Social distancing has become the norm in recent months, but if your child’s birthday or another family party is on the horizon, you may be wondering just how to go about hosting. From suitable themes to party game ideas, we’ve got top tips to ensure your social distancing party goes off without a hitch!
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No pressure, but your child’s birthday is their favourite day of the entire year. It’s an opportunity to make them feel extra special and create memories that will last a lifetime.
While social distancing is important, it doesn’t mean that the kids can’t have fun – as long as you do some careful planning, they’ll be thrilled with everything!
If your child is insisting that they want all their pals to be involved and invited to their party, then it’s best to go the virtual route. However, if they are okay with only having a few friends round, it’s time to get planning a great party!
Don’t forget that you need to take into account what the other parents will feel comfortable with too, so it might be wise to create a Whatsapp group or similar to put forward some suggestions and see what gets the most votes.
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How to Throw a Virtual Party
Zoom, Skype or similar virtual options are a great way to have a big group of mates to mark the occasion, and there’s no reason why you won’t get maximum attendance if you schedule it well in advance. You could even record the call for posterity – it’ll certainly be a conversation point and unique party to look back on in years to come.
Ask the birthday boy or girl to decide on a theme and then ask everyone to dress up for the call. It could be their favourite movie, TV show or book, or you could make it easier and pick a colour for everyone to wear.
No party, even a virtual one, is complete without invitations. Set your child the task of designing an invite to communicate the theme – they just need to create one, and it could be a drawing, comic, painting, secret coded message, or whatever they can come up with! You can then email or Whatsapp their creation to all the party guests and include the date, time, meeting ID and password to log on.
The party may be virtual, but the treats can still be real! There’s no reason why you can’t give each child a party bag; it may just work better to give it to them before the event rather than at the end.
Do a birthday drive-by and drop off (at a distance, of course) some goodies for each of your child’s virtual guests to enjoy during the call. Apart from some edible treats, you could also include some age-appropriate activities. Colouring supplies, a mini tub of playdough, charades cards, quiz questions, a bingo sheet, treasure hunt sheet, etc. Turn them into something fun to do on the call – for example, play a game of virtual charades, or have a race to build something with LEGO or playdough…there are lots of great options.
Above all else, ensure that you allow time for a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ before your free 40 minutes (on Zoom) is up.
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What About a Social Distancing Party in the Garden?
A garden party is a great option in the current climate because we know that it’s safer to stay outdoors. If you’re worried about the weather, consider hiring a gazebo so that at least you’ll be reassured that rain won’t halt play.
Social distancing is key so why not think up a fun way to keep the party guests separate. If they’re playing on concrete the children could chalk their own circle two meters apart, and if they’re on grass you could give them each a hula hoop that they can’t step outside of. You could then play musical statues, ‘Simon Says’ or charades and award prizes for the winner of each game, as well as a special bonus prize for anyone that didn’t budge outside of their ‘bubble’.
If your child is a film fanatic, why not set up their very own outdoor cinema? Purchase or hire a projector and create a screen by pegging a white sheet to your washing line or fence. Ask the kids to bring their own cushions so everyone stays cosy and then place them two metres apart on picnic blankets or groundsheets. Make up goodie bags for each of the children – don’t forget the popcorn (their own sealed bags would work best) and a drink.
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What Else to Consider With a Social Distancing Party
Collection and Drop Off
Consider staggering the drop off and collection times slightly. This will prevent adults from congregating in your hallway, and if you’ve got a side gate then instructing them to enter through there rather than the front door will help further.
As well as being strict about only inviting a small group of children (particularly with younger kids), it’s also a good idea to keep the party short and sweet.
If you (or the other children’s parents) feel that offering food is more challenging, consider a party time like mid-morning or mid-afternoon so that you can skip providing a meal.
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Party Games and Activities
In addition to the backyard movie and games, there are lots more socially distant activities than can keep everyone entertained:
- Obstacle courses and Sports Day games
- Traditional party games (musical statues, Simon Says, charades, hide and seek, etc)
- Art station where each child gets to bring their paints/colours home
- Cupcake decorating with an individual bowl of sprinkles and sweets
If you are serving party food, skip the bowls of crisps or shareable food and avoid a free-for-all where the children serve themselves. Instead, take orders beforehand so you can serve individual plates of food, or do up plates with a variety of options.
Some parents may prefer their children to bring their own treats with them, so check beforehand what the consensus is.
Using the Bathroom
Of course, children will most likely need to go to the bathroom during the party, so make sure you’re stocked up with antibacterial soap and paper towels for hand drying.
Birthdays and cake go hand in hand, right? But blowing out candles and then serving the cake to your guests is best avoided.
Your options here are to keep the cake for family only and provide cupcakes for your guests, or pop a candle in a cupcake for your child to blow out and then slice up the cake to share.
What About Presents?
Parties and presents typically go hand-in-hand, and there is little that can stop a birthday child from opening their gifts!
If you’re concerned, you could keep the presents until the end of the party when the guests have left and give them a quick wipe down before your child opens them. And a hand wash afterwards is a good idea.
Older children love to get a gift card so they can choose their own present. If you are asked for gift ideas, this is a good suggestion for any age.
Although it may seem like there is a lot to think about and organise, your plans will help to ensure your child and their friends have a wonderful time!
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Have your say! What other tips and ideas do you have for throwing a social distancing party for your child’s birthday? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!