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Today's Family Magazine

Virtual Parties

Mar 23, 2020 02:33PM ● By Today's Family
By Cheryl Maguire

“Will I be able to have my birthday party?”

My daughter’s 12th birthday is in April and she has been planning her birthday party for the past month.  With the recent lockdowns and social distancing recommendations related to the coronavirus, she will probably have to come up with an alternative plan for her party.

Before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on children’s party plans, there were also kids who are not able to socialize at parties due to comprised immune systems.  Here are some suggestions for ways to celebrate without spreading germs.
One way to interact with friends from a distance is to have a virtual party using apps like Google Hangout, Zoom, or Skype.  My daughter has been using Google Hangout to practice her musical theater play with the kids in her class.  This technology allows people to see and speak to everyone, so it is the next best thing to being in a room together.

If someone isn’t able to connect due to a lack of technology access, then go old school and put them on your speaker phone so they can hear and participate in the conversations.
You are probably wondering how do you simulate a kid’s birthday party when they can’t physically interact?

It is important to remember that the main goal of a party is for your child to have fun with their friends.  This is still possible, but may require some creative thinking.

One way to do this is to have a theme that all the partygoers will be excited about.  Most games like pin the tail on the donkey are not an option but there are several ideas for themes that will include everyone and create a festive mood.

Movie Theater Themed Party
If the birthday kid is a movie lover, you could create a movie themed party.  On the invite ask the partygoers to dress up in their favorite movie character outfit or T-shirt.  You could create a movie trivia game or a “would you rather game” using movie-themed questions.  After playing the games, the group can then watch a movie selected ahead of time.  Before the party, you will need to figure which movies everyone owns or can stream together.
Cook-Off Themed Party
For the future chef tween and teen, you could have a cook-off party.  Everyone must find five items in their house and create a dessert or any meal the birthday person selects.  Then their parents judge the creation on creativity and taste.  You could also play trivia cooking games or swap your favorite recipes.
Lego Themed Party
For the Lego lover, you could create a Lego-themed party.  Everyone will need a bucket of Lego bricks.  You could play games like who could build the tallest tower in five minutes and then their parents would measure each one to determine the winner.

Some other suggestions are that everyone makes whatever they want and then the parents determine who has the most creative structure.  Or everyone makes an animal and you must guess what type of animal the Legos are supposed to be.

After you are done building, go on virtual Legoland rides by searching the ride on YouTube. Before the party create a list of rides that you want to visit to keep things moving along.
Green-Themed Party
For the environmental lover, you could have a green-themed party.  Everyone could wear their favorite environmental-themed outfit like a flower T-shirt or picture of the Earth.
You could play an upcycle game by having them use five items in the recycle bin and then creating an animal or their favorite environmental setting such as the beach.

You could also create a scavenger hunt where they find items outside like a white stone or red flower assigning each item points.  They could take their device with them as they hunt so that the kids at the party can see each other during their travels.
Drawing or Paint Themed Party
Before the party ask the parents what type of art supplies they own.  Most kids have a set of markers, crayons and paints.

One suggestion is to all draw or paint the same picture.  Mo Willems, author of children’s books like  “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!”  and  “Knuffle Bunny” has a drawing channel on YouTube where you can learn how to draw characters from his books like “Piggie and Elephant.”  You could have everyone watch the video at the same time and then share your drawing.

You could also create cards for people in nursing homes, hospitals or the military to let them know that you are thinking of them.
Virtual Disneyworld
If your kid is a Disney fan, have them dress up as their favorite Disney character and ask their friends to do the same.  You can play Disney related games and then go on virtual Disney rides by searching the ride on YouTube.  Before the party create a list of rides that you want to visit to keep things moving along.
Fun and Festive
Try to decorate the room that your child will be streaming the party from with the theme in mind to set the mood for all the partygoers.  Plan the games and festivities before the party starts so that it will keep the fun levels high throughout.

By the time the party is over, your child will hopefully have so much fun that they will forget about the fact they didn’t see their friends in person. And the best part for you is that you won’t have to clean up a mess created by a room full of kids.