If your child is celebrating a birthday while sheltering in place due to COVID-19 you may have wondered how to host a virtual birthday party. Normally we visit friends and family in another state but this year we were challenged to do something different. So, the idea of a virtual birthday party came to mind! I’m going to share how we celebrated a birthday during quarantine!
How to Host a Virtual Birthday Party
Make a Guest List
As with any party you’re going to want to know how many people you are inviting. Since we have historically moved every few years we have friends and family in different cities and states. Luckily, with a virtual birthday party you can invite friends from around the world!
We actually decided to do two parties…one with family and one with friends.
Choose a Theme & Set the Date and Time
We don’t always have a specific “theme,” but I like to at least pick colors if nothing else. My daughter went with purple and teal, and I added black & white and pink accents to her decor.
Pick a Craft
Take and Make projects are pretty popular right now so we thought it would be fun to do a little painting project during our virtual birthday party with friends. (There are some really cute paint set kit options on Etsy!) Or, it can be as simple as a printed coloring sheet.
Set Up a Zoom Meeting
Schedule your Zoom (or other) meeting. There is a free option, but if you subscribe to Zoom for a month you there are no time limits. I believe the free option limits you to 30-45 minutes, and I wasn’t sure how long the party would go, but I wanted to allow at least an hour.
Assemble Your Party Kit
It wouldn’t be a party without party snacks and favors, right?! We were a bit limited on time and resources (still doing online ordering only, no in person shopping) but we were able to put together a fun party bag for our friends.
Here are some things you could include, along with affiliate links for your convenience if you are unable to get locally:
- Paper Bags – I happened to have some white bags left from another project and they worked perfectly, but obviously there are a TON of options for this!
- Parchment Paper – to protect their workspace
- Wooden piece to paint – my daughter chose these cute elephant and bee designs from one of my favorite illustrators that I cut from wood. You can find a variety of wooden ornaments & crafts online or at a local craft store, or you can print coloring sheets from your favorite clip art. There are also a lot of paint set kit options on Etsy, plus it’s a great way to support a maker!
- Print of the clip art – to show an example of how our friends might color or paint their piece
- Peel & Stick Magnet Piece– to apply to the back of the finished craft
- Balloons – in our party colors
- Colorful Party Napkin – not one of our birthday colors, but I used what I had on hand
- Hostess Birthday Cupcakes – I found these at Target and was able to pickup in a couple hours!
- Fruit Snacks & a Juice Box (You can send individual drink packets for out of town friends!)
- Art Supplies – we were short on time and I knew everyone had art supplies, but normally I would’ve included some in the kit – a few paints, markers, colored pencils or crayons
- Invitation/Instruction sheet – provide your guests with the online meeting information so they can log in! I’m working on a free printable version that will be in the Resource Library so you can edit online and print at home!
Ship/Deliver Your Party Kits
I could only ship what we had on hand, but I still tried to make it special. =) I love using Pirate Ship for printing discounted postage at home – it’s free, and easy!
For local friends, we wrote their name on the bag and stapled a thank you note on the front with the meeting info. We did porch drop offs the day before the party, and drove around town with our traditional “Honk” for my birthday stickers!
Start Online Meeting Early
We started our virtual meeting on Zoom a bit early to make sure everything was working properly.
Set Password/Waiting Room Feature
To increase our online security our guests had to enter a password, and I also enabled the waiting room feature so we had to approve everyone who signed on before the party. Luckily we didn’t have any security issues, but I accidentally texted the party info to a wrong number (eek!) so even though they could have signed on, the waiting room feature would have prevented any strangers from automatically joining us. =)
Welcome Guests & Get Started
I had a mild panic attack right before the party when I realized I have no idea how to manage 15 children on an online meeting (shout out to teachers!) Luckily everyone joined on time, and was respectful and friendly so it went smoothly. We did a quick introduction where I had each guest wave as my daughter introduced them by name and mentioned how she knew them. That took less than 5 minutes.
After introductions we thanked everyone for joining us and gave a brief overview of what we had planned.
I was afraid it might be awkward with too much silence once everyone got started, but I also didn’t want to distract the kids from their work by encouraging them to talk a lot. LOL Thankfully, the kids did great! They chatted a bit on their own, and if it seemed to be too quiet for too long I tried to ask the kids some questions.
For the friend party not everyone sent a gift, which was perfectly fine…we did not expect gifts so I had my daughter open those separately, not during the actual friend party. For our family party the activity was opening gifts instead of a craft since there aren’t a lot of other kids. =)
I had no idea how long it would take for the kids to do their activity…I think one girl even said she would do it later, Ha! So instead, she enjoyed her party treats and played with the balloons while the others painted or colored their pieces. After about 15-20 minutes everyone seemed to be done with their craft. At that point in time my daughter pulled out the “Would You Rather” list of questions I found on Pinterest.
She spent the next 10-15 minutes asking 30 questions, which was fun! We had the kids raise one hand for the first option, and two hands for the second. That way we didn’t have everyone talking at once. We had enough people on the call we had to swipe the screen to see everyone’s answers. Sometimes I would make a comment or ask a question to keep things interesting. =) It was quite entertaining!
I would suggest you have a back up time filler on hand just in case. The kids really enjoyed Would You Rather, but depending on your time allotment you could do bingo, tell jokes, or just chat, too!
Once the questions were done we thanked everyone again and signed off. The whole party took about 45 minutes, which was about perfect!
My daughter really enjoyed the chance to see everyone, and the feedback I got from parents was very positive; I’d say it was definitely a success! Nothing can replace the fun you have in person, but this was a very good alternative.
Other Ways to Make the Day Special
We played “hide & seek” with her gifts as soon as she woke up, then we took her outside to see the yard. The look on her face when we did the big reveal was my favorite. =) You can probably find a local rental place for yard greeting decorations, but be sure to book early! I made these, and I’ve got a simple tutorial on how you can make a giant birthday cake yard decoration, too!
I completely forgot to order a #8 birthday candle in time. Luckily, my daughter was totally fine reusing a #6 and two singles to make 8! All in all I’d say she had a great birthday, and although it would be nice to celebrate in person, we definitely made the most of it.
You May Enjoy Our Parties from Previous Years
Other Ideas from Pinterest:
- 30 Ways to Make Birthdays Special When You are Stuck at Home
- 15 Ways to Make Birthdays Extra Special – without throwing a big party!