Life during COVID feels like I’m constantly trying to make everything seem normal for my kids during a time when everything is different. Just last year we hosted more than 80 people inside our home for a triple birthday party for my kids and nephew. This year? We had 4 families from our pod over for a backyard celebration. It takes more thought, but it is possible to throw a unique Coronavirus party for your child’s birthday and still keep safety measures in place.
Keep it virtual
I know, I know, suggesting a Zoom party isn’t exactly a groundbreaking idea anymore, but with colder months upon us, the options for outdoor gatherings are less realistic. By meeting online not only can you ensure everyone will stay safe, but your guest list is no longer restricted to people nearby! Just be sure you don’t get too overzealous by the possibilities; aim to keep the number of invitations limited to 10. Too many more and the call becomes too unruly (any parent who has observed virtual school can attest to this).
Even though Zooms can be quick, easy, and informal, with a little creativity they can still feel like a “normal” birthday party. Upgrade your call by adding a theme, an activity, and a special surprise for guests. You’ll be sure to forget your party is online!
Spread the fun *
*but not germs
This will work best if you already have 1 or 2 families with whom you have already established a pod. As this is the highest risk Coronavirus party idea I am suggesting, make sure you limit the number of guests, remind those who are feeling sick to stay home, and be very clear with your protocols.
Arrange your home into different party zones. Set up different activities in each area to keep the party fresh, while being mindful of the need to keep social distance.
- Video game showdown. Keep seating at least 6 feet apart and make a big competition, complete with a winner’s bracket. This option works wonderfully for older kids because it lets them play together without needing to be face-to-face.
- Host a talent show. Let your guests know ahead of time to prepare a song, dance, magic trick – or whatever they want! Talent shows are perfect for kids of all ages since even the littlest ones like to perform. Be sure to record the show and share it with your guests afterward!
- Or have the kids bring an item for show and tell. If your guests (or guest of honor) are a bit shyer, show and tell is less pressure and feels familiar since they’ve done it at school. Again, advanced notice to your guests is crucial!
- Go old school with Pictionary. It’s a classic for a reason! Pictionary is a great way to let everyone engage without needing to be right next to each other. Tip: For smaller kids, have a parent go up with them to help read the clue
- Get creative with art stations. If you don’t have the space to keep guests apart out while watching one big activity, then set up different art stations around the house. When each kid arrives, provide them with their own paintbrushes (and maybe a cute Take an amazing race
Send families around town on a scavenger hunt that culminates with a surprise car parade. Place items at each location which can be used to make signs or decorations such as poster boards, pens, stickers, and balloons. With your last clue, lead guests to your house and encourage them to crank up their radio to make it a big show!
Your guests will love getting to take part in the surprise, and your birthday kid will be shocked to see their friends and family drive by don’t forget to take a video as they see everyone. If you are comfortable, serve individual cupcakes as people arrive for the full birthday party experience.
Set up a drive-in
I’m channeling my dream life where I own a farmhouse and some land with this idea. If you actually DO have one, I beg you to create a drive-in movie. Projector your film onto a big screen (or, if you really want to go all out, onto the side of the barn). Each family gets to stay cozy in their cars. Set up a concessions stand with hot chocolate and cider, buffalo plaid blankets, and bowls of popcorn.
If, like me, this isn’t your reality, then host a Netflix Party to sync a movie and use their chat feature (or a Zoom call so you can see each other). Turn the movie night into a virtual sleepover, the quintessential birthday party! Have everyone wear their PJs, send out face masks or nail polish before hand, and encourage cuddling up in sleeping bags. When the movie is over, bust out an Ouiji Board, because honestly, it doesn’t matter if you have 2 people moving the triangle piece or one.
Just say “hey, let’s just go for a big, in-person Coronavirus party”
No. Don’t do this.
There will be a time when we don’t have to worry about social distance or which virtual platform outperforms the rest. Birthday parties will get back to normal (except I would like to petition that blowing out candles on a shared cake be officially done). In the meantime, we just have to get a bit more creative to keep the magic alive when hosting a SAFE Coronavirus party to celebrate our kids’ birthdays.