So one of your little's has a birthday coming up but every jump gymnasium, party store, and animatronic laden pizza arcade is closed - and to top it off, their friends can't come over. I know this seems like a recipe for a day of hurt feelings, disappointment, and tears - and without proper planning it may be. But I promise by the end of this, your head will be buzzing with simple ideas from my family to yours on how to turn an otherwise gloomy day into one so unique and memorable, you may even make new birthday traditions along the way.
1) Start the day with a surprise: When the kids go to sleep the night before their birthday, we get to work decorating the hall outside their door and a few other places in the house with streamers and balloons (on the floor and suspended on string so they hang down like a balloon chandelier - no helium required!) so they wake up greeted with colorful recognition that today is special. By the time they arrive in the kitchen for breakfast, they're already beaming with excitement for what the day holds. To make the morning complete, we stage a mini party set up at the breakfast table in their fav theme du jour (which has been Star Wars for pretty much all of them for a few consecutive years, not gonna lie.)
This step could prove a little more difficult this year with party stores being non-essential and Amazon ship times taking weeks. Luckily our options are open. These 8 person complete party sets come in a variety of themes all kids love, and arrive in just a few short days. See the full kids collection here
. (Imagine having breakfast at your kitchen table decked out with this cosmic display!)
Another affordable option (that I'm actually planning for my hubby's "Thanksgiving in July" b-day) is to scour the local dollar store. They've had a major come-up since we were kids and you can find some surprisingly cute decor, plus extras like number candles and treat bag filler...which we'll come back to later. For a little more time spent, but super easy and heartfelt option, make decor from what you have on hand like construction paper rainbow fan garlands (here's one we love
from Ice Cream Off Paper Plates). And check out our Stay Home Kids Party
Pinterest Board for a ton more!
2) Birthday breakfast: A tradition of ours that we're keeping rolling in these tough times is the birthday wishes pancake breakfast.
(Fancy chocolate milk from Figjar
We make "fancy" drinks like chocolate milk with crazy straws, or colorful smoothies with fun garnishes, plus a big batch of the celebrated kid's fav flavor pancakes. For one it's choco-banana, for another bacon filled. If they're too little to have a favorite, go for funfetti and top with sprinkles, a candle, and a silly whip cream face (or try this Princess pancake
recipe) Spend breakfast chatting about the way things have changed in the past year, and your wishes or predictions for the future.
3) Birthday attire: I'm super in favor of letting kids express themselves through clothing choice anyway, but it's not always possible in the "normal" world of school uniforms and day-to-day runaround.
(stolen from The Stir)
For today, give them freedom to fully flaunt their style while choosing a birthday outfit! Whether it's jammies all day, something with a cape, or like me circa 1993 - a Minnie Mouse swimsuit and red cowboy boots.
4) Involve friends and family... from a distance: I don't know if all kids of this generation are fascinated with physical letters, but mine LOVE getting mail. A week or two prior, ask any friends and family who might be interested to send a postcard to be read day-of. If you have creative friends you may even end up with some original artwork or coloring page cards. This is fun to do after breakfast, but I personally like to save it for winding down in the evening and read them all as a family (it doubles as a gratitude exercise which we could all use more of right now.)
If mail isn't your kids thing, plan a Zoom hang out with a themed background and invite friends and family to take turns sharing a favorite memory with the birthday kid to remind them they're important to the people in their lives, even while far away.
Zoom VIrtual Background
5) Make it feel like a party: This can mean whatever you want. For us, it's wearing party hats/crowns (which can also be made from all kinds of household items, or printed and colored. See our Pinterest birthday crown
section for more) Letting each kid make their own adds more fun to the day with a creative group activity and having treat bags/party favors for all the kids in your house (hello dollar store stickers, temp tattoos, and candy mix!) - just like they'd get attending any regular birthday party.
6) Spend the day doing activities they choose: If they love nature, find a park and go for a walk as a family and let them play nature guide, telling you about the different plants and birds. If they'd prefer a few quiet hours to read or play Minecraft without little siblings bugging them, so be it. Or if they're like mine and are movie obsessed, let them plan a little marathon and make special snacks like a DIY popcorn bar. We're lucky enough to live near the great vintage style drive-in theatre Galaxy Drive-in
which has been able to remain open during all of this, so for us, it's grabbing cozy blankets and heading out for a star gazing double feature instead. Just make the most of what's open and available. You might be surprised by the day-trips and deals in your area. Our local arcade ( The Arcade
) offers two hours of private gaming for your group for just $10 a person. From DFW you can hit Inner Space Cavern
, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
, and Dinosaur Valley
in no time, any one of which would be a mesmerizing way to spend a birthday that we might not normally consider when we are able to have a regular bounce house and balloons type birthday.
*Bonus tip: Make the occasion way-out of the ordinary with a two day rental of a selfie station
with choice of backdrop and DIY props shipped right to your door!
Though it may seem grim or daunting at first, making a fabulous birthday at home during this time of isolation just comes down to a little extra thought, planning, and tapping into the creative self inside us all (yes, even you!) There are a ton of ways to celebrate your little while the world is shut down, and I hope this quick list jump started the party planning juice for you to make a festive and memorable day of your own. For more tips and ideas check out our Pinterest
page, our isolation birthday board
, and follow us on Instagram
@MyPartyHero for daily party inspo.
💜 Lindsey & the My Party Hero Team