by Aleksey Linetskiy
I think every parent will agree: social distancing didn’t make our lives as parents any easier. New problems seem to appear everywhere; what used to be simple became complicated, and what used to be challenging became a major headache.
Organizing a birthday party for your kid and her friends used to be simple: you could take them to one of the many places that provided birthday party entertainment; or you could invite the crowd to your place, buy them pizza and the kids would just happily have fun together. Now, with many birthday party venues closed and social distancing requirements in place, you have to come up with some fun activity that the kids can do together while staying at a safe distance from each other. You might also find yourself organizing a virtual birthday party, where all the kids connect via Zoom or some other video conferencing software. Keeping kids at a safe distance is not a problem in this case - but keeping them occupied and organized is.
Finding a safe and fun way to entertain kids at the time of coronavirus is a difficult task indeed - but, fortunately, not impossible. Here are a few ideas of activities that can be used to throw a fun birthday party with social distancing in mind.
If you have a powerful projector, it is possible to set it up outside, so the kids can watch a movie together - just position the chairs, or lay some blankets on the ground, 6 feet apart from each other, find a large screen (a white sheet will work!) and make sure the sound system is powerful enough so everyone can hear it.
There are some excellent party games that were adapted so they can be played in a virtual fashion, using phones or laptops to communicate with each other. Since all (okay, almost all) kids today are equipped with smartphones, most probably they will be able to quickly access the game. You will have to pick the game, explain the rules and show how to start the game. For example, “Codenames” can be easily played this way. You can use horsepaste.com to set up a remote game of Codenames - just go to the site, select some unique name for your game and ask all the players to go to the site and enter it there.
If your kids love to solve puzzles, an Escape Room Party at home might be a perfect idea for a birthday party. You can create your own DIY Escape Room at home from scratch, or you can get a printable escape game. The beauty of a printable escape game is that it’s very easy to set up. Once you download and print it out, you don’t need anything else to play it (well, a few pencils will be helpful). When selecting an escape game, make sure that the game is appropriate and not too complex for the kids’ age. The Other Tales created Pirate’s Quest Birthday Pack game for 10- to 14-year-old kids. The game was created with social distancing and video chat parties in mind. The Birthday Escape Room Kit includes customizable invitations, posters and some other goodies to make organizing and decorating a birthday party easy.
Painting together with friends is a great way to spend time together (and do something creative!) even for those kids who do not view themselves as artists. Virtual art parties require some supplies and preparation - you have to make sure that everybody has the supplies: canvases, paints, brushes and other tools of the trade. There is a wide choice of different options for a virtual painting party - some are pricey (a party by the Museum of Children's Art costs $375 for 10 people and includes 2.5 hours of work with a professional artist), other are more affordable (a membership at PaintingParties.com costs just $4.99 per month for the access, but it includes only pre-recorded video lessons).
Karaoke leaves no one indifferent - people either love it or hate it. If you are among those who love it, the idea of having a karaoke birthday party over Zoom might sound quite appealing. There is no ready-made one-button solution for such a party, but, using several tools together it is not that difficult to organize. The idea is that you set up a Zoom meeting (any video conferencing service will work), where all the kids will be singing together, and at the same time everybody joins a room on Watch2Gether - a service that allows people to stream videos at the same rate. Make sure to get familiar with the service first and to send everybody detailed instructions. A good example of such instructions can be found here:
There are definitely many more possible ideas for a kid birthday party at home. If you want to share things you came up with to make your kid’s birthday party special, safe and fun let me know.
Be creative, and the kids will remember this birthday party as one of the best in their lives!
Are you planning a birthday celebration for your child? Check out Pirate's Quest birthday kit. In addition to the Pirate's Quest escape game, it comes with many editable materials to make any party into a great escape room pirate party. It's easy to set up, and is flexible about the number of players. It's also possible to play via a virtual meeting or outdoors.