Social Distancing – The end of Parties, or the start of new traditions?

From changes to working patterns, loss of child care, introduction of home schooling or a decrease in financial stability, everyone has had different battles to face this year due to Covid-19.

Whatever restrictions have been put in place, one thing remains constant – our children still have birthdays. In the UK the majority of our children have become accustomed to having birthday parties, surrounded by their friends and families. Many are too young to really understand the implications of Covid, and it can be difficult trying to explain to them why their friends and family are not celebrating with them on their special day.

Here at Mossy Parties our business was obviously and sensibly been on hold. Hiring our reusable Party Kits and encouraging social gatherings will only be done when the government think it is safe to do so. So it got us thinking, how could we help birthday children feel extra special during this socially isolated time. Just because it’s not a ‘traditional’ birthday party, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and start some new traditions along the way.

Maybe you could start a new Birthday tradition even as lockdown life comes to an end. Here are some of our most popular ideas so far:

10 Simple Lockdown Birthday Ideas

King or Queen of Birthdays

Give your birthday star the royal treatment, including throne, robe and crown!

Make a crown. This can be simply a hat out of an old Christmas cracker you have in the cupboard, some decorated cardboard, or you could go all out and crochet something that can be used every year. Add to the costume a robe. You may have something from previous fancy dress, or you could just use a sheet from the laundry cupboard. Treat it like an exquisite piece of clothing and their imagination will do the rest.

Decorate a chair with colourful sheets and cushions to give them their own throne for the day. Set it up ready the night before with their favourite breakfast ready to be served.

When they wake up tell them that their good behaviour this year means they are being crowned King or Queen of the house for the day. Present them with their crown and robe and tell them that their throne awaits.

When they are sitting in their throne they get to make the rules! Let them plan what they want to do for the day, what they want for dinner or even what they want their servants (yes you!) to wear whilst they are waiting upon them.

Enjoy the fun – they may boss you around a bit and it may be a day full of the unexpected, or a day of slobbing infront of the TV. That’s OK. Having one day of doing what they want to do as a thank you for being good and resiliant through these strange times is a small thing in the grand scheme of things. Put aside your chores, don’t worry about the mess and see where their imagination takes them and you.

Star Jar

Give them something to look forward to and get them involved in planning their birthday weeks before it arrives.

All you need is an old jar, some scraps of paper, scissors and a pencil, pen or crayon. Cut out a load of star shapes on scrap paper or card – they don’t have to be perfect. If you find it difficult, play around until you create a star you like then use it as a template to create more.

Decorate the jar with scraps of paper or ribbon and add the Birthday Stars name and Birthday.

Introduce the Star Jar a month or so before their Birthday. The idea is to allow them to add activities each time they do or say something that you would like to reward. For some children this may be as simple as saying please and thank you. For others it may be when they offer to do something special for someone else. We like to think of it as a chance to reward when they go ‘above and beyond’ your expectations.

Every time they go above and beyond, write down a thank you on one side of a star ‘thank you for hugging mummy when she was upset’, and add their Birthday idea on the other side.

A week before their Birthday empty the jar and see what star ideas they have. Use these together to plan their day. Ideas that may not be possible for their birthday can be put back in the jar for future fun.

Theme Their Whole Day

Many people have themed parties. We all know someone who is Dino mad or will only wear pink and glittery things!

Instead of having a themed party have a themed day. Start breakfast surrounded with their favourite toys. Cut their toast into shapes. Use bright bedding as tablecloths or backdrops. Cut out paper shapes or bunting and decorate the house.

Get the whole family dressed up for the theme. Whether this is creating a stegasaurus mask for dad out of some cardboard boxes, or trying your hand at origami to make pirate hats for everyone. Google is our friend, search DIY fancy dress ideas and you will find a whole host of ideas for all levels of craft DIYer.

Birthday Bake Off

Unless you bake cakes regularly, the thought of baking a Birthday Cake can be quite stressful, and during these weird times you may not be able to get to the Supermarket to buy one easily. So why not make the Birthday cake part of the day.

Hold a cake bake off in your own home with everyone making a mini cake (that way the Birthday star gets even more cake than usual!), or if you have young children, get them involved in making a batch of cupcakes or cookies and have a decorating competition.

If you have a competitive streak and love to bake why not extend the challenge to friends and family and share pictures online or via a video call. The Birthday Star can pick the best looking baked goodies and announce the winner.

A lovely way to incorporate an activity that provides a traditional(ish) element to a Birthday at the same time.

