Let’s face it, these are stressful times. We are in the middle of a pandemic with no end in sight.
While everyone is feeling the effects of Covid-19 between jobs lost, loved ones sick, and businesses being closed, no one feels the effects quite like a parent. As parents, we are resilient and great at implementing changes. We’ve had to cancel playdates and trips to the zoo, but the most unfortunate cancellation for our children is the annual celebration of their life. This is the one day of the year that is about just them, where they get to let loose with friends, eat that special cake with their favorite dinosaurs on it, and of course who could forget the presents!
This year my daughter sadly had to cancel her birthday party to a local children’s museum. I told her we would reschedule it in a month or two as soon as it was safe to do so. We also had several invitations to her friend’s birthday parties at several fun places but as the day of the parties crept up inevitably all of them were canceled. While many places are staying closed, we have found some fun and creative ideas so that canceling your child’s annual party won’t be necessary. Here are some fun and socially distanced options to try:
Make it Retro: Drive-in Movie Night
Recently, we were invited to a very cool and creative children’s party. Not only did the kids have a ball but it took parents back to a simpler time in our own childhoods. It is a simple idea really with a retro twist. Bring the old school drive-in theatre to your home! While having a dozen cars parked out in front of your house is not ideal, we have some ideas to get around this and still be socially distant! To pull this off you only need a few things to bring this party to life!
- Movie projector (Surprisingly affordable!)
TIP- For those trying to justify paying for a projector that may not get much use, you can use them for other kid-friendly activities too. One person took their children to the park to play Pokémon Go while projecting the show on a tree with the projector. The kids will not be forgetting that anytime soon.
- White sheet or unobstructed side of the house.
- Snacks and Drinks
TIP- We recommend visiting your local dollar store to get multi divided baskets. There’s room for boxes of candy, popcorn, and a drink which you can also purchase at the dollar store for the best value.
Something comfortable to sit in or on
- For little kids, you can utilize the various ride along toys and cars, we all have
- Another fun idea is you can give each child a large box to decorate and turn into their own car! Then they can place a pillow inside and get comfortable.
- For older kids use the air mattresses and sleeping bags that have been collecting dust. Most kids have access to one or the other and have them bring their favorite pillow or blanket.
- A great age-appropriate movie (I recommend the classics to go with the retro vibe)
- Once you have set everything up make sure to space everyone 6 feet apart and have a great night!
Because Who Doesn’t Love Smores?
By now we all know our kids are missing sleepovers, but we may not want our kids curling up next to each other or sharing bedding. That doesn’t mean we can’t still have a slumber party and better yet let’s do it outside! Fresh air, stories, and s’mores over the fire, and sleeping under the stars with our friends. Depending on the size of your yard, you may need to limit the number of guests as you will want to make sure that there is enough space to make sure everyone can space out around the fire and in their tents. Most of the ideas needed for this night under the stars are probably items you already have or can easily purchase such as:
- Tents (Ask each child to bring their own if they have one)
- Sleeping bags and pillows
- Hot dogs or hamburgers
- S’mores and other treats
- Bug spray
For those that may live in an apartment or area where camping outside may not be possible, consider booking a local campsite. You can frequently get a great price in the offseason and many charges per site not per person which will save you a chunk of change. Some campgrounds even offer amenities such as pools, arcades, playgrounds, bathrooms, etc. Just remember when using any public areas to wash your hands and socially distance yourself when possible.
Zombies During a Pandemic? Sounds Like Spooky Fun!
Zombies are everywhere in the media now. From the hit show, The Walking Dead to countless haunted houses and corn mazes featuring zombie jump scares they are everywhere we look. While we are all dealing with a real-life pandemic instead of the frequently seen zombie apocalypse on television let’s use this opportunity to take a scary situation and make it fun for a few hours. While being so close to Halloween birthdays around this time of year also get the added benefit of being an optional costume party. Let everyone wear their best zombie makeup and hold a contest for most creative or scary. Make treats that resemble items that you would find during a zombie apocalypse. This party can be fun and is budget-friendly. Here are some items you may need.
- Zombie makeup/costume
- Snacks and Drinks
- Try fruit punch with dry ice for a “bloody drink”
- Brain cupcakes (any flavor cupcake can be used. Just use a pink icing and pipe it into squiggles to resemble brains. If you want to be extra “bloody” add strawberry or cherry preserves in the middle of the cupcakes.
- Get skull molds at the local craft store and make “pizza skulls.” Fill the molds with sauce pepperoni and cheese for a creepy and hearty snack.
- Pink and red balloons- fill them with water and have a brain water balloon fight!
- Find your favorite online slime recipe and let each kid make some to take home. It is super easy, just make sure to have a sealed container for the finished product so they don’t leave a mess!
- Movie projector (Optional but can be super fun to watch an outdoor zombie-themed movie)
This party would be fun for any kid that loves zombie movies and wants to do something outside the norm. Also, a bonus, if you are not able to go trick or treating this year you can use this party as an alternative as all activities should be able to be done at an acceptable distance. Just make sure to stock up on candy as a party favor!
Curious if You Could Make it on the Run? Play Fugitive….
As a teenager, I was introduced to the game of Fugitive. It is best explained as a hybrid of tag and hide and seek. This game is a great option for your teen’s birthday as you frequently need to play independently. This is best for kids old enough to be unsupervised for small amounts of time. This game is simple and can be explained in these few simple steps:
- Select a safe route with a starting place and ending place (You will need to relay this to every player. Communication is key.)
- Pick 2 drivers or “seekers” to track down the “fugitives”
- Make sure each person that will be trying to escape has a flashlight.
- Have everyone break into small groups.
- The goal is to hide and run from the starting point to the very end of the route without being caught by the “seekers” that are searching for you in their car.
- If a “seeker” spots you, they will flash their headlights at you, and you are “caught.” At this point, you are out of the game.
- Whoever makes it to the end without being spotted wins!
Tips: * Hide where you can but do not touch people’s personal property such as houses and cars along the way. Respect people’s boundaries and private property.
Everyone Loves an Adventure!
Our last party idea is great because it allows for both physical and mental stimulation. It can also be adjusted to fit any age all the way up to adults. Make it as easy or as hard as you want. The adventure that we are speaking of is none other than a scavenger or treasure hunt. You can use any theme from pirates’ treasures to pick your child’s favorite movie.
For example, we did Lord of the Rings/ Medieval theme. You may need to be creative to pull this off as you may not want to have too many physical items for the children to touch. We let the kids try to locate the most detailed maps of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. We then set them on an adventure to look for “the ring.” We set forth a giant table of crafts with materials to build their costume and the most creative won a prize. I wish we had gotten a picture! We also decided in honor of the still-standing dead “Tree of Gondor” to have each kid plant a tree. We gave them each extra point and why not give back to mother nature as well. We were able to find baby trees available for $6 each at the local hardware store. Here are some other fun themes to try:
- Marvel or Favorite Superhero
- Princess and Knights
- Favorite Disney movie
- To avoid excessive physical contact, you may want to try using clues that lead to the next clue instead of a physical item. When they get to the end, they can get their individual prizes
We know that even with these social distant ideas that there will still be challenges to overcome to give your kids the party they deserve. Remember even if you are uncomfortable with having unnecessary contact with your children’s friends you can still do these ideas as a family to celebrate.
We hope your kids love these ideas and can celebrate their special day this year! We would love to hear from you if you have any other ideas or pictures that you would like to share! Contact us.