We all want to make sure our child has a wonderful birthday celebration, and there is absolutely no reason why that can't still happen, lockdown or no lockdown! We can help you to make sure that your child has the most magical and memorable day at home - take a look at our list below for lots of birthday party ideas and activities to make this particular birthday extra special.
1. Write Birthday Invitations
To make this feel like a real birthday party, a few days before why not make invites for your 'at home' family, no matter how many or few of you there are! It will add a sense of occasion to have a set time for the party side of things to begin, for example the invite could say 'RSVP Mummy' at the bottom, and 'Location: Home Sweet Home', or make up a funny name that fits the theme of the at-home-party you are planning. If your child is very young this might not be necessary but if they are a little older it will hopefully help ease any disappointment, even if they just think it's a bit silly!
2. Or Send an E-Vite!
If you're organising a virtual birthday party for your child during lockdown then you could even send out some e-invitations to your friends and family. Mini-Epic help you create amazing digital animations to spread the word about your next big celebration which you can personalise with themes, Zoom invite links and even RSVP tracking. Even if it can't be the party your child expected, these animated invites are a great way to add an extra special touch to a birthday in lockdown. Send your no-contact, no-waste invite over WhatsApp or email and Mini-Epic will even donate 20% of your paperless purchase to NHS Charities Together! What's not to love?
3. Choose a Theme
A themed birthday party during a lockdown might seem like a wild idea, but choosing a theme will really help with party planning and create a focus. You could have a simple fancy dress idea, eg come as whatever you like out of the dressing up box, or you could choose your child's favourite colour and everyone has to use whatever they can find around the house to make it work. Or could go big, for example if your child is a fan of dinosaurs, perhaps you could create a Jurassic feel by filling the table up with all the houseplants, making great big leaves out of cardboard and create huge footsteps on the ground by sprinkling flour and drawing them with your hands! Look online for recipes that link to the theme and above all work with what you already have.
Decorations are KEY to creating the birthday party vibe! If you already have lots of decorations, like balloons, streamers, party poppers, excellent. If not, time to get creative. You could make some colourful bunting with card or paper, or if you are handy with a sewing machine there are plenty of tutorials online. We think fairy lights are appropriate for any occasion, but in this instance they definitely are! You could pin plain sheets up on all the walls to create the feel of a marquee, and hang fairy lights behind for some ambient twinkling. Personalised banners are a lovely way to celebrate the birthday child and make it all about them, if you have other children this is a nice activity to get them to join in with, they could colour in sheets of paper that you then cut the letters out of.
5. Have a Picnic
If you have a garden, or easily accessible outdoor space that you know won't be at all crowded, you can take the party outside, although this idea could be done indoors as well. If you don't have access to a garden but the weather is lovely, open up all the windows and let your imagination run wild. Lay out all the colourful blankets or towels you have, and lots of cushions too, this is not any old picnic - it is a birthday picnic! This is where the decorations are important, we want the space to feel completely fresh and birthday party-ready. For an especially realistic picnic vibe you could pack all the food into a box or hamper and unpack it together, or lay it all out down the middle for a birthday picnic buffet. Depending on the age of your child it's a wonderful idea to go full 'Teddy Bears Picnic' and invite the whole gang!
Make sure you have some music playing to set a fun mood and don't forget the cake!
6. Get Technical!
Thanks to the wonderful modern world we live in, there is a way that your child's friends can still come to their birthday party and it's totally risk-free. If you can mirror your phone to your computer or TV it will be even more like all the kids are really there! Ever since social distancing became serious, two apps have taken at-home socialising by storm: Zoom, loved by businesses for working from home and conferencing in the whole team, and House Party, which you can actually play party games on! (Side note: Have a good read of both apps privacy policies before downloading to be sure you are comfortable with them.) If that is all a bit complicated, there is always good old WhatsApp for a group FaceTime. If you get in touch with all the kid's parents before hand and plan the call in, ask your child to answer the phone and surprise them with all their pals!
7. Entertain Virtually
While we are getting technical this seems like a good place to mention virtual entertainers! An amazing example of this is Captain Fantastic, using the same technology as above, via Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, they can create a totally interactive online kids birthday party! They can even invite your guest list so that your child's friends can all be joining in from the safety of their own homes. Set up will all be explained before the party starts so nothing to worry about there if you aren't super technical. Some of the themes they offer are, Science, Super Hero, Princess, and parties especially tailored to toddlers. Other kids birthday party entertainers have also found their way online during this time - you could have your child's favourite character chat to them over FaceTime! With this option, the party planning is all taken care of, so you can join in, or sit back and relax while the kids go wild.
