Planning a kid’s birthday party amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is no easy task. Here are some ideas that can help ensure the kids in your life have a blast on their birthday!
1. Drive-by party
If you live in an area hit hard by COVID-19, birthday parties may be off the table this year. But you can still host a drive-by party. Send out invitations for a half-hour or hour time on the weekend, and set up a table at the end of your driveway with individually wrapped treats for kids to take as favors. This way, your child will get to greet his or her friends. You may also want to set out some kind of quick outdoor activity; this year, my neighbor rented a dunk tank for his son’s birthday, and the kids who came by got to dunk him in the tank.
2. Hire a princess
No princess party is complete without hiring a real, live princess as a guest. The rates range from $100-$300 depending on time and the number of guests, and princesses are also doing Facetime calls for a lower fee. This is a great option for winter parties especially, when kids are stuck inside, because you can even have a family-only party but make it special by inviting a princess.
3. Apple picking
Although picking season is often early fall, most types of apples are still fresh and available in November. This is a great way to gather a small group of kids to do something fun outside at a farm or orchard. Give candy apples as favors, and have apple pie instead of a birthday cake.
4. Family scavenger hunt
If your party is limited to family only, now is the time to go all out with a theme and LOTS of decorations. A scavenger hunt is a fun, family-friendly activity you can do inside or outside your home. At the end of the hunt, the birthday child can find her or her pile of presents. Other ideas for family parties are doing tie-dye, family chalk drawings on the driveway, or do a piñata.
Zoos are a great outdoor birthday activity, even in the fall or winter, and possibly one of the best social distancing party ideas. Most have party packages available, and sometimes allow kids to get up close to animals that other visitors can’t. Most zoos are still open and doing parties for small groups.
6. Rent a movie theater
AMC and Cinemark theaters are allowing small private rentals for up to 20 people, starting at just $99. I took my kids last week, and it was wonderful! The theaters are serving regular snacks but at a big discount. This would be a great place to have a birthday party in the winter when outdoors isn’t an option. Kids can social distance in the theater by sitting several seats apart.
7. Surprise family vacation
Surprise your child on their birthday with a family getaway! This could be camping, renting an Airbnb somewhere nearby, going to a national park, or to a kid-friendly attraction like a cavern, historical site (for older kids), skiing, or a farm.
8. Get a pet
If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, consider making it a birthday surprise. If you’re adopting from a shelter, make an appointment to see the animals that day so that your child can pick one.
9. Queen/King for a Day
If you can’t have a party with friends, make your son or daughter King or Queen for a Day. Surprise them with a robe and crown, and allow them to choose everything you do that day as a family. As part of the surprise, get a celebrity to wish them a happy birthday in a video message (there are several services that do this, and vary in prices).
10. Virtual Game Night
Set kids up to play Xbox or Playstation virtually together, or Facebook’s Instant Games offers games like Scrabble, Uno, and Cribbage that kids can play online together. There are several virtual trivia services available online through different companies as well.