In this extended time at home, I will have two, and maybe three of my children’s birthdays come and go. Two of them are coming up in the next few weeks. My older son won’t be able to get his driver’s permit when he turns 15. And that of course means he won’t be able to get his driver’s license right when he turns 16. We all have so many things that have been changed or delayed. As parents, we want to provide some sort of normalcy, especially on our children’s birthdays. When this crisis has taken so much from us, how do we still make our children feel special and celebrated for their birthdays? For one way to help, I’m sharing how to throw a virtual birthday party!
1. Go all out on the decorations!
Round up whatever you have, or place an order on Amazon well in advance of your child’s birthday. Or you can go the homemade route. You could blow up some balloons, make some paper chains, and some homemade banners. If you have some wildflowers in your yard, pick them and make a simple bouquet. You can make a beautiful setting to make a birthday special with whatever supplies you have on hand.
If you want to order some fun birthday supplies on Amazon, here’s some I recommend. By using these links to order, I get a small commission on the sale!
2. Set up a virtual birthday party.
In this time of social distancing, I know that you’ve probably heard of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and FaceTime playdates. Depending on the age of your birthday child, you can let them have their own time online together. Or you can supervise and have some more scheduled activities. Remember those birthday party decorations we already talked about, be sure to have those set up behind the birthday kid. And when everyone logs on or joins the virtual birthday party, be sure everyone sings “Happy Birthday!”
What are some things to do together online? Again, depending on the age of the birthday child, you have lots of options!
How to Throw a Virtual Birthday Party activities by age:
Have the party guests gather their favorite dolls or cars, set up the screen, and let them play! You’d be surprised at how well kids can adapt to this form of play. My 6 year old has had playdates for hours in this method! You can also send the guests on a simple scavenger hunt around the house. Just give parents a heads up on what to have available around the house.
At this age, kids are getting even more technologically sophisticated. I’ve watched my kids set up their very own Zoom meetings, switch leaders, and add virtual backgrounds. At this age, the kids could plan to play a video game together. This is very popular with my son! They can also play virtual games like hangman or tic tac toe. Give some general guidelines for fun, and let them lead the way.
Ages 12 and up:
I have two kids in this age range. They need a little bit guidance to make the virtual birthday party not too awkward. But then, they can take it on their own! Did you know Netflix has a Netflix Party feature? You can watch a movie together! Or you could all decide to start a movie at the same time and FaceTime to discuss it. And of course, at this age, you can always play video games online together.
3. Take a virtual field trip together.
If your birthday child would like a more structured birthday party, you could plan to take a virtual field trip to somewhere they would love. Using the platforms we already discussed, you can send the link or share your screen to allow the group to visit together.
Check out this link for 25 Amazing Virtual Field Trips! You can visit places like the San Diego Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among so many others. When you are thinking about how to throw a virtual birthday party, taking a virtual field trip together could be very memorable!
4. How to throw a virtual birthday party? Try a theme!
When thinking about how to throw a virtual birthday party, and you want to go even more over the top, consider a theme! What does your birthday kid love? And how can you incorporate it into a virtual birthday party? Does your son love Fortnite? What about these Fortnite socks? You could send pair to each “guest.”
Does your birthday child love unicorns? Send some of these to each “guest” and have them wear the socks and play with the squishies!
No matter what your child loves, you can develop a great theme for a virtual birthday party. You can even ask all of the “guests” to dress up in a costume! For an older kid, you could have a 20’s flapper theme or an 80’s hair band costume contest. Get creative, and send out information early to your guest list so that they have time to plan.
Happy Birthday! Alone Together
Even though we in a very difficult time, there’s still reasons to be joyful and thankful. And even though we wouldn’t have planned to celebrate our children’s birthdays in the midst of a pandemic, here we are! So when you figure out how to throw a virtual birthday party for your child, you are still making the most of these special moments in their lives. Will you celebrate any birthdays in your family in the midst of social distancing? I’d love to hear how you’re making it special in the comments!