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September 22, 2022

Ways to Celebrate Birthdays Without Food

For the parents and caregivers of children who rely on non-tradition nutrition like tube feeds or TPN, birthdays can be stressful. Like so many events, milestones, and holidays, it seems like they traditionally revolve around food. But they don’t have to. 

No matter whether your little one can eat a small amount of smooth or blended foods or nothing at all, there are options to make their birthday feel special. If your child is old enough, get their opinion on the matter. Ask what they would like to do for the big day (e.g., an activity or a game). If they’re too young or unable to tell you what they might want, consider this list of ways to celebrate birthdays without food.

Activities & Outings

Celebrate the day with a unique activity or a day-trip to somewhere engaging. 

  • Organize a treasure hunt with toys and stickers as the treasure.
  • Do a fun craft involving confetti, glitter, or paint
  • Play a board game together
  • Pick out a flower or tree together to plant in the yard
  • Take a trip to the park or playground
  • Go to a movie
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to a museum
  • Include a group of favorite friends along for the fun
  • Do a different kind of treasure hunt with geocaching


Go over the top with decorations. Consider turning the house or a room of the house into a special themed area while they sleep, so it feels like a magical transformation happened.

  • Over the top balloons, confetti, and color
  • Pinata filled with toys
  • Use a polaroid camera to document in real-time
  • Turn the living room into a jungle, the beach, an undersea adventure
  • Get personalized t-shirts made
  • Use a bubble maker


Music really does have the power to bring people together, and there are ways to use it during birthdays that will uplift and brighten the mood. 

  • Create a special playlists of songs they like or songs they haven’t heard before
  • Let your kid be the DJ for the day
  • Throw a dance party in the living room
  • Write a birthday song together or create your own special variation on the traditional Happy Birthday

Acts of Service

The act of giving really is a gift. You can try to teach your child about all the rewards of compassion.

  • Take a walk and pick up any trash
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Complete a food rescue together at 412 Food Rescue or similar local organization
  • Give a book to your local Little Library 
  • Bury treasure at the playground for another kid to find
  • Compliment everyone you see
  • Make get well cards and take them to the hospital
  • “Adopt” an animal online
  • Write and leave happy notes around town

Gus Gear Wishes You a Happy BirthdayDo you have any ideas or traditions for celebrating birthdays without cake or food as the focus? Please, share them with us on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, our products, including our Central Line Vest and G-Tube Wrap, were made to allow you and your family to enjoy the little (but important) things like birthdays safely and joyfully.

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