By Cheryl Maguire
“Will I be able to have my birthday party?”
My daughter’s 12th birthday is in April and she has been planning her birthday party for the past month. With recent lockdowns and social distancing recommendations related to the Coronavirus, she will have to come up with an alternative plan for her party.
Before the Coronavirus wreaked havoc on children’s party plans, there were also kids who cannot socialize at parties due to comprised immune systems. Here are some suggestions for ways to celebrate without spreading germs.
Create a Virtual Party
One way to interact with friends from a distance is to have a virtual hangout using apps like Google Hangout, Zoom or Skype. My daughter has been using Google Hangout to practice her musical theater play with the kids in her class. This technology allows people to see and speak to everyone, so it’s the next best thing to being in a room together. If someone isn’t able to connect due to a lack of technology access, go old school and put them on your speaker phone so they can hear and participate in the conversations.
Virtual Party Theme Ideas
You are probably wondering how to simulate a kid’s birthday party when they can’t physically interact?
It’s important to remember that the main goal of a party is for your child to have fun with their friends. This is still possible but may require some out-of-the box thinking.
One way to do this is to have a theme that all the party goers will be excited about. Most games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey are not an option, but there are several ideas for themes that will include everyone and create a festive mood.
Movie Theater Party
If the kid is a movie lover, you could create a movie themed party. On the invite, ask the partygoers to dress up in their favorite movie character outfit or t-shirt. You could create a movie trivia game or a “would you rather game” using movie-themed questions. After playing the games, the group can then watch a movie selected ahead of time. Before the party, you will need to figure which movies everyone owns or can stream together.
Cook Off Party
For the future chef tween or teen, you could have a cook off party. Everyone must find five items in their house and create a dessert or any meal the birthday person selects. Then their parents judge the creation on creativity and taste. You could also play trivia cooking games or swap your favorite recipes.
Lego Themed Party
For the Lego lovers, you could create a Lego-themed party. Everyone would have to arrive with a bucket of Legos. You could play games like who could build the tallest tower in five minutes, and then their parents would measure each one to determine the winner. Some other suggestions are that everyone makes whatever they want, and then the parents determine who has the most creative structure. Or everyone makes an animal, and you must guess what type of animal the Legos are supposed to be. After you’re done building, go on virtual Legoland rides by searching the ride on YouTube. Before the party create a list of rides you want to visit to keep things moving along during the party.
Green Themed Party
For the environmental lovers, you could have a green-themed party. Everyone could come to the party dressed in their favorite environment themed outfit, like a flower t-shirt or picture of the Earth.
You could play an upcycle game by finding five items in the recycle bin and then creating an animal or their favorite environmental setting such as the beach. You could create a scavenger hunt where they find items outside like a white stone or red flower assigning each item points. They could take their device with them as they hunt so that the kids at the party could see each other during their travels.
Drawing or Painting Themed Party
Before the party, ask the parents what type of art supplies they own. Most kids have a set of markers, crayons and paints.
One suggestion is to all draw or paint the same picture. Mo Willems, author of many children’s books like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! “and “Knuffle Bunny” has a drawing channel on YouTube where you can learn how to draw characters from his books like Piggie and Elephant. You could have everyone watch the video at the same time and then share your drawing.
You could also create cards for people in nursing homes, hospitals or the military and let them know that you are thinking of them.
If your kid is a Disney fan, have them dress up as their favorite Disney character and ask their friends to do the same. You can play Disney-related games and then go on virtual Disney rides by searching the ride on YouTube. Before the party create a list of rides you want to visit to keep things moving along during the party.
Fun and Festive
Try to decorate the room that your child will stream the party from with the theme in mind to set the mood for all the partygoers. Plan the games and festivities before the party starts so it will keep the fun levels high throughout.
By the time the party is over, your child will hopefully have so much fun they’ll forget about the fact they didn’t see their friends in person. And the best part for you is that you won’t have to clean up a mess created by a room full of kids.
How Megan Walsh, Fredericksburg Parent & Family’s Media and Advertising Director, Celebrated Her Daughter’s Birthday During COVID-19
On March 18, 2012, my amazing second daughter was born. Our middle child, she’s sandwiched between two sisters, so we try to be aware of fairness in our household. Then Covid-19 caught up with all of us.
While my girl deserved a celebration of her 8th birthday, there was no dinner out at her favorite Mexican restaurant and no fun sombrero to wear. There was no pinata or fried ice cream, or Shirley Temple with extra cherries. Instead, two neighbors put gifts inside of our back gate, a few arrived in the mail, and the gift I bought to surprise her was delayed by Amazon (what?!). I filled the gap with a $20 bill placed into a blank piece of stationary until her actual gift arrived.
We blew up balloons, strung crepe paper and wrote birthday messages all over the sidewalk in chalk. We baked our own cake and squeezed out every drop of oil we had left into the mixture. We sang silly birthday songs and made her favorite dinner (Brenner) pancakes and eggs. We had sugared cereal for breakfast instead of our usual “something healthy.” This simple house party made my daughter feel loved. She received text messages from friends’ mom’s phones, phone calls from family and plenty of Facebook messages. Did I mention that my husband was also here teleworking? This meant she got Dad at 5 pm rather than 7 pm. It was such a slow-paced, old fashioned birthday, but I always feel that simple is best—a simple but epic 8th birthday during COVID-19.