Before COVID-19, a children's birthday party might involve a classroom full of kids at Chuck E. Cheese, a visit to the bowling alley, or a huge backyard fest. Unfortunately, with social distancing as the new normal, those large in-person gatherings will have to wait. While celebrating a birthday during a pandemic is a challenge, with some planning and creativity, it's definitely possible to throw a fun and memorable celebration for the birthday boy or girl. To start, scroll through these ideas for inspiration:
1. Birthday Parades
- Organize a drive-by birthday celebration. Just email, text, or call family, friends, and neighbors and ask them to drive by your house at a pre-assigned time. They can join in the fun by decorating their cars, creating signs, or blowing bubbles. Honking, cheering, and singing are encouraged!
- Do a reverse drive-by. Decorate your own car with signs, balloons, and crepe paper and let Grandma, your neighbors, and your kids' friends know when you'll be by. Make a stop at each friend's house and have them come out to cheer on the birthday celebrant.
- Create a giant lawn sign asking passersby to honk.
2. Chalk Art
Send an email, post on your neighborhood’s Facebook page, or use a group messaging app to ask friends and neighbors to write birthday messages in sidewalk chalk on your driveway and walkways.
3. "Yes" Day
Cake for breakfast, endless video games… any disappointment your child might feel will certainly be quashed by the chance to rule the roost. They get to choose dinner, too!
4. Family Day
We've all been stuck at home, but working, studying and daily chores may have gotten in the way of family time. Why not dedicate an entire day to the birthday child? Make it extra special with these cute ideas:
- Bake and decorate a birthday cake (sprinkles mandatory) or set up a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar.
- Spend the big day in your PJs and hold a marathon movie night.
- Have a dance party!
5. Go Old School
You may not be heading to the arcade or the water park, but you can still introduce your kid to the simple pleasures of old school games. Bob for apples, play musical chairs, or enjoy a fun game of Simon Says.
6. Video Game Party
If your child is obsessed with Minecraft, they're definitely not alone. Follow these instructions to connect your kid with their friends on Minecraft and set up a video game get-together.
7. Long-Distance Movie Night
Teens and tweens will enjoy sharing a favorite flick with their circle of friends with Netflix Party. Everyone logs in to their own Netflix account; you choose a movie and this free web app will sync the playback to all accounts. The fun app includes a chat function where you can send emojis and GIFs.
8. Hold a Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt
- Gather friends on Zoom and hold a virtual scavenger hunt. Draw up a list of common household items (an apple, a hairbrush, a wooden spoon) and have participants race to locate each item.
- Draw up a treasure map with clues and have the birthday boy or girl search for their gifts.
9. Make it Festive
You may be stuck at home, but if you go all out with decorations it can be an instant birthday party. You can order special decorations online, or go the thrifty route by being creative with construction paper garlands or repurposing some holiday decorations from the attic.
10. Go Virtual
It's easy enough to host a virtual get-together. Make your child’s quarantine party more memorable by using a video chatting app like Zoom, which is free for up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes. You can also try Google Hangouts, which is free for up to 10 users, or Skype, which supports up to 50 people sharing a screen. Plan ahead to make your video call fun! Play Mad Libs, dress in costumes, and sing the birthday song to the kiddie celebrant. Don’t forget the cake and candles!