Toddler Mumbler turned two on Saturday – our first birthday celebration in social isolation!
Having no idea what birthday are usually like, she was delighted with her new toys and pleased as punch to be at home to play with them.
But her older siblings felt bad she couldn’t have a proper party, and went all out to make her day as special as possible.
It brought out the best in all of them – except the overtired birthday girl – and it was lovely to see them band together to make decorations and play party games.
If your household has a birthday coming up, here’s some celebration inspiration – all perfect to enjoy at home!
Fill your house with balloons! Kids can’t get enough of balloons and they make great props for party games later. A friend fills her kids’ bedrooms with balloons on their birthdays and it always looks so much fun. We put up some bunting and banners too.
2. Ask the children to make decorations
My heart melted to see my bigger kids making their little sister decorations such as wrapping paper (pages from a colouring book decorated with felt tips and glitter glue), a cardboard tablet with her favourite TV characters on the buttons, banners and huge number “2” posters. I was so proud of them when I realised what they were doing and the excitement built up for the whole week while they were preparing.
Other decorations might include paper chains, bunting or paint rocks from the garden.
3. Serve birthday cake for breakfast
Our tradition is that the birthday child gets a small cake in the shape of their new age for breakfast, but I think any kind of cake would be a winner!
4. Make a cake together
Kids love baking, so why not put them in charge of their own birthday cake? You could bake it together on the day, stick with a theme or just pile on the sweets and sprinkles! If you don’t fancy baking, some bakeries are delivering cupcake decorating kits to do at home.
5. Ask family/friends to send video messages
It’s hard for everyone not to see loved ones on special occasions, but we’re so lucky to have great technology at our fingertips. Ask family members to record birthday video messages and send them to play on the day, or emails. If they live close enough, they could appear outside the window with a birthday banner and balloons. Maybe classmates could record special messages?
6. Set up party games/garden games/an assault course
We don’t have a garden so our partying took place indoors. Mr Mumbler set up an assault course with burning lava to jump over in the hall, a catapult (I don’t recommend this one if you value your ornaments), a bowling challenge, limbo in the doorway, bouncing balloons on towels to hit the ceiling and precariously balanced toys to crawl underneath.
7. Hold a virtual party
We hosted a Zoom call for our families to dial in and see the birthday girl blow out her candles. It was a bit stressful trying to coordinate 13 different groups to call at the same time, and the grandparents needed a bit of tutoring first, but it was lovely to hear everyone singing Happy Birthday and have a chat. One sister cut a cake with her children to enjoy in Kimi’s honour. With smaller numbers (and a birthday child with a bigger attention span), you could have a virtual party (with party clothes and dancing!) and keep the fun going a lot longer!
Froggle Parties are hosting free magic, puppet, science shows and more on their Facebook Page – why not tune into one on your child’s special day?
Entertainer Josh Benson (who was in the panto at Victoria Theatre last year) is offering 90 minute Zoom parties with comedy magic, juggling, an interactive disco and a balloonology display. Suitable for 3-9 year olds and at a heavily reduced rate to his usual fee.
8. Create a memory jar or time capsule
You won’t have many birthdays like this one (hopefully!), so it would be great to remember the day properly in years to come. You could write down special memories of the day and pop them in a jar, or make a time capsule with newspaper cuttings, photos, lists of how you celebrated, etc.
9. Make a den and eat a picnic lunch in it
We let the kids have a special picnic lunch in a den they quickly threw together. We kept it super simple and filled an empty cupcake tin with chicken nuggets, veggie sticks and fruit, but you could do anything you like.
10. Put down your phone
My aim was to put down my phone for the whole day and just play solidly with the kids. It didn’t quite work out like that, but the technology-free time was really special and the kids respond really well to it.
11. Make a train out of cardboard boxes
If you have any cardboard boxes lying around, build a special birthday train or car for the kids to play in – it can keep them happy for hours!
12. Have a disco!
Do you have a karaoke machine? Plug it in and have your own disco. Lava lamps and glow sticks add extra fun!
13. Paint faces and wear fancy dress
Get out the dressing up box and let the kids go wild. Let them dress you up if you’re feeling brave!
14. Take a Virtual Day Trip
Have you tried a virtual trip yet? You can choose from Disney World, many world-class museums and zoos. Have a look at these ideas for inspiration.
15. Special Birthday Messages
Some party entertainers are doing free (or charge a small fee) birthday video messages from princesses or super heroes. If your child has a favourite character, a personalised message could feel really special!
In Calderdale, Chicoccino Plus Play Gym is offering birthday greetings from mascots (such as Mickey Mouse and Chase) who can say happy birthday outside your home (social distancing rules applied at all times).
16. Set up a pamper station
Depending on what you have at home, you can make face scrubs, face masks, foot soaks and do each other’s nails. It’s hard to get hold of special ingredients at the moment so keep it simple. Ideas could include mixing half an avocado and two teaspoons of honey together for a face mask (or just honey will do!), soaking your feet in warm milk (add rose petals if you have some) and slices of cool cucumber on your eyes.
17. Have a fancy tea
You could do a traditional tea party with sandwiches and little cakes, order in a takeaway, or cook something special that the birthday child loves. In Calderdale, special takeout options include afternoon tea from Sweet Delight and cheesecake mashups from Savile Park Sandwich Bar. If the weather is nice, you could have a BBQ in your garden!
18. Make some mocktails
Even juice in fancy glasses feels special to kids, and you could jazz it up with umbrellas or cherries if you have any, or cut up fruit slices and dip the rim of the glass in sugar.
19. Run a special bath
We always do birthday baths with glow sticks in, but you could add flower petals, bath bombs, loads of bubbles, bath paints etc.
20. Have a sleepover!
You could set up cosy dens in the lounge, or pitch a tent in their bedroom. It might even be warm enough to camp in the garden!
Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a wonderful celebration!
Looking for more inspiration while you’re spending more time at home? Check out our coping with coronavirus page for lots of fun ideas, recipes and tips.