In the new world of COVID-19, March and April party kids will be the first ones to celebrate their special days in quarantine. No big gatherings allowed. No exciting party venues booked. And likely no friends attending. It is a situation that can be hard for kids to fully understand. If your kid is celebrating a birthday right now or soon, we feel for them. If they are little, they probably won’t understand why they can’t celebrate with their friends. If they are older, they might understand but it’s still hard that they can’t celebrate with their friends.
We’ve gotten creative and rounded up some great alternative ideas for parents and care givers to work around social distancing. You can still give your kid an awesome birthday experience they will never forget. Check out our list for inspiration:
Family Sleep Over Party
For this idea, you can set-up sleeping bags and a tent in your basement or living room and have everyone in the family sleep in the room together. You can decorate with fairy lights, set up a mock camp fire, and maybe set your TV to a wilderness scene. You can schedule pillow fights, story telling, and flash light wars. For food, you can eat traditional camping food like smores, popcorn and hot dogs. If you want it to include friends, why not FaceTime them in for some camp fire songs and story telling.
Friend or Family Movie Night
If you still want to have a movie night with friends, the web browser Chrome has an extension called Netflick Party that allows you to simultaneously stream a Netflick movie with friends. It has a chat window and play/pause for everyone in the group so you stay synced. For a low tech option, let the party kid pick their favorite movie and get your family together to watch. Cook up some popcorn and order some pizza and finish the night with some cake!
Host a Virtual Party
If you’re kid is really upset about not seeing their family and friends for their birthday, schedule a conference call with everyone at a certain time and get everyone to join in on the video call. There are many free platforms you can use: Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Join.Me, Google Hangouts. Send out an email in advance to make sure everyone is available with some dates and times. Once you confirm your date, do some testing with your chosen conferencing platform and make sure everyone can access the platform you’ve chosen. During the call, plan for a special activity everyone can do from their own homes or keep it simple and just have everyone sing happy birthday. Another option is to keep the event a secret from the birthday kid and get all the participants on the call but have them hide from their screens and then pop out yelling “surprise” all at the same time when the birthday kid enters the room.
Birthday Messages Movie
This is a great idea if you have video editing software and know how to use it. You can ask all of the birthday kid’s friends and family to send Happy Birthday video messages. You can compile the videos and you can create a mini-movie celebrating the party kid. This is a great way to make the birthday kid feel loved and connected to their friends and family who can’t physically be there to celebrate. Here’s a video with recommendations for FREE video editing software options. This is a great treasure that can be enjoyed for many years to come.
Keep It Simple & Organize a Redo
Another option is to just do a simple event with your main family members. Eat cake, open presents and let the birthday kid choose the activities and the menu. Tell them that they can have a redo birthday party later on once this crisis passes.
Neighbourhood Walk to Friends Houses
If your kid is lucky enough to have their friends live in close proximity, you could organize for all of their friends to put birthday messages in the front windows of their homes. You can take the birthday kid out for a walk around the neighbourhood, past all their friends houses to see their birthday greetings. Their friends can even wave from the windows as you walk by. The birthday kid can FaceTime with each friend individually as you stand in front of their house.
Ask the Internet to Help
If you’re active on social media and have a lot of followers, why not ask the world to send your kid messages of happy birthday. Explain the situation and maybe ask for something specific. If your kid likes animals or a certain television character – ask people to send pictures of that. Although your kid won’t know a lot of these people personally, they will feel very loved knowing that all these people sent them Happy Birthday messages.
Host a Virtual Game Party
If your birthday kid is older and into gaming, why not schedule a time for all their friends to connect over a video game they all like to play. Or if your party kid has a favourite board game they like, see if you can find the digital version of it that includes the ability to play with a friend online. Or select a simple board game that can be played over a conference call – like Pictionary.
Hire a Virtual Entertainer
A few Toronto Party Entertainment companies are offering virtual party options that can include a personalized video greeting or FaceTime call from a Princess character, like Forever Fairest or a virtual dance party including dancers available from Super Fly Entertainment.
Even in this unique circumstance, there are tons of ways you can celebrate your kid’s milestone. No matter what you decide to do, this unique birthday could go down as one of their favourites despite the global crisis that happened during it. Let us know some of your ideas in the comments below!