If your little one has a birthday coming up and you’re stuck at home, there are still ways you can make his or her big day special. While it may not be as exciting as hosting an in-person birthday party with friends and family, a little creativity can go a long way in ensuring you mark the day properly. This will require a little upfront planning and preparation on your part, but you’ll be saving money and won’t be stuck with a huge mess to clean-up afterwards, which is a bonus. Keep reading for our best planning tips and ideas to help you organize a virtual birthday party for kids you will remember for years to come!
Virtual Birthday Party for Kids: 11 Ideas for Parents
1. HOST A CLASSROOM ZOOM CALL
This seems to be the most popular idea for those who are trying to throw a virtual party for kids right now. Most kids are already partaking in daily/weekly lessons via Zoom, making it easy to tack on a mini celebration to honor your little one. Ask your child’s teacher if this is possible, and keep reading for ideas to help you add a little creativity and excitement to the celebration!
2. ORGANIZE INDIVIDUAL CALLS WITH CLOSE FRIENDS
While it’s fun for kids to get together as a class, it can also be disorganized and LOUD. This may be just the kind of thing your child is craving to celebrate his or her special day, but if he or she is older and/or doesn’t tolerate chaos very well, you may consider setting up 1:1 calls with some or all of his or her friends throughout the day. Not only does this allow the kids to connect on a more personal level, but it also spreads the festivities out over the course of the day. Instead of having one 15-minute call with the whole class, your child can have several short calls with friends all day long, making him or her feel extra loved.
3. ASK EVERYONE TO MAKE A CARD
While some of your child’s friends may send a gift or gift card to help make the day special, this is a scary time and not everyone has the means to do that right now. Consider reaching out to parents ahead of time and asking them if their child can make a card for your child in lieu of gifts. They can then display it for everyone to see while they are celebrating online!
If you’re celebrating a birthday from home this year, hanging up party decorations is a great way to add excitement to the day. And for those who are hosting a virtual birthday party for kids, you can take it a step further and ask family and friends to decorate THEIR space so your child can see balloons, streamers, and posters when they connect online. You probably want to avoid asking an entire classroom of moms and dads to facilitate this, but if you’re organizing 1:1 calls with close family and friends and they want to make the day extra special, I am sure they would be open to the idea!
5. HOST A DRESS-UP PARTY
Another fun idea for parents who are organizing a virtual birthday party for kids to consider is hosting a costume party. Kids love to dress up, so you can ask them to wear their Halloween costume or challenge them to create a costume based on a particular theme. You obviously want to be mindful of how much work you’re adding to another parent’s load with this idea, so be mindful of choosing something easy and reach out to parents ahead of time to confirm this isn’t too big of an ask.
6. ENJOY A TREAT TOGETHER!
My daughter’s school has organized a Zoom call to celebrate birthdays on the last Friday of every month, and has asked everyone to bring a cupcake so they can sing and enjoy a treat together. I think this is a wonderful idea as it gives the illusion that the kids are enjoying a slice of birthday cake together. My only advice is to keep it a little more broad and ask everyone to bring their favorite treat since not everyone has the supplies on hand to make frosty cupcakes. A bowl of gummies can be just as enjoyable and exciting!
7. HAVE A SING-A-LONG
If you’re trying to organize a virtual birthday party for kids and have no idea how to keep everyone engaged and entertained why they are staring at each other online, why not organize a sing-a-long? You can ask your child’s teacher for a list of songs the kids have practiced in music class, or choose basic favorites everyone knows. Another option is to ask your child’s music teacher to take the lead! Music can be such a powerful tool in boosting everyone’s spirits – I highly recommend this idea!
8. ORGANIZE A FEW PARTY GAMES
While you won’t be able to play more traditional birthday party games like pass the parcel or pin the tail on the donkey, there are lots of virtual birthday party games you can organize for your child and his or her friends to play together online. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
- SIMON SAYS. My daughter’s class played this over Zoom last week and it was a real hit!
- MUSICAL STATUES. Pump some good tunes, let the kids dance off some energy, and periodically stop the music and yell ‘FREEZE!’ This is a great way for everyone to blow off some steam – parents included.
- BIRTHDAY BINGO. If you’re willing to do a bit of upfront planning, Smart Party Ideas has curated tons of free birthday party bingo printables. Send these to your child’s friends ahead of time so they can print off a copy (or print them yourself and drop them off in everyone’s mailbox) and see who gets the most BINGOs!
- CHARADES. Charades is another great way to get kids laughing, and it’s one of the easiest virtual birthday party games for kids to organize. Send the prompts to each guest ahead of time so they have time to practice!
