Whether you had a big party planned or not, being forced to stay in the house for your birthday is a bummer, especially if you're a kid. Social distancing has made just about everything more complicated, but with the right kid's birthday party ideas you can still celebrate your little one's big day at home. All you need is some imagination (and a little sugar wouldn't hurt).
Everyone is struggling with serious cabin fever as they work to slow down the spread of COVID-19, and while the mission is certainly a worthy one, there's only so much you can do at home to keep your family entertained. Kids are having an especially tough time because their routines are out of whack, they miss their friends, and they may be too young to really understand why these measures have to be taken. If they're also coming up on a birthday, they may be feeling pretty down about the entire situation.
You can promise to have a big celebration when all of this is over, but that won't replace their actual birthday. An at-home party with no actual guests may not be your ideal situation, but try to remember that the celebration has less to do with where you have it and more to do with how you make your child feel. Here are 10 ideas to help you make the day fun and memorable.
1. An Indoor Camping Adventure
Grab a tent (or make an epic pillow and blanket fort), unroll some sleeping bags, and create an indoor camping experience. You can hang some Christmas lights to look like stars in the night sky, make s'mores in your fireplace (or on your grill, in your backyard, or even in the microwave), and stay up way past bedtime. Come up with some fun camp-themed activities, like flashlight tag, and enjoy the change of pace.
2. Invite Guests Virtually
If your child is a little older and is seriously missing their friends, arrange a playdate via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Caribu, the "#1 app for virtual playdates" (free to families during the coronavirus outbreak!). Email kids' parents and coordinate an activity for all of them to do together (coloring, painting nails, playing with their Toy Story figurines) and have them sing happy birthday to your little one as you present them with a cake or cupcake.
3. Get Cooking
If your child loves to help you cook, find recipes for some of their favorites and have them participate in cooking them. Make their favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and a cake/cupcake at home. They'll feel like they got to call all the shots and will be proud of the final product. As for the time between all the eating, let them pick whatever they want to do.
4. Decorate For Days
If ever there was a time to decorate your house like you're having a Pinterest-level birthday party, it's now. Bust out every kind of decoration you have, all the balloons, streamers, party-themed napkins and plates, anything you can think of to make your home essentially look like a giant party store. Even the most basic activity will be elevated for your kid if they're surrounded by balloons. Low on party supplies? Coterie will send a complete set of children's party goods to your door; among the themes available: "Fairytale Princess," "Super Duper Hero," and "Dino-Mite" (pictured above; sets start at $48, coterieparty.com).
5. Embrace What They Love
Do you have a little Frozen fanatic, a Spider Man enthusiast, or a future firefighter in your home? Let that passion take over the house and family for the day. Pull out some silly string to shoot webs, dress up like you're ready to put out some flames, or play "Let It Go" on a loop. Whatever it is, have the theme seep into every aspect of the day.
6. Make Some Masterpieces
If there were ever a time to permit painting, crafting, and glitter in the home, it's now. Order some craft supplies and spend the day creating with the birthday kid. You can pull up some YouTube drawing tutorials, create original works of art, or even build something totally unique out of some discarded Amazon boxes.
7. Break The Rules
Under normal circumstances it's probably not ideal to have a little food fight in the kitchen, splash way too much in the tub, or play basketball basically anywhere in the house... luckily, these are anything but normal circumstances. Think of some of your kid's favorite activities that they can't do right now and figure out a way to do them in the house. What's more fun than getting to break all the rules on your birthday?
8. Pamper Them
Think about what "pampering" looks like for your kid and set up their own little spa day. Maybe it's face masks and manicures or it could be breakfast in bed while they watch their favorite movie. Do whatever you think will make them feel celebrated and recharge their battery.
9. Have A Movie Night
You can't rent out a movie theater right now (actually, you can't even go to one), but your kid can still watch their favorite flick with a bunch of friends thanks to Netflix Party. A free Google Chrome extension, Netflix Party is a way to watch Netflix in sync with other users on their computers, no matter where they are (and it includes a chatroom where your kid and their pals can hang out and discuss the movie).
10. Go Classic
There's something to be said for a classic display of balloons, a homemade cake, delivery pizza (support a local business!), and a movie night. You can still have a wonderful party for your kid with just the basics. Invite friends and family to "join" virtually and make the most of it! The point is simply to make your kiddo feel loved and celebrated.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all our Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here on this page, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.