“Mom! Can we still have a party for my birthday?” my almost 7-year-old asked me with great anticipation.
“Uh, well, you see….we’re still going to be in quarantine for your birthday.” Her face dropped.
“But, you know what?” I quickly recovered, “We are creative people and we are going to make your birthday AWESOME, even if it looks a little different this year.”
Her face brightened with a hopeful smile as I silently determined that quarantine wasn’t going to stop us from making this birthday one to remember.
Whether you have a baby turning one or a sweet sixteen-year-old, there are TONS of fun ways to celebrate, with or without outside friends and family.
Check out these 17 Fun Ideas to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday in Quarantine:
This post contains affiliate links. That means I get a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love or would purchase myself! Read my full disclosure here.
7 Ideas for Celebrating with Friends & Extended Family
1. Host a Virtual Birthday Party (great for young kids/tweens)
Just because you’re quarantined doesn’t mean your child can’t have a birthday party with friends! Just switch to a virtual party with these fun ideas.
- Set the Guest List. Choose a few of your child’s closest friends to participate & send a digital invitation for the day/time of your child’s virtual party (a smaller number will be simpler, but it’s up to you how many kids to invite).
- Pick a theme for your party. From Hawaiian luau to Paw Patrol, you can still choose a theme for decorations to make it feel festive. Order or gather some appropriate decorations and decorate the area that will serve as the “background” for your virtual party.
- Set Your Virtual Party Agenda and get the necessary supplies. Grab a free virtual party checklist & agenda here:
- Mail a treat or goodie in advance to each of the young party invitees. For example, if your child has 4 friends coming to the virtual party, you can place 4 separate Amazon orders and have them shipped directly to the friend’s house (for the parents to hide until party day). It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as a small toy, a package of balloons for a game, or a box of M&M’s. Or you can go ahead and put together goodie bags at your own home (if you are healthy) and mail them to the party invitees in advance. Just be sure to give the parents a heads up that it’s coming and to hide it until party time.
- On party day, host a group Zoom, FaceTime or Skype call with your child’s friends. If possible, do it on a TV screen or the largest screen you can. (Be sure to test this in advance to troubleshoot any technical difficulties.)
- Host Your Virtual Party (Example):
- Initial Chat: Give the kids a chance to talk to their friends while you wait for everyone to join the call. (If they don’t know what to talk about, use some conversation starters.)
- Games: Once all the kids are on, play a game or two. Try a question-based game like Heads-Up or Guess the Animal. Another game that works well is having kids race to complete a task, like being the first to put on 6 of their own t-shirts. Charades can work well…have each child act out their favorite movie and let the other kids guess. If you mailed balloons out in advance, you can play a balloon game like having kids try to keep their balloon up in the air without using their hands or arms and see who can keep it up the longest. If you want to use digital games, check out Caribu (younger kids) or HouseParty (tweens/teens)!
- Sing Happy Birthday: Lead the virtual group in singing happy birthday to your child and have them blow out a candle, whether it’s on a cake or cupcake or just a regular candle.
- Chat Time: Give them some time to just talk and hang out (if they’re old enough). For younger ones, this would be a good time to have them do “show and tell” and each talk about a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Or use a conversation starters to spark some fun discussion.
- Gifts (optional): You can have your child open some presents from you while the kids watch. (Be sure to notify parents of invitees that they don’t need to send a gift, unless you want to coordinate that.)
- Goodie Bags: Have the friends’ parents bring out the treat/goodie that you mailed in advance and present it to their child (make sure you have one for your child as well, so it feels like everyone’s getting a gift).
- Thank everyone for coming!
2. Text/Video Flash Mob (great for kids/tweens/teens)
Secretly send out a message in advance asking friends & family members to reach out on your child or teenager’s birthday with calls, texts, video messages, and voicemails throughout the day. Then send out a quick reminder on the actual morning of your child’s birthday and let the flash mob of birthday messages commence.
3. Virtual Gift Opening (great for kids/tweens/teens)
If you would normally get together with grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. and do gifts for your child, turn this into a virtual gift opening! Relatives can send a gift in advance via Amazon, Target or however they prefer. Then you can receive, wrap & hide gifts as they arrive. On your child’s birthday, host a Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype call and let extended family members watch your child open up their gifts!
4. Drive-by Birthday Parade (great for kids/tweens)
If you live close by to some friends and family members, coordinate a birthday parade drive-by on their big day! Then surprise your child by having them stand outside at a specific time on their birthday as friends and family members slowly drive by the house and wave, honk the horn, hold signs, blow bubbles, throw candy or favorite snacks, etc.
5. Zoom Call or House Party Call with Friends (great for tweens/teens)
You don’t need to go all out with a virtual party, especially if your child is closer to the tween or teen years. Just host a virtual hangout for them to talk, laugh and have fun together without a specific agenda. Get this on as big of a screen as you can. If possible, use a Smart TV or use screen-mirroring to put what’s on your phone or tablet onto the TV. For tweens or teens, check out HouseParty! It’s a virtual hangout app that allows you to play games together like Heads Up, Quick Draw, and Trivia!
6. Host a Netflix Watch Party (great for tweens/teens)
Let your child choose a favorite movie or show from Netflix and host a watch party for your child and their friends to watch it! You can even mail or drop off a little care package to their friends in advance if you want, like popcorn & candy. Then let them enjoy the film and chat as they watch it together.
