Birthdays still happen even in lockdown, but how to make it fun…?!
Fill your house with balloons! Kids can’t get enough of balloons and they make great props for party games later. A friend fills her kids’ bedrooms with balloons on their birthdays and it always looks so much fun. We put up some bunting and banners too.
2. Ask the children to make decorations
My heart melted to see my bigger kids making their little sister decorations such as wrapping paper (pages from a colouring book decorated with felt tips and glitter glue), a cardboard tablet with her favourite TV characters on the buttons, banners and huge number “2” posters. I was so proud of them when I realised what they were doing and the excitement built up for the whole week while they were preparing.
Other decorations might include paper chains, bunting or paint rocks from the garden.
3. Serve birthday cake for breakfast
Our tradition is that the birthday child gets a small cake in the shape of their new age for breakfast, but I think any kind of cake would be a winner!
4. Make a cake together
Kids love baking, so why not put them in charge of their own birthday cake? You could bake it together on the day, stick with a theme or just pile on the sweets and sprinkles! If you don’t fancy baking, some bakeries are delivering cupcake decorating kits to do at home.
5. Ask family/friends to send video messages
It’s hard for everyone not to see loved ones on special occasions, but we’re so lucky to have great technology at our fingertips. Ask family members to record birthday video messages and send them to play on the day, or emails. If they live close enough, they could appear outside the window with a birthday banner and balloons. Maybe classmates could record special messages?
6. Set up party games/garden games/an assault course
This can be indoors or outdoors. Perhaps set up an assault course with burning lava to jump over in the hall or stepping stones outside, a catapult (I don’t recommend this indoors if you value your ornaments), a bowling challenge, limbo in the doorway, bouncing balloons on towels to hit the ceiling and precariously balanced toys to crawl underneath.
7. Hold a virtual party
We hosted a Zoom call for our families to dial in and see the birthday girl blow out her candles. We did this in groups so this meant for lots of candle blowing out! A big hit! You could have a virtual party (with party clothes and dancing!) and keep the fun going a lot longer!
Perhaps a virtual pottery painting party with the pots supplied by Crafty Creations. Deliver the pots and then set up a Zoom call for them to paint and chat (some are more chattier than others depending on age!). Perhaps letters for their names as it is a nice thing to paint and keep in their rooms to remember these times.
Magical Quests North offer a wide range of online parties for all ages, from dinosaurs to baking parties to well-loved fairytale classics. They are also offering personalised video messages and one to ones from a child’s favourite character, which make a wonderful birthday present.
8. Create a memory jar or time capsule
You won’t have many birthdays like this one (hopefully!), so it would be great to remember the day properly in years to come. You could write down special memories of the day and pop them in a jar, or make a time capsule with newspaper cuttings, photos, lists of how you celebrated, etc.
9. Make a den and eat a picnic lunch in it
We let the kids have a special picnic lunch in a den they quickly threw together. We kept it super simple and filled an empty cupcake tin with chicken nuggets, veggie sticks and fruit, but you could do anything you like.
10. Put down your phone
My aim was to put down my phone for the whole day and just play solidly with the kids. It didn’t quite work out like that, but the technology-free time was really special and the kids respond really well to it.
11. Make a train out of cardboard boxes
If you have any cardboard boxes lying around, build a special birthday train or car for the kids to play in – it can keep them happy for hours!
12. Have a disco!
Do you have a karaoke machine? Plug it in and have your own disco. Lava lamps and glow sticks add extra fun!
13. Paint faces and wear fancy dress
Get out the dressing up box and let the kids go wild. Let them dress you up if you’re feeling brave!
14. Take a Virtual Day Trip
Have you tried a virtual trip yet? You can choose from Disney World, many world-class museums and zoos. Have a look at these ideas for inspiration.
15. Special Birthday Messages
Some party entertainers are doing free (or charge a small fee) birthday video messages from princesses or superheroes. If your child has a favourite character, a personalised message could feel really special!
16. Set up a pamper station
Depending on what you have at home, you can make face scrubs, face masks, foot soaks and do each other’s nails. It’s hard to get hold of special ingredients at the moment so keep it simple. Ideas could include mixing half an avocado and two teaspoons of honey together for a face mask (or just honey will do!), soaking your feet in warm milk (add rose petals if you have some) and slices of cool cucumber on your eyes.
17. Have a fancy tea
You could do a traditional tea party with sandwiches and little cakes, order in a takeaway, or cook something special that the birthday child loves. We set the table together, dressed up and had a chinese takeaway which was really popular!
18. Make some mocktails
Even juice in fancy glasses feels special to kids, and you could jazz it up with umbrellas or cherries if you have any, or cut up fruit slices and dip the rim of the glass in sugar.
19. Run a special bath
We always do birthday baths with glow sticks in, but you could add flower petals, bath bombs, loads of bubbles, bath paints etc.
20. Have a sleepover!
You could set up cosy dens in the lounge, or pitch a tent in their bedroom. It might even be warm enough to camp in the garden!
Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a wonderful celebration!
Looking for more inspiration while you’re spending more time at home? Check out our coping with coronavirus page for lots of fun ideas, recipes and tips.