The reality that a lot of us are facing at the moment is that our kids might have to celebrate their birthdays in isolation, and it can be quite a difficult time anyway without the thought of not being able to celebrate your special day with your friends. My daughter will be turning 13 soon, and it is looking like she might not be able to have the big party she was planning to celebrate becoming a teenager, so I have been thinking a lot about other ways you can celebrate while still staying in your bubble, and here are some of the ideas I came up with:
1. A week before let your child plan the menu for their special day, including a special breakfast, lunch and their favourite dinner, maybe some yummy snacks too, and don't forget the cake. Then you have plenty of time to shop for the supplies needed to create their perfect menu.
2. If you haven't sorted gifts yet, put together a hamper of goodies from the supermarket. Most supermarkets have a toy and stationery section which can include some great ideas like colouring books, stickers, soft toys, toy cars etc. But also have a look in the toiletries for some special bubble bath, lipgloss, a fancy new toothbrush, hair products etc, or now that we can order winter neccessities you could get them a nice new blanket and some winter pj's. Also, most pharmacies have some awesome kids gift packs as well, so check out your local pharmacy to see what they have. And of course you can add some of their favourite treats in there too, like chocolate bars, lollies, drinks etc.
3. Another great gift idea is to make them a coupon book full of things you will do once the lockdown is over. Fill it with fun experiences or print out pictures of things you will buy them, make it like a catalogue of all the awesomeness they can look forward to. Some ideas for experiences you can add are: dinner at a restaurant of your choice, a picnic at your favourite park, a swim at your favourite pools, a movie of your choice at the cinema, plus any other places you might like to visit like the zoo, animal parks, playgrounds and indoor play venues. This post has a free printable with some great ideas as well.
4. Make the gift giving more fun by making it into a treasure hunt. This one has some great ideas and generic clues that could work for most homes, or you could make up your own.
5. Organise a video chat using facebook messenger with some of the extended family and friends, you can even set a theme and ask them all to dress up to make it more fun. Have everyone sing happy birthday as the birthday child is blowing out their candles, just like they would if it was a real party. You can even play some virtual party games like musical statues or charades.
6. If your child is into being pampered, organise a DIY pamper session where you do things like paint nails, put on makeup and give each other fancy hair styles. I always like to include something crafty in my papmper parties, and a good one that is easy to do with supplies you can get from the supermarket is bath salts. Make them together and put it into a jar that they can decorate with stickers etc, then let the birthday child have a special bath that night with their own homemade bath salts and some pink lemonade in a special cup to make it even more special.
7. Reach out to your local neighbourhood, to see if they can help to make the day a bit more special. If you don't know your neighbours, then try posting on your local community groups on facebook. Ask people in your 'hood to create posters or decorate their mailbox, front door or yard, making sure to include the childs name in there somewhere if they can, so when you go out for a walk they can see all the awesome displays that people have created especially for them.
8. Just because we are all in isolation, doesn't mean you can't hire an entertainer for your childs birthday. There are various children's entertainers who are now offering personal video calls to the birthday child from their favourite character, or even online live magic shows or circus performances. A couple of the companies in NZ that I know of who are already doing this or planning to soon are Circus in A Flash or An Enchanted Party.
9. Homemade gifts are great too, if you have the time and materials to make them. If you have a sewing machine you could make a soft toy or doll, don't worry if you don't have any fabric, repurposing their favourite pj's that they've grown out of, or their favourite baby blanket will make it even more special. Or you could make some homemade playdoh and package it up with some kitchen utensils and other bits and pieces. Some other ideas are:
A build-your-own fort kit like this one
A DIY science kit like this one
An eye-spy bottle like this
10. Their special day really just needs to be that, a special day, different to all the other days in lockdown, so you don't need to go all out, just make it special. That can be as simple as spending some quality time together, doing the things your child loves to do, whether that is baking, messy play, building forts, kicking a ball out in the yard...just make sure your child is made to feel like the queen/king for a day and they will remember this as the best birthday ever!