ask your child’s teacher if the class is in need of any school supplies for the classroom. A birthday is a perfect time to send in things such as pencils, erasers, or whatever else is needed. All the children in my local school absolutely love flair pens, which come in an array of beautiful colors. You can buy them in large sets and then give one or two to each child. If they aren’t needed at school, kids will love to have one of their own to take home!


Younger children in particular love bubbles. Again though, they shouldn’t be used indoors, so the teacher will likely want to distribute them either right before recess or at the end of the school day. Bubbles are fairly inexpensive, but the children will love them. If you’re feeling creative, design and print out stickers to put on the bubbles to personalize them for your child’s birthday.

What school birthday treats have been popular with your children?



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