Jul 012012

Birthday cake with lit candleBefore my little Monkey’s first birthday, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to commemorate the special occasion. Beyond the cake and presents, I wanted to mark the big day in more lasting ways.

I was very conscious of starting traditions, not only for him but for any future siblings. As a youngest child, I knew how important it would be to maintain the same traditions for all children in the family!

After much research, I found a number of wonderful ideas for commemorating a child’s first birthday, many of I will share in future posts.  In this first post in this new Milestones series, I want to share the birthday book I started when my little Monkey turned one.

The Birthday Book (“My Favorite Things”)

The birthday book was a combination of two memento ideas that I had seen in the past.

My first inspiration was the sheets they used to sell in gift shops, about what was happening in the year you were born (price of a gallon of milk, who was President, etc.). I always loved finding out such telling details about what the world was like when I came into the world.

I wanted to recreate this for my little Monkey, but on a yearly basis.  Here is the form I made to fill out every year on his birthday (you can download the complete template below):

In the World Today…

The price of a gallon of milk [brand]…$——

The price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline [location]…$——Decorations for first birthday

International headlines: _________

National headlines: _____________

Local headlines:  _______________

President: __________________

Governor: __________________

Mayor: ____________________

Top Songs: __________________

Top Movies: __________________

Top-Selling Books: Fiction – ______________, Non-Fiction – __________________

(Because we are raising our little Monkey to be bicultural, for him I include national headlines, etc. from both the US and Costa Rica).

The second idea I drew inspiration from was a Ramona Quimby (anyone remember her?) notebook I was given when I was about eight. There were a few pages for every year of elementary school, with blanks to fill in your teacher, favorite subjects, friends, and so on. I only kept it up for a year or two, but the idea stayed with me.

Here is my version:

About Me…

I can…______________________ [new skills, such as learning to walk]

I like to…___________________ [favorite games and activities]

My favorite toys are…_______________________

I am reading…_________________________

I am listening to…_____________________ [favorite music]Children looking at birthday cake

I am watching…___________ [television, movies]

Songs I like Mommy/Daddy to sing to me are…____________________

My favorite foods are…_________________________

My nicknames are…_______________________

My friends are…____________________

New members of my family are…__________________ [It seems there is a new cousin every year!]

Trips I took this year were…____________________

[For school-age children]


Favorite subjects at school: ______________________

Extra-curricular activities: _______________________

Children at birthday party

And thus the birthday book (which I named “My Favorite Things”) was born.  I now update the book every year on his birthday.  And even though he is still a toddler, looking back through his book, it is amazing how much he has changed in such a short time.  I still get teary-eyed reading through the list from his first birthday – ah, for the days of the Exersaucer toy and just learning to say Ma-Ma and Da-Da!

As my little Monkey grows, I will modify the form, adding space for questions about school and extracurricular activities, for example.  In just a few years, I imagine he will sit with me to fill out his birthday book.

How long will we keep it up?  Time will tell, but at the moment I envision that a completed book would be a nice present for him when he graduates from high school 🙂

You can download the complete Birthday Book Template below:

Birthday Book Template

How do you commemorate your child’s birthday?

  6 Responses to “Milestones: The Birthday Book (Free Printable)”

  1. Featuring you tomorrow! Stop by and link up again!

  2. I LOVE this idea. I really need to get on the ball and do something like this. I’m terribly behind on the baby books. 🙁 Thanks for the reminder! And for sharing in the Kids Co-Op last week.

  3. […] mentioned in an earlier post, I spent a lot of time planning how to commemorate my little Monkey’s first birthday.  I wanted to make it memorable for him not just in the present moment (which he would soon […]

  4. […] you had fun with these silly games!  For more ideas you can also look at our annual birthday book, and the birthday time capsule we do on a child’s first birthday, for him to open on his […]

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