Looking for fun ways to celebrate your child’s birthday during times of quarantine? Get inspired by our social distancing birthday party ideas for kids.
These days, it may feel like the only option you have for dealing with kids’ birthday parties or gatherings is to simply cancel everything. It’s just a little party after all. Kids won’t remember it much, right?
But the truth is, there are better alternatives. Those that can bring some of the same joy and excitement a typical party would, and a sense of normalcy especially during these stressful times of isolation, where community is more important than ever.
Below you will find an array of social distance party ideas to help your child feel special, whether you decide to just stay at home or venture outdoors to celebrate.
10 Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday During Quarantine
Around the House
First things first, something I like to do for my kids every year when the excitement of celebrating their birthday becomes real to them (usually at around 3 years old), is making them feel special throughout the day, right at home. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start simple with the ideas below.
Hang special birthday notes on your child’s bedroom door (or even the fridge if your kid doesn’t stay in their room like mine, ha!). Include things you love about them, why they are so special, and what makes them unique.
Birthday messages like:
- You give the best hugs
- You are so thoughtful
- You have the best smile
Whatever you think will brighten your child’s day.
I adapted this idea from a popular Valentine’s love notes, posted on social media years ago, but it’s always a hit and a positive way your child can remember this quarantine birthday.
Birthday Balloons or Decor
Along with those birthday messages, add some color to your child’s special day, by decorating. Balloons are a kid favorite, so whether you pick up a few favorites from a party store or go the DIY route with blow-up balloons, decorating is a must.
During this time when I can’t get out, I stick to blowing up a few balloons by mouth — as long as you have a helpful tool and an array of balloons the possibilities are endless.
You could create a variety of centerpieces with basic latex balloons:
- Balloon garland
- Balloon avalanche
- Balloon banner
And of course, light up your child’s face with a special birthday breakfast. You don’t have to load them up with cupcakes and candy first thing in the morning, but let them know it’s okay to indulge a little on this day.
Get creative and find a way to use that candle in the AM.
- Pancake or waffle “cake”
- Birthday muffin
- Fruit cup + birthday donut
Virtual Birthday Party Ideas
Now that you’ve made your kid feel special as they start their day, here are some fun ideas to help them celebrate with friends and classmates who can’t actually be with them in person.
This is becoming a more popular option for kids in quarantine right now. I wrote a detailed post with tips on actually hosting a virtual party for little ones, but the gist is, you get everyone online to wish your child a happy birthday on camera. You can keep it short and just focus on birthday wishes and cake or you can add a little extra element of fun, but playing virtual party games and sharing a snack together.
We did a zoom birthday for my middle child and it was a hit!
Another fun quarantine birthday idea for kids is to ask friends to send a birthday message you can later compile into a birthday montage. Kids can record a short message or just send a picture.
My son’s kindergarten class did this for him and it was so sweet! Each child held up a picture of something they drew with a birthday message. It was an incredibly special way to lift his spirits during a time of loneliness.
Padlet is an easy to use digital board that I only recently discovered. You create a “board” of sorts and can share the private URL with friends and family. From there, the family simply clicks a button to upload a video, picture, drawing and message. Once complete, you have this beautiful, digital birthday keepsake with messages from friends and family to treasure.
Plans range from $8 and up, but you can check it out with the 30-day free trial.
Similar to digital boards, you can send virtual hugs through a collaborative effort online via a platform called VidHugs. Once you open an account, friends and family upload a short video message that is combined to make a “virtual hug” of sorts.
NOTE: I’d only recommend this option for larger groups of about 15 or more videos or “hugs” because the fee is $15 (which I found pricey, although a cute idea). Use the code BDAYHUG for 15% off.
Outdoor Quarantine Party Ideas
Finally, the option that may bring the most exciting and more of a practical idea for younger children (who can’t keep it together long during virtual parties) is outdoor socially-distanced celebrations. And I’m not talking about a public gathering at all! Read below to see my recommendations for social distance party ideas for kids!
A drive-by birthday party is pretty simple yet brings many smiles. It’s an easy alternative to the traditional birthday party, where you hang outside your house, near your driveway and wave as guests drive-by, donning their homemade birthday signs or balloons. Although not required, some even go so far as dropping-off goodies for the birthday child.
We did this last week for my 8-year-old and it was so nice to just see other people and have a quick chat while 6 feet away. We set a 1-hour window for when we would be outside and waited for guests to arrive as they could. This made it easy to have a solo convo with each passerby…rather than having them backed up in a line. Guests waved, sang happy birthday, and honked to celebrate.
Another super fun way to celebrate your child’s birthday in quarantine is the birthday parade. Similar to the drive-by party, families load up in cars with their decorated vehicles and make their way to the birthday child’s house, at a pre-determined time. This way, there is literally a “parade” of cars passing by to help your child feel extra special.
We’ve attended a couple parades like this that even included a surprise visit by the fire department leading the way to party. Talk about a way to take it up a notch!
Birthday car ride
And if you just want a change of scenery for your kiddo, you can consider a variation on the birthday drive-by where the birthday child drives with mom or dad to different houses. Each “party guest” can decorate their lawn in a creative way, celebrate with music and a birthday song or just shout happy birthday to the guest of honor as they drive by.
This is a great option if your kid is going stir-crazy, itching to get out of the house and around town.
Birthday scavenger hunt
Last but not least, celebrate your child’s birthday during this social distancing time by partaking in a fun birthday scavenger hunt around your neighborhood.
This can be done in a variety of different ways. You can participate in one of the popular town-wide scavenger hunts where communities hide smiley faces, teddy bears, or chalk messages on their driveways and you go out around town spotting those treasures. Or, you can organize a scavenger hunt among friends, telling them to leave a clue outside their house so your child can spot it on the hunt.
Remember, even though these are extraordinary times, it’s important to help your child find a sense of normalcy at home during milestones like birthday parties. Get creative this year and celebrate however you see fit, whether it be a virtual birthday party, birthday car parade or just eating cake at home with mommy and daddy.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.