Socially-Distant Birthday Party Ideas


Growing up, my mom always planned a creative birthday party for me and my brothers. I have fond memories of craft parties and destination parties. They were always low-key but made me feel special and loved.

I have tried to maintain this type of birthday celebration tradition for my kids, but adding an element of social distance has definitely been challenging! I can officially now say that all three of my kids have celebrated their birthday during this pandemic, and I’m proud of how we did it and how they embraced the change.


So, without further ado, here are three ideas of how you can do the same.

The Exchange Party for a 6-Year-Old

I emailed the parents of my son’s kindergarten class to see if they would be interested in a book exchange. On a designated day and time, participants left a bag of three books by their mailbox. I drove around to all the houses and swapped the books. So the books from house #1 were left at house #2, the books from house #2 were left at house #3, etc. I also snuck in a Little Debbie snack cake with a candle. We did the exchange a week in advance for anyone fearful of contamination from touched surfaces.

On the party day, we zoomed with the class. They were able to open their book exchange bags, lit the candle, and “helped” my son blow out his candles by blowing out theirs! Then they all shared some cake together. We then played some games on Zoom that really just amounted to a bunch of 6-year-old silliness.

The Trivia Party for a 9-Year-Old

My daughter’s one and only request was to celebrate her birthday with family. We had a family birthday Zoom party where family members were able to watch her open presents that they had sent. We then played a trivia game to see who knew her best. She wrote all the questions. We used the website Kahoot, which is super easy to use and engaging. If you’ve never heard of it, ask your school-aged kids. They have likely played Kahoots in school! Finally, as a group, we searched the Kahoot database for random trivia to play.

The Concert and Note Party for a 12-Year-Old

My daughter loves to write nice notes to people so we returned the favor. I gave one of her friends a bunch of slips of paper that said: “Emily’s birthday is coming up! Help her mom surprise her. Please write a birthday greeting on this paper. Give it back to Delilah so she can return it to Emily’s mom.” I then took the papers, put them in balloons, blew them up, and she had to step on them to see the message!

That evening, the Trans Siberian Orchestra was streaming a concert. This is something we have always said we wanted to take our kids to. I encouraged my family to dress up like we would have if we had gone to the actual concert. My husband and I were the only ones who actually did it, but it was still fun to dress up. There is no comparison to going to a live concert, but for now, given the state of our world, it was pretty awesome!

In what ways have you celebrated birthdays safely this past year?