a girl holding a birthday board with cupcakes and other treats
Jade Albert Studio, Inc./Stone/Getty Images

If Your Kid's Not Into Cake, Birthday Boards Are A Cute, Colorful Alternative

Looking for a fun way to jazz up your kid's birthday party whilst grinding as many sprinkles into your carpet as possible? Well, then you might be interested in the new birthday board craze, wherein people fill large platters with a colorful array of sweet treats for their kiddo's parties.

These aren't to be confused with those birthday boards from Etsy that help you track everyone's day of birth via painted clothespins or decorative wooden charms. That's a totally different thing. (Which I totally didn't even know existed. Because I live like someone from Medieval times, and still write things on a calendar made of paper.)

No, these birthday boards are designed to mimic a charcuterie board one might encounter at their book club. Except instead of wedges of brie, they're a colorful display of donuts, sprinkles, cookies, candy, and cake pops. They are both a child's dream buffet, and the worst nightmare of the American Diabetes Association.

These boards have taken off on Instagram and Pinterest, and it's easy to see why. They're extremely colorful and pleasing to the eye. While some parents see the dish as a mere accompanying platter of sugar to offer at a party, others see it as an alternative to serving a regular birthday cake, and there are lot of blog posts out there offering helpful hints on how to put one together. That said, you could also just look at some of the beautiful birthday boards out there for inspiration, like this one from thebakermama:

Or this one from everyday_tables:

I must say, I do appreciate the ease of this idea. What could be simpler than buying a bunch of Entenmanns, Skittles, and Oreos, arranging it all on a pretty platter and declaring yourself Queen of Birthday Magic?

However... I do raise an eyebrow at the practicality. Anyone who has ever attended a child's birthday party knows the guests are essentially like wildebeasts in cone Frozen hats... roaming the place in a shrieking frenzy. Which is to say, that once those sticky little hands get a hold of your whimsical arrangement, I imagine it will bear less resemblance to a dazzling rainbow delight, and look more like a sickly unicorn puked in the middle of the table. So yeah, I'd take those Instagram shots before the guests arrive.

My other thought is — and forgive me for being such a birthday board buzzkill, but — germs. I mean, yes, we adults share platters of hummus and guac and chips. But we also wash our hands on the regs. Little kids, however... they are essentially wearing invisible gloves of germs most of the time. So I don't know. That birthday board full of gummy bears might also be doubling as a Coxsackie Board, no?

And yet, I can't deny that these things look adorable and that I would love to make one. I also can't deny that I had to pause from writing this in order to get up and eat three of my son's Birthday Cake Oreos.

If you should find yourself looking at these birthday boards and feeling like your back molars might crumble out of your skull, well, that's understandable. It is a lot of sugar. But perhaps as the kids are leaving you can also offer a dental board, featuring an array of mini-toothpastes, brushes, and floss?