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Well no one prepared us for this, but here we are! Facing the prospect of continued social isolation and quarantine. For small children this can be saddening when they realise that they cannot share their birthday with their friends!
But with some of the ideas below you can still have a celebration that will be enjoyable and memorable.
For this party to work you will need an online platform that will allow you to video chat with multiple users at once. When you invite your child’s friends you may need to explain what platform you will be using, where to download anything if necessary and any other instructions that you think may be useful.
Zoom has a free service option that allows you to run a group video chat for up to 40 minutes, which is plenty for an online meeting with small children!
You could also try Houseparty, it allows up to 8 guests to join a video chat for free and there are some games within the platform that you can play together. Just bear in mind the games are targetted at adults and older kids, so smaller children might find them difficult.
It’s important to note that you will need to actively ‘facilitate’ the party, it’s unlikely that the kids will really understand how to engage with each other on an online platform from the get go. Structuring the session also allows you to keep it fun.
It might seem impossible to engage kids in a game when they are all in their own living room, but with a bit of planning there’s plenty to keep them amused! Try some of these games. The key is to give everyone a chance to be involved and not require too much equipment.
- Simon Says – let the birthday child be ‘Simon’ to start (or you start them off)
- Musical Statues – this game works anywhere! Play some music and get them to freeze, pull a funny face, or use themes to suggest poses.
- Scavenger Hunt – Give them a topic (a broad suggestion, eg Something Red) and see what the kids find! Get them to show off their finds when they all come back in. You can do this a few times.
- Charades – Start with the birthday child, who can act out an animal, character or action. Let the other kids guess! See if you can give everyone a turn. If you think the kids need a prompt for their turn, you can get some Bluey Charades Cards here. Maybe you could send each family a copy beforehand and ask them to print them out!
- Make the party a dress up party! Everyone will get excited preparing their costumes and seeing each other dressed up.
Even if no one comes over, it always feels like more a celebration if there’s decorations! You could make your own, or buy some online to avoid the shops.
Cake is cake, and a great trigger to get everyone singing! If your child’s friends are local, you might like to drop them a cupcake in the morning (contact free) and then your child’s friends can enjoy more fully.
This would be especially cute if your main cake matched the cupcakes like this rainbow unicorn with matching rainbow cupcakes!
Wrap It Up
Once you have done all your activities, sung Happy Birthday and shared some cake, it’s time to wrap up and say goodbye. You might like to get the kids all singing a song that they know, or get them to do one final cheer and clap before you end the video chat. That way everyone understands that the party is finished and you don’t need to stress about ‘did such and such say goodbye?’ etc!
While it seems stressful to us, remember that kids are often flexible and if you introduce it in a positive way they will feel just as excited as if they were spending the day with their friends in person.