ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command's Child and Youth Services Directorate has developed age-appropriate Army birthday parties at installations around the globe to celebrate the Army's 233rd birthday June 9-14.

"Kids instinctively know that birthdays are a big deal - they celebrate with their Families all the time. We want them to know they're part of a larger Family - the Army Family," said Donna McGrath, FMWRC Youth Sports and Fitness Program manager.

A variety of activities are being planned at 90 installations. Young children at Child Development Centers will enjoy Army birthday cakes with 233 candles and a reading of a short book on the history of the Army by special guests. Each child under the age of 5 will be given a copy of the book as a gift.

School-age children will participant in a "history" scavenger hunts and be asked to write patriotic stories about their own military Family.

Teen events will include birthday balls, barbeques or pool parties, based on what installation MWR and CYS directorates have planned for individual installations.

"The book readings and the birthday celebrations at CDCs and youth centers are our way of reinforcing to the kids that they're a part of our Family, too," said Jerry Haag, deputy director of FMWRC Family Programs.

The Army has a 233-year history of support to the nation - and Army Families have been an integral part of that history. The Army has made unprecedented investments in facilities and programs for Army Families and children over the past year. More than $1.4 billion has been programmed to improve or expand services and support for Soldiers and Families.

Sharing the Army's birthday celebration with Army children helps them understand the contributions their parents make to the nation and the Army, FMWRC officials said.