Most kids start planning their birthday parties about 3 weeks after their last birthday. They count down the sleeps to their big day and can’t wait to be celebrated and begin ripping into the many presents that usually accompany such an occasion.
Along with other roles we don’t care for, like amateur hairdresser and home-learning teacher, many parents have also been given the unenviable job of explaining to their child (or children) that they can’t have a birthday party due to COVID-related restrictions. Telling your child that under current restrictions, they can’t even have their grandparents over for a visit can feel heartbreaking, especially when our kids have already had to forego so much.
Naturally, we feel compelled to try and compensate them in whatever ways we can, but if you’ve never thrown a “lockdown birthday” before then you may not know where to begin.
If you need some help putting together an isolation celebration, these ideas are for you!
Decorate like your life depends on it
- When it comes to decorating, be EXTRA. Go big on decorations, especially those that can be recycled! It doesn’t have to cost you (or the environment) a lot. Think tissue paper pom poms, glossy magazine/pamphlet paper chains, DIY happy birthday banners and stick up photos of your child from years gone by.
- You can find pre-loved reusable balloons via the Sutherland Shire Balloon Library. If you do choose to buy new, then passing decorations along rather than binning them is strongly encouraged. Pick one room where you plan to celebrate/open presents etc and put all the decorations in that space so there is a high-concentration of a celebration!
- For those short on time, local business The Enchanted Teepee also offers ready-made party styling solutions including teepees with a small balloons garland, lantern, pillows, lights, an indoor “cinema system” and a breakfast and lollies tray. Or you can contact Linda’s Balloon Bouquets for foil balloons and decorations.
Make fun with food
- Make your child’s birthday extra sweet with a delivery from Bec Bakes. From giant pizza cookies to boxes of donuts and cupcakes, this is party food that won’t disappoint!
- For cookies that can be customised for any occasion, and cakes that will impress Clever Cookie has got you covered.
- You can also find supplies to make your own crazy creations from Mint Cake and Party Supplies. Choose from their huge range of cake toppings and sprinkles, whip up some icing and let your child go nuts on a simple sponge cake, vanilla cupcakes or pack of Arrowroot biscuits.
- Get yourself a platter you can graze on all day from The Grazing Cow, The Whole Fruit and Grocery Store, A Plated Affair, Glazed with Honey, Loaf Cronulla, With Love Co. or The Morning Brew.
- Let your child decide what’s for dinner. Whatever they decide ask them whether they’d rather buy or make their own- sometimes making pizzas or putting together a colourful display of nachos and taco can be even more fun than getting takeaway.
- Set up a time and date for an online party with a few of your child’s closest friends. You may not be able to play pass the parcel but there are other fun games you can play via Zoom like Freeze/musical statues, a scavenger hunt (where each person has to find the object in their own house and the first to return wins), trivia quizzes (maybe based on a TV show or music they all like). You can even use House Party rather than Zoom to play pre-loaded group games like Heads Up and Pictionary/Quick Draw.
- Organise to drop-off party entertainment before the party that kids can use at the same time. You can deliver different craft packs, tye-dye kits, or paint your own cookie kits.
- Engadine-based business Glass and Brush are hosting painting parties for kids. They supply everything you need for an arty kids party and deliver within the Sutherland Shire.
- StarDust Kids offer interactive 30-minute parties. Here your child, their friends and family will be able to engage with the entertainer live via video streaming, enjoying plenty of classic kids party games and activities, and even getting to take part in a Q & A with their favourite character!
- Bop till you Drop have put together three innovative party packages to suit every birthday boy or girl. Their Virtual Disco, Virtual Science and Virtual Slime Parties are suitable for kids aged 4-12 and minimal fuss.
- Was your child’s heart set on a sleepover? Teleparty is the new way you can watch movies with your friends from afar. Get everyone together in their Pjs with snacks at the ready and watch a synchronised movie of the birthday child’s choice.
Enlist EXTRA entertainment
- If you’re in a position to splash out a little bit extra (maybe because you’re saving on a party you’d have otherwise thrown) there are plenty of local businesses who can help you out and would love the extra support. For a birthday they won’t forget, hire (or buy) a small jumping castle, climbing dome, sumo suits, inflatable bubbles, giant jenga or Connect Four.
- For cheaper entertainment alternatives, make your own garden games like DIY ten pin bowling, three-legged races, egg and spoon races and feed the monsters! You’ll find a great list of outdoor party games here.
- Make one of these fabulous DIY pinatas that you can fill with your child’s favourite lollies.
- Is it even a party if you haven’t danced? If you don’t have a disco light, stick some cellophane or coloured tissue paper over the end of some torches, turn the lights off and crank your child’s favourite songs up so your family can dance together like no one’s watching- better yet, no one will be.
- Instead of just giving your child their presents in the morning, create a scavenger hunt that leads them to different presents hidden around the yard or house.
Tell all your friends!
- It might seem like common sense, but one important way to ensure your child is made to feel special, not just by you but by all their friends and family, is to give everyone a heads up that your child’s birthday is approaching. Everyone has a lot going on right now and a friendly reminder on your child’s class group on Facebook, or mentioning that you’re getting things ready for your child’s birthday when you chat to friends and family will give people time to put some thought into how they can honour your child’s birthday.
- Putting a few decorations up outside the house and writing a big chalk HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign on the driveway might also encourage neighbours to celebrate your child. It’s the well wishes on our birthdays that really make us feel special and they’re also a great reminder that we are still part of a community and connected to each other.
Organise some special virtual visitors
- In addition to rallying your usual crew, you can gift your child with extra special birthday messages from people they won’t expect! Is there a certain celebrity your child would LOVE to hear from? Cameo allows you to select from a huge range of celebrities who (for a small fee, which varies based on who you choose) will record a personalised message to wow your child on their birthday. Some even offer video calls. There are comedians, actors, musicians, sports stars and reality TV and You Tube stars. There are more than 10,000 different popular personalities to choose from.
- Want your famous face to do more than just say happy birthday? Superheroes Inc offer Virtual Zoom parties hosted by all your kids’ favourite characters. Select your child’s preferred host- whether it be Harry Potter, Spiderman or a Disney Princess (they have 180+ on offer) and whether you’d like an Interactive Party, Magic Show or a Dance-Off including games, quizzes and even a special video message from your chosen character.
- Pistachio Entertainment offers personalised video messages from a range of characters or you can choose to have a Live Character Virtual Party, which celebrates your child with a variety of games, singing and dancing.
We hope you’re able to use these ideas to create some amazing birthday experiences and memories for your child so that they remember more than just having their birthday party cancelled!
Looking for more ways to survive lockdown? Check out other Mums of the Shire lockdown guides here.