10 Ways to Throw Birthday Celebrations for Kids While Social Distancing
Celebrate your kid’s birthday with a socially distant in-person celebration or keep it virtual with these party planning tips and ideas
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Schedule a Video Chat Party
Invite your kid’s friends to be on a Zoom, House Party, Facetime, or Google Hangouts to wish him a happy day. You can also consider one of these easy-to-use video chat devices for connecting with loved ones from afar on a birthday or other celebration. For younger kids, family members can be the invitees—we can guarantee that very few will have other plans. Let the party-viewers watch while the birthday boy blows out his candles and opens his gifts. In addition, ask friends and relative to record their birthday wishes on video and email them to you. Or better yet, use the Marco Polo app for group cards that you can create with different visual filters and voice effects. You can even download fun Zoom background templates from Canva to 'transform' your kids' birthday celebration to the location or theme of choice.
Host a Virtual Game Night
Virtually gather your kids’ friends at a designated time on a video game system (such as a Playstation or XBox). If you don’t own one, Facebook’s Instant Games offers games like Scrabble, Uno, and Cribbage that kids can play online together. Or try your hands at Crazy 8s, Checkers, or Go Fish with PlayingCards.io which allows for chatting and a Zoom video linkup. Or challenge your child and his friends to solve a virtual escape room. House Party also offers a variety of games to play over video chat that are appropriate for all ages.
Livestream a Performance
If you were already planning to hire a party performer, inquire whether that person could live-stream her show or provide a previously taped performance. Then invite friends with a video-call link. Even if you hadn’t intended to go in this direction, ask around to see if someone somewhere (geography doesn’t matter here) can stream a live performance of, say, a magic show or a clown stunt. One idea—Ever After Princess supplies a prince or princess to MC the virtual hang or you can schedule a free, personalized birthday message with NYC Birthday Clowns. You can even have a Disney princess Zoom your little one 1-on-1 for a special birthday surprise.
Invite Friends to the Virtual Theater
Invite a group of buddies to a planned event and encourage them to grab delicious snacks and settle in for a show. Watch2gether allows you to create a room where kids can simultaneously watch a video or listen to music—while chatting or using a webcam to video conference. (It also offers a karaoke version—type in “karaoke” with the chosen song so participants can sing along.) Netflix Party synchronizes a video playback and adds a group chat option during streaming so kids can watch the same film together.
Plan a Special Day at Home
Even if you want to keep it simple, there are many ways to make your kid's birthday celebration special at home. Set up a scavenger hunt or a tent in the backyard to camp out for the night. Make his favorite dessert or do a creative project together. Take an online trip to the zoo or a famous museum—if you’re feeling comfortable take him to the zoo or an aquarium for the afternoon now that they’re reopening with limited capacity. Or let your little one be king or queen for a day or maybe just an afternoon. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate.
Order from Your Kid's Favorite Restaurant
In light of the coronavirus crisis, many restaurants in the New York metro area are offering free delivery and even free kids meals, so you can order a special birthday meal for your little one without breaking the bank. In addition to take-out and curbside pickup, Blue Moon Mexican Cafe locations are offering two Birthday Fiesta To-Go options, which include food for six (tacos or fajitas), a dessert platter, beverages, sombreros, and birthday candles. And with our area continuing to reopen, make it an extra-special day by choosing a restaurant that has outdoor dining (and your kids favorite meal!).
Book a Virtual Group Class
If chatting over Zoom just doesn't cut it, book a virtual group class for your little one and her friends so they can participate in an activity together. Clay Art Center is offering Kids Clay Virtual Parties via Zoom for birthday parties. Instructors will guide kids through a fun clay project of your choosing. If you want the kids up and moving, look into Fhitting Room's group fitness class birthday parties.
Whatever kind of celebration you choose, make sure your birthday boy or girl is happy with the plan and that it makes your kid feel special—and be sure to reassure everyone that next year things will hopefully be very different.