Lockdown, social distancing, quarantine… How on earth do you celebrate your child’s birthday during coronavirus?
Fortunately, there are still many ways to make a birthday special, and the pandemic doesn’t have to spoil your celebration. Here are just 15 ideas to make sure your kiddie’s lockdown birthday is one to remember.
1. Make the day feel different
One day pretty much blends into the next during lockdown or a period of self-isolation at home, so make the big day feel different. Get the whole family together to wake up the birthday girl by singing ‘Happy Birthday’, and let her choose the meals for the day.
2. Break the rules
Whatever your age, breaking the rules is fun. Have ice cream for breakfast, cancel homeschool classes and give the gift of extra screen time. Let them remember this as the birthday when all the usual rules were relaxed.
3. Make a countdown calendar
If your child’s only birthday wish is to have a party with their friends, you’ll have to postpone the celebrations. On the day of their birthday, sing to them, make a cake and then help them make a countdown calendar to their party, so they understand the timing and have a party to look forward to.
4. Camp out
A backyard camp out, complete with tent, campfire and smores, is a great way to get the family together away from distractions and to focus on the birthday girl. Print out some campfire songs and read up on some scary stories for around the fire. You can even try baking birthday cake on the fire! Okay, a full birthday cake may be a bit ambitious, but we successfully made birthday brownies cooked over the fire in orange skins for my daughter’s birthday in the mountains one year, so a campfire dessert is possible!
5. Have a family movie night
You may be able to recite the script of Frozen 2, but if it’s your birthday girl’s favorite movie, watch it again. Even better, dress up and watch it again. Sooo much better, dress up, watch it again and have a sleep over in the TV room. Or luckiest-kid-ever better, if you have the space, set up movie night in the backyard!
6. Make them a slideshow of their life so far
Most kids love to hear stories about when they were born and were babies. Use Powerpoint or a similar type of program to make a simple slideshow of their life so far. Add some upbeat music and funny captions and you’ve got fun, family-friendly entertainment that’s purely focused on the birthday girl. Add in a couple of baby pics of mom and dad, siblings and grandparents for extra laughs.
7. Invite friends to a virtual get together
There are loads of apps you can use if your birthday girl is desperate to connect with her friends. Use Skype, Zoom or House Party to put together a small virtual party, even it it’s just to have friends sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and cheer her on as she blows out the birthday candles.
8. Gather Whatsapp birthday messages
Send out a message to your child’s friends’ moms and ask them to help their children send birthday WhatsApp voicenotes. Stagger listening to them throughout the day and your child will have a full day of messages from their friends.
9. Decorate the house
Nothing says ‘birthday’ like balloons and banners. You may need to get creative if you don’t have a birthday décor stash, but you can decorate the house with photographs and home-made posters and banners. Every room should remind your little one that the day is about them.
10. Let them choose their gift
Lockdown came pretty quickly for most of us, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t have time to shop for birthday gifts. Sit your kiddie down next to you and help them shop online for their gift, but help them understand when it can be delivered.
11. Make a treasure map to their gift
If you are that super organized mom they write blogs about, and your birthday shopping was done before lockdown started, make a treasure map for your kiddie to follow to find their gifts.
12. Host a selfie competition
Invite their friends to take part in a a selfie competition. Each friend sends a birthday-themed selfie of themselves and the birthday girl gets to choose a winner across categories like, ‘Most Creative’ and ‘Silliest Expression’.
13. Have a family cake decorating competition
Mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma – whomever is in the house has to decorate a piece of birthday cake. Make a simple sheet cake (we love this Texas sheet cake by Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond), cut it into squares, and set up toppings. A really yummy birthday afternoon activity.
14. Go on a virtual birthday outing
Search online for virtual museum and gallery tours, game drives, concerts, Broadway shows and theme park videos and go on a birthday outing! Technology is amazing, but it’s not quite the same as real life, so at the end of your virtual outing, let the birthday girl help plan the real thing when life gets back to normal.
15. Have a Netflix movie party
If your birthday girl is a movie fan, Netflix party allows a group of friends to remotely watch a movie together and chat while they’re watching. No lockdown can stop a classic movie party!
Head on over to our Pinterest board for even more ideas for how to celebrate your child’s birthday without a party. Stay home and stay safe, folks.