Are you looking for a unique, meaningful, and useful birthday gift for a special young person, that they’ll still enjoy years from now? Do you want something that’s customized with a bit of your own creativity, but don’t have a ton of time? Consider giving them their own Birthday Gratitude & Dream Book.
This is a partial DIY project. I’ve already created the content for you, which you can download and print out for free. You’ll need to purchase a few items and put it together–details and instructions follow.
What Is a Birthday Gratitude & Dream Book?
I created this in hopes of having a lasting positive impact upon a young person I care about, but whom I no longer see regularly. It’s a way of being present in spirit. I’m sharing it with you here in hopes that it might benefit many kids.
Designed for young people ages 4 to 18, it provides a short set of reflective questions and drawing (or collage) activities for them to experience on or near their birthday each year.
You or another supportive adult can assist them with they’re younger, providing bonding time. As they grow older, they can continue to complete it with an adult or on their own.
The questions and activities are intended to capture some of a young person’s essence, in a fun way that also promotes reflective, gratitude-based thinking.
As they grow older, they can look back on their responses to remember and confirm important parts of themselves that many of us forget or suppress over time. These can be especially valuable to access during times of life transition, career decision making, and so on.
We’re often more honest with ourselves as children than we are as adults.
Questions cover topics such as:
- What do they enjoy the most?
- What’s most important to them?
- What kind of people do they enjoy being around?
- How do they most enjoy giving and receiving?
I often ask coaching clients to reflect upon the things for which they’re grateful, and to recall times in their lives when they felt the most energized and in touch with their true selves. With this book, you can help someone begin to develop such habits at a relatively young age!
I’ve already done the most time-consuming part for you, creating the introductory text and activity pages. Here’s your part:
How to Create Your Personalized Book
- downloadable introductory pages and activities pages
- 3-ring binder (preferably one with a clear front cover “pocket” that you can slide a decorative cover page or photo into)
- 3-hole punch
- photos or photo collage for front cover
- number stickers
- decorative stickers for customizing
- plastic photo sleeve pages
1. Download the introductory pages (two page document) and print one copy.
2. Download the activities pages (five page document) and print one copy for each year you wish the book to cover. For example, if you’re giving it to a child to use for their 6th through 18th birthdays, print 13 copies.
I printed my intro pages in color, and the remaining pages in black and white, double-sided through a local print shop. As the activities pages are five pages total, this left a sixth blank page for each year, to be used for extra drawing, etc. But you can print them however you wish.
3. Punch holes in the pages and place them inside the binder.
4. Place optional plastic photo holder sleeves in the binder. You can place one or two after each year’s set of activity pages, or just a bunch at the rear of the binder.
5. Write the child’s name above “Happy birthday!” in the introduction, and write/sign your name at the end.
6. Decorate the outside of the binder and the intro pages with stickers if you wish. If you know how to create printable collages with your favorite photo program, that makes a fun cover. I used LibreOffice Draw.
7. Use a colorful marker or pencil, or colorful stickers, to fill in some or all of the “I am __ years old” blanks at the top of the activity pages. Or, you can leave them all blank for the child to fill in.
8. If you have decorative stickers remaining, you can leave them in the binder for the child to enjoy.
Supporting This Work
Some of the resources on this site are free of charge, so that individuals with limited income may also access them. At the same time, I am not yet independently wealthy. I appreciate support of the work here in any of the following ways:
- via telling friends and family about this site and its resources, even if through a simple Facebook share
- via purchases of my books (Naked Idealism, for example, includes concepts that several parents have told me were very useful to them–both in the parenting role and in other areas of their lives)
- via recommendation of my coaching services to friends or family you believe might benefit (read testimonials)