8. Check the Post!
If you have a chance a week or so before your child's birthday, this is a good time to get in touch with friends and family and ask them to either post their cards and presents (if they can do so safely) or if they live nearby perhaps leave them on the doorstep, or you could go and collect them. Another option would be to ask friends and family to pre-record little voice notes or videos that you can play for your child on the morning of their birthday - having lots of real 'Happy Birthdays' from their loved ones would be a great way to start the day.
It is understandable that it might not be possible at the moment to get the exact items that you or your child might have had in mind, if this is the case then making up a fancy voucher or gift token would be a lovely gesture, so once this is all over and some normality is restored, your child can 'spend' their voucher in the shops.
9. Go Camping
This is a fun party idea! To make things super easy there are quite a few companies that will simply drop off an entire kit for you to set up the perfect indoor camp-out, complete with teepees and gift bags - many of them are still up and running and following all the correct safety advice. However, you can also do this old-school - everyone piles into the lounge with pillows, duvets, and teddies (maybe an airbed) and gets cosy in a homemade den, matching PJs optional. A classic movie is essential, make sure to decide which one before you are ready to watch though, so you don't spend hours searching Netflix. Food-wise you can't go wrong with pizza - always fun to make together too!
10. Hunt for Treasure
Kids love a treasure hunt so a birthday one should be extra fun! You could make a treasure map, or a list of clues to lead them to a present, or dot gifts all over the house and garden for them to find. For younger children especially, the fun could be more in the searching so why not make a little kit, binoculars, magnifying glass and clues all in a back pack and send them off to look. Instead of presents you could make this a separate fun activity by hiding something else, maybe little paper caterpillars and butterflies, chocolate coins or toy cars. There are loads of ready-made printable clue cards and maps that you could use for inspiration, some great examples can be found here and here.
11. Spa Day
Time to unwind! Everyone deserves a day of relaxation and luckily, this is easy to recreate at home, with things you are likely to already have around the house or in the fridge. Kids will love the messy play aspect of gloopy banana facemasks (you can make edible ones and the fizzy wonder of home made bath bombs! To create a calm atmosphere you can set the tone with a pre-made playlist, light candles or fairy lights to create a zen like space. It could also be fun to do some YouTube yoga or meditations together. Pamper the birthday child to the max with at-home mani/pedi's, hand and foot massages and steam facial. You could even do a menu of 'treatments' and make a fancy spa style lunch with little sandwiches, fizzy water and cake!
This is the perfect party idea for an all day celebration. To get festival-ready, we are thinking glitter (biodegradable is widely available online!), braided hair, spray in hair dye, temporary tattoos and, of course, the most out-there outfits you can assemble! Things like tattoos, braids and flower crowns, you could set up as little 'stalls' for the kids to visit. Food-wise, you can't go wrong with a picnic (indoor or outdoor!) or you can go full foodie with some festival food-truck inspiration. BBC iPlayer and YouTube both have extensive festival footage and there are endless playlists on Spotify so choose your year and your dream line up and get watching, listening and most importantly, dancing!
13. Keep it Traditional
Last but by no means least, how about a traditional-style birthday party, with all the party games you can cram in! We are talking pass the parcel, musical statues, sleeping lions, pin the tail on the donkey, duck duck goose, wheelbarrow race, egg and spoon race, the list is quite literally endless! Make sure you have the ultimate party playlist in the go, perhaps you and your child could make one together the day before, to make sure you include everyone's favourites. Just to get everyone nice and tired for bedtime, we think it is important to include some CLASSIC dances - the conga, all the way around the house and garden, limbo and, of course, the Macarena. If your kids are too young to know then consider this a learning opportunity! With kids' birthday parties, keeping it simple can sometimes be the best option so perhaps pick and choose a few things you know your child would love to do on their special day and just stick to that.
14. Making memories
Although it might be slightly different to what you originally planned, we believe this WILL be a birthday worth remembering so don't forget to take lots of photos! If you have a Polaroid or Instax camera you could set up an instant gallery wall of your day as you go along! It would be a nice touch to make party bags or little party favours, rather than to 'take home' just to enjoy at home! You could still wrap up a piece of cake, and tuck it into a little bag with whatever treats you can find or make around the house, and let the kids have it as a late night snack or save for the following day- make the birthday party vibe last as long as you like!
Rather than postponing your child's birthday all together, we hope you can take inspiration from these kids birthday party ideas and maybe find a new way to celebrate this year - you never know, it could end up being their best birthday party yet. This is an unusual situation, so try not to worry about making everything totally 'perfect' - your child will 100% appreciate whatever you come up with, you know them best and this is about creating positive and happy memories as a family - lockdown or no lockdown.
Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!