7. Virtual Play-Date (great for young kids)
Use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or Facebook Messenger on your phone to connect with one good friend of your child’s choosing and let them play together. By using a smaller device like a phone or tablet, they can move it around with them as they play. Each child can play with their own toys at home but coordinate the theme. For example, my daughter and her friend each got out their Barbies and played the same story via FaceTime. They had a blast! Legos would be another great option. You can also use an app like Caribu that lets kids play simple digital games together on a video call, like Tic-Tac-Toe.
10 Ideas for Celebrating with Immediate Family Only
8. Plan a Special Meal (all ages)
One of our favorite parts of birthdays is the food, of course! Either let your child choose in advance or surprise them with a meal they might not get other times of the year. Here are a few ideas:
- Taco Bar
- Waffle Bar
- Build your own mini-pizzas
- Bacon Mac & Cheese
- Chicken nuggets & fries
- BBQ Chicken sliders
Or get takeout from a favorite restaurant!
9. Have a Stellar Dessert (all ages)
You can still have a traditional cake if you want, but why not change it up a bit for something memorable? Check out these awesome birthday dessert ideas:
- Chocolate fondue
- Ice Cream Sundae Bar
- Italian Soda Bar
- Root beer floats
- Oven S’mores
- Decorate cookies or cupcakes
- Homemade Milkshakes
10. Create a Birthday Destination (young kids/tweens)
Sure, you can’t go anywhere for this birthday, but you CAN bring the destination to you! Use creativity to turn your space into a birthday oasis. Here are a few fun options:
- Beach Getaway – Put an ocean video on the tv, get out the beach toys/chairs/umbrella, turn on tropical music, make some fun tropical drinks, order some fake palm trees, lay out beach towels on a tan-colored blanket or sheet and enjoy the ocean!
- Campout – Put a fire video on the tv, turn on a woods/crickets soundtrack, set up a tent or blanket fort in the living room, make oven s’mores, and sing camp songs around the fake fire!
- Disney World – Are you a Disney lover? Use whatever you have or order some fun decorations and turn a room in your house into Disney World! Make some Disney-themed snacks, let your kids dress up as their favorite character, and turn an empty box or laundry basket into a “ride” that takes them through it all.
- Favorite Restaurant – Recreate their favorite restaurant in your own home! Use streamers or balloons in that restaurant’s colors, create a sign with the name, print out some cute menus, and either do a mock version of their favorite meal or actually get takeout from that restaurant.
- Tea Party – Make tiny tea sandwiches, set out fancy teacups, let your kids dress up, play classical music in the background, and host a tea party!
- Foreign Country – Choose another country and use it as your theme! Print the flag, hang streamers in matching colors, make food from that nation, play music from that country, and play some games they would play there.
11. Do a Scavenger or Treasure Hunt (great for young kids)
What kid doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Set up a list of things for them to find or a series of clues that leads them to their gifts and let them enjoy a fun treasure hunt!
12. Have a Family Game Night (all ages)
From board games to charades to video games to puzzles, your child will love a good family game night. Pair it with a special dinner and/or fun dessert (see above) and make it a night to remember. Here are a few fun ones: CodeNames, Exploding Kittens, Spot-It Party Edition, Clue, Telestrations.
13. Take Them on a Virtual Shopping Trip (great for tweens/teens)
This is especially good for tweens or teens! Make a special snack or drink and sit down with the birthday girl or boy for a virtual shopping trip. Give them a “budget” they can spend and let them peruse clothes, toys, or electronics at their favorite online stores and shop for their own birthday present!
14. Host a Paint Party (great for tweens/teens)
Have you heard of those “wine & canvas” events? Do a makeshift version of this for a fun, at-home party for your child (okay, skip the wine…for your child). Order some painting supplies in advance, whip up some fun appetizers or desserts, find a free, age-appropriate tutorial on YouTube and put it on your tv, and do your own paint party as a family!
Or choose any kind of online tutorial and create something! We love these drawing videos for young kids.
15. Do an Outdoor Adventure (all ages)
Maybe you can’t hit up a playground right now, but there are still plenty of outdoor options for a fun birthday celebration that respects social distancing. Here are a few:
- Have a picnic in your own yard
- Go for a hike
- Roast marshmallows over a fire pit
- Set up an outdoor obstacle course
- Go for a bike ride
- Create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece
- Make a mini-golf course in the yard
- Break out the sprinkler, slip-n-slide or kiddie pool
16. Post Birthday Signs All Over the House (all ages)
This is a fun way to surprise your child as they wake up on their birthday! Have everyone in your family make signs, posters, drawings, etc. celebrating your child and hang them up all throughout the house for them to discover throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can even just cut out a bunch of hearts or shapes and write all kinds of things you love about your child and put them in every room of the house.
17. Do an Indoor Adventure (great for young kids)
If the weather isn’t good, try an indoor adventure!
- Escape Room in a Box
- Family Talent Show
- Decorate a giant box and turn it into a playhouse, rocket ship, etc.
- Fill Easter Eggs with candy/toys and hide them all over the house
BONUS: 1st Birthday Party Idea
Do a virtual smash cake party! Send a digital invitation to friends and family to join you on a Zoom call (if you want them to be able to interact) or Facebook Live (for them to just watch and comment) on a certain day & time and let them watch as your baby smashes their first birthday cake! Decorate the “background” and let everyone sing happy birthday to your little one.
Make It Great
Even though celebrating a birthday in quarantine isn’t your first choice, there are still lots of fun ways to make it special. Instead of grieving the loss of traditional birthday plans, use these ideas or create your own and make it one of the best birthdays ever!
Like this post? You may also enjoy…
- 9 Strategies for Leading Your Family Through a Crisis
- 12 Fun Dates You Can Do At Home
- 12 Fun Staycation Ideas Your Family Will Love