- PICTIONARY. If you’re looking for virtual birthday party games for older kids, this is a great one to consider. Send them their clues ahead of time (or DM/text them in real time) and then set a timer for each guest to sketch out their clue before showing it to the rest of the guests to see if they can guess what they drew.
- MOST EMBARRASSING STORY. While this isn’t a virtual birthday party game per se, it’s a great way to get everyone talking and laughing together at a time when we all need a little extra joy in our lives!
- BIRTHDAY BOY/GIRL QUIZ. My last idea for those who are looking for virtual birthday party games for kids is to create a quiz about the birthday girl or boy. You can include obvious things, like their hair and eye color, and stuff their friends might not know about them, like their hidden talents and favorite foods. Read the questions out loud, have everyone record their answers, and see who knows the birthday girl/boy the best!
9. WATCH A MOVIE TOGETHER
Ask your child and his or her friends to choose a movie they all love (or have been dying to watch) and organize a virtual movie night! This will obviously work best with a smaller group of children, and if their parents are game, you can make it feel like a virtual sleepover. Get the kids into their jammies, pop some popcorn, and allow them to watch the movie and discuss it together online. Zoom only allows 40-minute meetings on their free plan, so you may want to use a different platform like FaceTime. Or, you can schedule regular 40-minute breaks during the movie for the kids to use the bathroom and get more snacks, and then set-up a new Zoom meeting.
10. HAVE A SPA SESSION!
If you’re trying to organize a virtual birthday party for your tween or teen girl, consider getting her closest girlfriends together for an online spa session. You and your child can create mini spa packages for each friend with essentials like a nail file, nail polish, and a face mask (Amazon is still delivering!), and drop them into the mail boxes of each guest ahead of time. The kids can then gossip and listen to music online while painting their nails and giving their skin a little TLC.
11. PLAY ONLINE GAMES
If you’re hosting a virtual birthday party for a tween or teen boy, online gaming is a great option to consider. While your child is probably already playing games online with their friends, you can make it extra special by adding yummy treats, enabling them to see and talk to each other via Zoom, and you might even consider organizing some sort of challenge whereby players compete against each other, with 2 opponents going head-to-head for the championship title at the end of the day!
7 Other Ways to Make Birthdays at Home Special
In addition to organizing a virtual birthday party for kids and their friends, there are lots of other simple ways you can make your little one’s big day extra special when you’re stuck at home.
1. HAVE A ‘YES’ DAY
If you’re up for the challenge, lol, make a pact with your child that you will do anything and everything they suggest/request for the duration of their birthday. You’ll probably have to set some parameters, but this can be a great way to make your child feel like they are the star of your household, and that they are running the show for the day!
2. GET DRESSED UP
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed up! Encourage the whole family to dress in their finest attire, or challenge everyone to create their own costume based on a theme chosen by the birthday girl or boy.
3. HAVE A DAY-LONG FEAST
Another way to bring joy while celebrating a birthday at home is to create a birthday menu and spend the day cooking and enjoying the birthday child’s favorite foods and treats. This requires a little planning and preparation to ensure you know what you’re making and that you have all of the ingredients on hand, making it the perfect way to get your little one excited in the days leading up to his or her birthday!
4. TAKE THE DAY OFF FROM DISTANCE LEARNING!
With the exception of Zoom calls with classroom friends, consider giving your child a pass from distance learning on their big day! This can be especially important for families who are struggling to balance working from home and distance learning as it helps remove a little stress for the day. This is also a great gift for parents!
5. ORGANIZE A FRIENDSHIP BIRTHDAY PARADE!
Ask your friends and family members if they would be willing to go the extra mile and decorate their cars and help create a (socially distanced) parade down your street! Organize it for a certain time and ensure the birthday girl or boy is outside waiting, and then have everyone drive slowly (with space between their cars), asking each person to slow down when they are close to your home. Friends and family can then open their windows and yell out a birthday greeting to your little one. Ask everyone to honk a lot to make things extra loud and exciting!
6. ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS TO SING
If you have a neighborhood email list or Facebook group, ask your neighbors if they would be willing to go out onto their porches or balconies at a specific time on your child’s birthday for a sing-a-long.
7. HAVE A FAMILY SLEEPOVER
My last idea for parents who are looking for ways to make birthdays special at home is to organize a family sleepover. Whether it’s letting your little one sleep in your bed, setting up sleeping bags for the whole family in the living room, or pitching a tent for a backyard camp out, this can be such a fun family activity. Add snacks, board games, and a movie, and it’s the perfect way to end a special day!
If you’re looking for tips to help you throw a virtual birthday party for kids, I hope the ideas in this post inspire you!