Cardboard Birthday Cake Puzzle Craft + Happy Birthday Lyrics in Chinese & English!

My daughter just turned 5 years old, and she asked me to make a puzzle for her birthday!  She requested “something easy that my baby brother can do with me.”

Of course, I waited until the night before her birthday to think of something and found myself cutting and painting cardboard for a birthday cake puzzle at 1am!  It was worth it to see her excitement about helping her 2-year-old brother with the puzzle!

Here is a quick overview of how I made the birthday cake puzzle.

At the end of the post, you can download free, printable Happy Birthday lyrics in English, Chinese, and Pinyin!

Cardboard birthday cake puzzle craft for kids

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Important vocabulary

  • 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)

What you need 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

This Instagram post has a video of my 2-year-old son trying to do the birthday cake puzzle 😂.

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! 🎉

Happy Birthday Lyrics in Simplified Chinese, Pinyin, and English!

祝你生日快乐
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你生日快乐
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你幸福, 祝你健康
(Zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health

祝你前途光明
(Zhù nǐ qián tú guāng míng)
May your future be bright

祝你生日快乐
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你生日快乐
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你幸福, 祝你健康
(Zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health

有个温暖家庭
(Yǒu gè wēn nuǎn jiā tíng)
Here’s to your family.

Happy Birthday Lyrics in Traditional Chinese, Pinyin, and English!

祝你生日快樂
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你生日快樂
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你幸福, 祝你健康
(Zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health

祝你前途光明
(Zhù nǐ qián tú guāng míng)
May your future be bright

祝你生日快樂
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你生日快樂
(Zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)
Happy Birthday to You

祝你幸福, 祝你健康
(Zhù nǐ xìng fú, zhù nǐ jiàn kāng)
Here’s to your happiness, Here’s to your good health

有個溫暖家庭
(Yǒu gè wēn nuǎn jiā tíng)
Here’s to your family.

Happy Birthday lyrics in Chinese: download here!

Please note that the font is extra large so that it is easier for young children to read.

Also, each file has the song with and without Pinyin/English.

I recommend that you give your child the version without Pinyin/English so that he or she can learn how to read the Chinese characters distraction-free.

More hands-on learning activities for children

For more birthday fun, try our wax-resist birthday cake painting activity!  My daughter had such a blast making this for her little brother’s birthday!

Also check out our 3-D Birthday Cupcake Cards Sight Word Matching Activity!  We made these for my birthday this past summer!

Birthday Cards Sight Word Matching

For more activities with recycled materials, please click here!

To see all educational, hands-on activities organized by topic, bookmark this link!

Happy birthday and happy learning, friends!

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