Happy Birthday to Us! Birthday Cake Craft, Tally Marks, and Graphing

This is a day of celebrations!  The children will create their own paper birthday cakes and use them to collect data about the birthdays in the class using two methods: tally marks and graphing. 

Grade: Preschool

Target Learning Skills

  • Fine motor skill development
  • Oral language development
  • Decision-making
  • Collect and Compare Simple Data

Birthday Cake Craft

The art project is a good way for children to strengthen their fine motor skills by cutting and pasting, as well as practice decision-making skills by deciding which colors to choose and what shapes to cut.

Preschool Activities: 

To begin the lesson, gather children at the art table. Provide sheets of construction paper in different colors, scissors, and glue. The children will start by cutting out the shapes they choose for their cakes.  Afterwards, the children may choose two or three colors of paper and cut strips to “decorate” their cakes with. Since many of the children in the preschool class are most likely turning four (or are already this age) they will cut out four strips of paper (in any color they choose) to be candles. 

Preschool Activities: 

Once the candles have been cut out, the children may glue them to the tops of their cakes.  Give them “flames” that have already been traced to cut out and glue to the tops of their candles. Write each child’s name and birth date at the bottom of his or her cake.

Preschool Activities: 


Collect and Compare Simple Data with Tally Marks and Graphing

While the birthday cakes dry, read On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman.

After reading, ask, “Who has a birthday in January?” Have the children who raise their hands share the days of their birthdays if they choose. Continue with each month of the year and make tally marks on the board to show how many children have birthdays in each month. Ask children to count the tally marks to answer questions such as “Which month has the most birthdays?”, “Which has the least?”, “Which months have no birthdays?”, and which months have the same amount of birthdays?”

Then, give each child his or her completed paper birthday cake and have children construct a birthday cake graph on the floor or wall by stacking the cakes in columns by month (if there are no birthdays for a month, that column will be empty).

Let children compare and contrast the graph they built to the tally marks on the board. Help them to discover that the graph shows the same information as the tally marks, just in a different way. Transfer the graph to a bulletin board that children can reference throughout the year to keep track of when their classmates turn one year older and make continuing observations about the data they collected!

Submitted by KidsSoup Member Melissa Nickdowicz 


View more all about me preschool and kindergarten crafts and activities


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