A birthday party without guests? In the age of social distancing, we’ve got to make it work! Keep reading to discover the best ways to make your kid feel like royalty for the day. From indoor birthday party games to drive-by parades and virtual birthday parties for kids, these will be just as much fun as the real thing. Keep calm and party on.
A Birthday Parade
If you’ve had to cancel a birthday party, here’s a fabulous way to make sure the day is still special. Have a group of friends gather in a nearby parking lot (staying in their cars, of course), then make their way to your house. As they drive by, they can honk and wave at the birthday boy or girl and show off homemade signs and balloons.
Take It Online
Get a Birthday in a Box from the YMCA! It includes (digital) themed invitations, supplies for up to 10 guests ($15 per extra guest) in the selected theme, one hour of active time with a Y party host, plus a 30-minute Zoom party room, where the guest of honor can open gifts and enjoy visiting with friends and family. There are seven themes, and if you don't see one you want to use, the YMCA will work with you to create exactly what they want.
Jam with Jamie has two fun options for a virtual musical party. The virtual party package for kids ages one to five includes favorite songs, a musical scavenger hunt, dancing and even a few rounds of freeze dance. The party package for kids ages six to eight includes dancing, songwriting, beatboxing and a recorded song after the party session!
SO Fun City has a virtual party package that can include up to 25 friends! Using everyday household items, they'll custom-create a fun activity and send out an invite for guests to click and enter the virtual "party room."
Have a virtual birthday party with the help of the family experience store CAMP. Every day at 5 p.m. Eastern time, they host a 30-minute virtual party that anyone can join with games, special performances and dance parties. Fill out this information form to sign up.
The Amazing Max is offering private, online lessons for either one to two kids or four kids. Each lesson is 30 minutes long, and kids will learn three fun magic tricks using items from around the house: paper clips, spoons and dollar bills. Best for kids ages six and up, this is a fun way to celebrate at home!
The IMAG History & Science Center is offering virtual party themes like “Wizard School,” “Mad Science,” “Jurassic Adventure,” “Space Cadet” and more. There are even to-go party kits available for purchase.
Ricky Roo & Friends, a San Francisco Bay Area puppet theater company will do an online puppet show that includes a personalized puppet story.
If you order a cake from Bake Me a Wish, you can set up a video chat with friends and family, get a birthday song, blow out the candles and make a wish.
Get creative with Art Fun Parties. You can organize a virtual and customized art experience with founder and professional artist Shanna Israel.
Let your little be a Doctor for a Day with a birthday party from Little Medical School! Your party fee includes a Future Veterinarian or Future Pediatrician Toy Set, a gift bag, a white coat and a 30-minute Zoom session with a Little Medical School instructor. You can even order sets for friends and have them sent to their home. Then, on the big day, everyone zooms in for the fun.
A Princess Party
If your little one loves princesses, here are two of our favorite options. First is Prestige Princess on Facebook. They’re offering video messages (starting at $25) and video parties (starting at $65) with your tot's favorite characters, from Anna and Elsa to Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty. The party option includes a story time, singalong and a Q&A session. Get all the details on their Facebook page.
Second is a virtual birthday with some of the original cast of Broadway's Frozen. Patty Murin (Anna) has just started working with Broadway Plus, which is a unique service that can connect real Broadway actors with fans for meet-and-greets, and custom parties. If Anna isn’t your favorite Frozen character, you can also book a meeting or lesson with the show’s Elsa (Caroline Bowman) and Hans (Austin Colby)!
Piece of Cake
No birthday celebration is complete without cake! If you’re up for a baking project, we love this simple confetti cake from Smitten Kitchen. Or if you’re fresh out of eggs, support a local bakery by placing an order for pickup or delivery. Check out our other top healthy birthday cake recipes here.
Use Your Tech
Put FaceTime to work for your little one’s special day. Ask friends and family to call throughout the day with birthday greetings. If your kid’s into gaming, even better—they can connect with their friends through online games like Fortnite and Minecraft.
Chalk It Up
If you have friends who live close by, ask them to decorate their sidewalks and driveways with chalk in honor of the birthday boy or girl. On the big day, go for a walk or drive to see all of their creations. It's a win-win: your kid's friends will have something fun to do, and your little one will feel the birthday love.
Pull out your board games, and make a night of it with your whole crew. Need to switch it up? Check out our ultimate list of the best board games for every age and stage, or try out a few minute-to-win-it competitions.
Gifting Made Easy
Thank goodness for online shopping: you can still find the perfect gift for your kiddo without having to leave the house. If you’re stumped, check out our list of toys available on Amazon that will keep them entertained for hours.
Go on a Virtual Vacation
We’re all dreaming of a vacation, but since that’s not in the cards right now, we’re willing to get creative. Littles can pretend they’re at a theme park with these cool virtual theme park rides. Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean without the lines: sign us up!
On their special day, you’ve got to let the birthday kiddo pick the dinner menu! Go for your favorite mom-and-pop shop that’s still open for delivery or pickup, or click over to our list of restaurant chains that are offering free delivery right now. Just be sure to have everyone wash their hands after handling the food containers and before eating.
Bring the Party Home
With art supplies and a little creativity, you can decorate the whole house. Place an order for balloons and streamers online and use what you already have to make signs, banners or even confetti for the occasion.
Feature photo: Joyce Adams via Unsplash