A couple of weeks back, it was our oldest child’s birthday. She turned 10 years old. While turning 10 is already a big milestone and in of itself, she also turned 10 on the 10th – which is considered a “champagne” birthday. So this was a BIG birthday for her – one that she’s been talking about for the last year.
As you know, much of the world is on lockdown due to Covid-19, and because of that, social gatherings are no longer allowed. We could see this was coming as her birthday was approaching and so we started preparing her that the party might have to change and to level her expectations, which is really hard for an excited kid.
Sure enough, we had to change the party to an online party with some of her girlfriends. But because this was such a milestone birthday, I wanted to make sure that we tried to do as much as we could to make sure it was memorable and special.
Over the years, we’ve done lots of crazy, over the top birthday parties for our daughter like Barbie Rockstar, Frozen, Yo Gabba Gabba, but this year we knew it had to be different due to the circumstances of the world.
So because we are all in this unprecedented lockdown for the next foreseeable future, I thought I’d share with you the seven ways to make your child’s birthday extra special while stuck at home.
1. Love Notes on the Mirror
This one can really be done any time of the year, but especially on your child’s birthday, write them some love notes on their bedroom or bathroom mirror with lipstick. It was such a special surprise that my daughter woke up to in the middle of the night when she went to the bathroom – 10 different characteristics that we love about her, scribbled in red lipstick on the mirror for her to see!
2. Hang Balloons from the Ceiling in their Bedroom
While most party stores are closed down, you can still pick up regular balloons from the dollar store during this time. A trick to hanging balloons in the air while not having helium to hold them up is actually hang them by a string, UPSIDE DOWN! So we snuck into her room while she was sleeping and hung two dozen balloons upside down, so that when she woke up in the morning, she would be laying under a blanket of balloons!
3. Get Friends to Send Virtual Birthday Messages to Create a Video
When I realized that our daughter wasn’t going to be able to physically see any of her extended family or friends for her birthday, I knew that I wanted to create a special video message from all of them to her. I reached out to our family members and some of her friends and asked them to send us a 20-30 second video clip wishing her a happy birthday. I then created a simple video in Premiere (don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy video editing program to create this – iMovie on your phone works perfectly fine too!) and uploaded it to her phone in the middle of the night. I then placed a sticky note that said “Play Me” and had the video open and ready to go so it would be the first thing she saw. Of course, she absolutely LOVED it and has watched it a many times since!
4. Drive-By Parade
Probably one of the most popular social distancing birthday party idea I’ve seen online is the drive-by party parade where you get a bunch of your friends and family to all meet up at a certain spot and then form a parade of cars to drive by the birthday person’s house, while holding signs and balloons, shouting HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We’ve participated in one ourselves for one of our kid’s friend and it was a lot of fun. We didn’t do this for our daughter simply because most of her friends actually live on our street and/or very close by and our family lives out of town. So it didn’t make sense for us, but I do love this idea and wanted to include it in this list if you want to do it for your child!
5. Scavenger Hunt for Gifts Around the House
A friend gave me an idea to hide 10 gifts around the house – representing her 10 years of life – and make her go on a scavenger hunt for them. So I gathered up a bunch of fun and inexpensive gifts to hide, while I kept her big gift as the grand finale on the front porch. We didn’t create clues but instead just let her run around the house, trying to find them all. The boys got into it too and it was fun! But if you want to make it even more interesting, try creating some clues that will help lead them on the hunt for all their gifts! Such a fun way to make your child’s birthday a little extra special.
6. Have Balloon Bouquet Delivered
While most of the party supply stores are closed making it next to impossible to access helium balloons, there are lots of smaller businesses that do balloons and party supplies from their homes that are still working. One of my dear friends is the co-owner of a decor business here in the Durham region called Decor & Beyond and she was able to create a gorgeous champagne balloon bouquet for my daughter – for her champagne birthday. When my daughter woke up the next morning, these were waiting for her downstairs and she couldn’t get enough of the champagne balloon – especially as she’s too young to still have any actual champagne!
7. Host Virtual Birthday Party with Hand Delivered Party Bags
So after doing all the above things for our daughter and creating a special atmosphere in the home for her birthday, we had to get ready for the party – the ONLINE party, that is. You’ve likely seen a surge in your friends hanging out over FaceTime, Zoom, HouseParty – tons of different video conference call apps that still allow you see each other face to face.
We decided to do this but for a birthday party. We sent out virtual birthday party invitations for a specific time and date and then on the day of, sent out a link to the party call that everyone could join into. We used Zoom for ours and made sure that it was password protected – meaning no one who didn’t have the link or password could join.
But what made this party a little extra special (I think), were the loot bags that we put together and delivered the day before to the party goers. The idea for this came from if we were hosting an actual party in our home, we would provide all the kids food and activities to do. So we thought, why not bring the party to them, so that they can all partake in it during the online party together.
We baked cupcakes and wrapped them in some cellophane. We then added in a bag of chips, pop, candy and a chocolate bar for them to enjoy during the party. I found these craft kits at the dollar store which were perfect – everything already pre-measured and packaged into one package. So during the party, each girl took out the craft kit and we all crafted together, while eating party food, ONLINE!
Overall, this birthday was wildly different than we ever expected it to be. Nothing can obviously beat having all your friends over for a sleepover and pool party, but while we are all social distancing to help stop the spread of this virus, this is pretty much the next best thing.
And, at the end of the day, my daughter told me that it was one of her best birthday parties EVER!
So get creative, invite your friends online and celebrate your child’s birthday in a super unique and so-2020-quarantine-kind-of-way!
Love & Blessings,