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Celebrating Birthdays The Waldorf Way

Posted by Christine N. on

Waldorf traditions and rituals help children mark the passing of a year and celebrating a child’s birth honors their presence in our lives and the world. Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate with children on their special day.

Waldorf birthday traditions wooden birthday ring Grimms wooden toys

Preparing for a Waldorf Birthday Celebration

Waldorf birthdays don’t usually require very much preparation but counting down the days with your child will help build anticipation for the upcoming celebration.

We love this simple rolled beeswax candle adorned with decorating beeswax. Children can roll a candle in the color of their choice and help add the designs. Then, each day leading up to their birthday, light the candle and let it burn until one more design disappears. While the candle is burning, discuss something special the child achieved or learned during the year. By the last day, the child is filled with anticipation and excitement!


Waldorf birthday countdown candle rolled beeswax candle making kit

A Sweet Waldorf Birthday Verse

At bedtime on the evening before your child's birthday, light a candle and share this special verse.

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I’ll still be four years old tonight.
 
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be five years old.
 
Five kisses when I wake,
Five candles on my cake.

Create a DIY Waldorf Birthday Crown

Wool needle felted birthday crown handmade Waldorf birthday traditions

Before the festivities begin, ceremoniously place a birthday crown on your child’s head and a birthday cape on their shoulders. A personalized and handcrafted crown is another way to make the birthday child feel special. Follow these steps to craft this birthday keepsake.

  • Gather a few wool felt sheets, wool roving, needle felting tools, embroidery floss, a needle and chunky yarn.
  • Fold a wool sheet in half, long-ways. Use a marker to trace the shape of your crown, making it symmetrical on each side. Cut along this line, so each half of the sheet has the crown shape along its edge.
  • Trace and cut out the appropriate number on a contrasting felt sheet. Make sure it’s the right size to fit in the middle of your crown.
  • Use wool roving or more felt sheets to create a design. Make it as simple or intricate as you’d like. It can be something the child requests, a special interest, or something meaningful from the past year. Needlefelt or stitch these designs on to top half/front of your crown. Leave the bottom half blank, as it will fold over and hide your stitches on the back.
  • Finger knit two lengths of yarn, about 5 inches each, depending on the size of the child’s head.
  • Fold your crown in half long-ways, lining up the shapes you cut earlier. The bottom half should now cover any stitches from your design on the back of the crown.
  • Slide your finger knit band between the front and back parts of the crown on one side. Next, use embroidery floss to secure it to the crown with a simple stitch that goes through both layers and the yarn between them. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Use a blanket stitch to sew the front and back of your crown together.

Handmade DIY wool felt Waldorf Birthday crown

If you'd prefer to buy one already made, we love our Felt Annual Birthday Crowns!

What is a Waldorf Birthday Ring?

The Waldorf birthday ring is a German tradition for celebrating a young child's birthday. Typically made of wood, the birthday ring has 12 to 16 open spaces to decorate.

Adorn the ring with candles, ornaments representing your child and other treasures like play silks or found objects. Birthday rings are useful year-round for celebrating the seasons and winter holidays like Advent.

Grimm's Wooden Toys wooden birthday ring Waldorf birthday traditions

While lighting the candles in the ring, you may tell a variation of the “Birthday Story.” The story usually includes a child looking down on the earth from the starry sky, and choosing to cross the “rainbow bridge” to come to their family on the earth.

Add the events and developmental milestones for each year of a child’s life, lighting one candle for each year until you get to the child’s new age. After the last candle is lit, you can sing “Happy Birthday” and follow up with cake and gifts.

Explore More Traditions and Ideas

There are many ways to make your Waldorf celebrations memorable. Use play silks to decorate and wrap gifts, make a garland or table decorations from found nature objects and more. Explore The Birthday Book for more Waldorf-themed ideas, including games and activities, songs, and craftable decorations.

The Birthday Book Waldorf Birthday traditions and celebrations

What are your favorite birthday traditions? We'd love to hear! 

Birthday Birthday crown Birthday Ring Candles Celebrations Waldorf birthdays Waldorf crafts

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