Community Fun

Ask the neighbours to put up something in their windows and go for a walk to see how many messages or pictures you can see. It could be a picture in the window, chalk drawings on the paths, some party decorations or even some outdoor bunting. A great way to make sure the Birthday star feels special.

How about booking an icecream van to visit your road? We love this idea that a local mum shared recently. By having a timeslot and letting the neighbours know, it kind of feels like a party, but everyone is outdoors and can keep their distance, plus you see people for just a short amount of time. You never know you may meet some new neighbours too!

Digital Surprise Party

A few months ago most of us didn’t have a clue what Zoom was. But you know what, it (and many other video conferencing apps) have been a blessing for keeping in touch with friends and family.

If you have a computer, tablet or smart phone that you can set up at the table, then why not make the most of technology and bring the family and friends to you digitally.

Arrange a convenient time for your loved ones and choose a platform to use. This could be Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime, Facebook Video or many more. Whatever you are most comfortable with and your family can join in on. Make sure you choose a platform that can host multiple people in the video call at the same time.

Have the room set out as you would for a party with colourful decorations, tablecloth, napkins and finger foods. Play party music and wear your favourite party outfits. Get your family and friends to do the same, so they can stay on call and eat their party meal at the same time.

Before you bring in your Birthday star for their party meal, make sure everyone has managed to join your video call and ask them all to be quiet. Just like they are at a real surprise party and waiting for the Birthday star to walk through the door. If they are on a tablet, turn it away or facedown whilst you fetch them. For a computer, try popping a sheet over the screen or putting the screen on standby (don’t turn the computer itself on standby!).

Get them to the table and reveal the screen. Hopefully on queue all their lovely friends and family will be able to shout surprise, or sing happy Birthday. Keep them on call whilst you all have your lunch or dinner, sharing a virtual dining table. People will talk over each other and there will be lots of hustle and bustle – just as it would be if you were all in the same room.

Personalised Birthday Messages

Birthday cards are a tradition that most children love, as it is something they can display after their Birthday has ended, that extends the celebrations.

Instead of traditional cards, ask family and friends to send a photo of themselves with the message on the back. They can be displayed on the mantlepiece just like cards would be, but they help keep the faces of loved ones current and they can be added to a scrapbook or photobook afterwards, reducing waste.

If your Birthday star loves to follow someone famous, send them a message on Twitter or Instagram. You never know you may get a Birthday message back that would make their day.

You could have a personalised video message, song or cartoon made by one of the many party entertainers that have taken to providing online services. Whether it is a rock ballard or a video from Elsa, there are numerous options available.

Escape Room

For older kids who like a bit of a challenge, a home Escape Room could be just what you are looking for. There are a number of companies that make these to buy, or you can have a bit of fun making your own. Just be warned, they take a LOT longer to make than to solve! But if you have the time and energy to put the effort in, the feeling of achievement when your crew achieve the first task is worth it.

If you don’t know where to start, take a look for inspiration online. We love Lock Paper Scissors who give you the blueprint to build your own. Or if you want to to an online experience from the professionals take a look at Telford’s Xscape Now who have recently launched online versions of their Award Winning Escape Rooms.

Digital Detox Sleepover

Get the whole family to camp out together in the living room. Bring pillows and duvets, use sheets to make a fort between the sofas, have ‘midnight’ snacks and have a digital free night or story telling. If you have a tent and its good weather you can take the party into the garden. There are no rules for bedtime, the only rule is that the evening is family time only. No screens or phones allowed!

For older children you could even add in some pampering time with a foot soak and home made face masks. Or if you fancy going all out as restrictions lift, you could look at hiring a sleepover kit to include indoor tipis, fairy lights and more. We love Simplee Teepees and Tickle My Party, both based in Shrewsbury.

Birthday Quiz

If you have a family who likes a bit of healthy competition then a Birthday quiz could be just up your street. It could be a traditional pub style quiz with question rounds – there are loads of examples available online at the moment – or you could create a family competition with a whole host of different events.

Work together to come up with ideas for different activities – this could include an art competition, egg and spoon race, obstacle course, best fancy dress or guess the pop star from a music snippet. You could even make your own medals and have a presentation ceremony at the end of the day. Don’t forget to include activities that the whole family can achieve to ensure everyone feels included!

These are just a few ideas we have seen recently and we love how people are using their imagination to enjoy Birthday lovkdowns. Whatever you decide to do, most importantly have fun! Traditional parties and alternative celebrations can be hard work, but the more you enjoy yourself, the more the birthday star will do too.

We would love to know what you have been doing during le look forward to seeing more of you soon as our eco friendly reusable party kits start to brighten up kids Birthdays in the near future.

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