DIY Cardboard Birthday Cake Puzzle Craft

If you’re looking for a fun birthday cake craft, I hope you enjoy this activity as much as my children! For my daughter’s birthday, she asked me to make a puzzle. She specified that it should be “something easy that my baby brother can do with me”, so we came up with this cute cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft.

Cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft for kids

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Important vocabulary

Since we’re raising bilingual children, we try to talk about everything we do in two languages, Chinese and English. Here are some of the words my children practice during our birthday cake puzzle craft.

  • 蛋糕 / 蛋糕  (Dàngāo / Cake)
  • 蜡烛 / 蠟燭 (Làzhú / Candle)
  • 点火 / 點火 (Diǎnhuǒ / Light fire)
  • 火 (Huǒ / Fire)
  • 生日 (Shēngrì / Birthday)
  • 生日快乐 / 生日快樂 (Shēngrì kuàilè / Happy Birthday)
  • 祝你生日快乐 / 祝你生日快樂 (Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè / I wish you a happy birthday)
  • 拼圖遊戲 (Pīntú yóuxì / Jigsaw puzzle)

Supplies for cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft

  1. Cardboard – great way to upcycle!  We have been trying to use recycled or nature materials to minimize material waste
    • Note that thicker cardboard will be more durable but will require more effort to cut
    • Need 1 large sheet for the puzzle base; then any size cardboard for the pieces
  2. Acrylic paint (buy from Michaels or Amazon)
  3. Pencil
  4. Ruler

Here’s a real-life “behind the scenes” blurry screenshot of my late-night crafting haha!

Birthday cake cardboard puzzle

How to make cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft

  1. Trace and cut different sized rectangles
  2. Arrange the cut rectangle pieces onto the large cardboard puzzle base.  Trace around the rectangles to create the “outline” for the puzzle. (Remember to leave room for the candles!)
  3. Paint the cut rectangles desired color/pattern.
  4. Optional: paint puzzle base same color/pattern or leave blank outline.
  5. Cut more cardboard for the candle and flames.
  6. Arrange the candle pieces on the large cardboard puzzle base.  Trace around the edges to create the puzzle outline.
  7. Paint candles and let dry.  To give the white candles a textured look, I drew faint diagonal pencil lines.

Lastly, for reading practice, I wrote 生日快乐 / 生日快樂 (Happy Birthday) in simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese!

Teaching with the Happy Birthday Cake Puzzle

Because my daughter and I have made a million birthday cards since ages 3, she already knows these Chinese characters.  However, I wanted to expose my son to the Chinese characters!  Chinese is a minority language for our family, so I try to expose them to the language as much as possible.

However, you can write what ever your child is learning, such as numbers if your child is learning their numbers, or “HAPPY” if your child is learning English.

In hindsight, I should have written the characters in pen so they stand out more.  As you can see in the photo, the pencil is not easy to see.

Cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft for kids

My daughter is giggling that my son piled the yellow flames onto the same spot!

However, I didn’t get to capture the best part – my son trying to blow out the candles which turned into both kids giggling and blowing the confetti all over the place! 🎉

More fun birthday activities for kids

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