Dealing with COVID-19 is hard for adults. So how do you help your child understand why they can’t celebrate their birthday this year with 20 friends from school? Thankfully, you can make sure your child feels special on their birthday this year during COVID while keeping your family safe and healthy with these COVID safe kids birthday party ideas.

Here Are 10 Tips:

1. Drive-by parade. This one has been popular since last spring when COVID restrictions were first put into place. Round up your child’s school and neighborhood friends – and their parents – and have them drive by your home at a specified time. Signs, honking, and yelling well wishes are encouraged! “Guests” can throw gifts or candy out of car windows. Decorate your home, too, for an extra festive atmosphere.

2. Stage a kids’ field day. If your area is low risk, set up an obstacle course or activity stations in your front yard – think 3-legged races, yard games, or trivia challenges. Adults should observe from a safe distance, and kids should wear masks.

3. Keep it small. Often, what children remember most is how their birthday made them feel. Kids don’t need theatrics to enjoy a party. Why not have an intimate family-only party at home with your child’s favorite meal and dessert? Check out my guide for planning a beautiful kid’s birthday party at home.

4. Host a Zoom party. Dial-in friends and family to celebrate big birthday moments remotely. Grandma and Grandpa can still sing “Happy Birthday” and watch your little one blow out their candles and open presents. You can even play tabletop games like trivia remotely.

5. Get outdoors. There are so many ways to celebrate a birthday outdoors, where you don’t have to worry about crowding and can even skip the masks if you’re a safe distance from others. Hiking, camping, and neighborhood scavenger hunts are all exciting birthday activities for kids.

6. Use snail mail. Encourage friends and family to mail presents this year —and go all-out decorating packages. One of my 10-year-old’s absolute favorite things to do is open mail addressed to her. What child wouldn’t be excited to see a dozen colorfully-wrapped packages with their name on them at the front door?

7. “Card Your Yard.” This is not a new idea, but it has taken off since last spring. Companies around the country offer this yard decoration service, where parents or friends can order cardboard letters on stakes with festive messages for the birthday boy/girl. The company will deliver the letters and set up the message for you and remove it at the end of the day. On a budget? DIY it!

8. Have a child’s-choice day. Think of this as a “yes” day (within reason). Let your child choose the snacks, the cake, their outfit, and how they want to spend the day. You may be surprised at what your child chooses, and at how much you enjoy the things that bring a smile to their face.

9. Hire virtual entertainment. Many of the companies that offer character entertainment—clown comedy, magic shows, a visit from a princess—have moved their services to virtual platforms. Send in the Clowns offers this service from its Los Angeles home base, but there are similar companies in every state.

10. Throw a kid’s Netflix party. The Netflix app now has a Netflix Party feature, which synchronizes video playback and allows group chatting during the show. Ask your fellow parents to download the app and assist children with setup. Treat it like a slumber party, complete with cozy throws and pillows, fuzzy PJs, and theater-style snacks.

You may find that your child’s birthday this year is all the more memorable for them because you managed to make it fun when so many things were different!