60 Ways to Celebrate Birthdays (and Maintain Social Distancing)


birthday cake

Despite the global pause in life, birthdays are still happening. With some creative thinking, birthday celebrations can carry forth in new and different ways during our current quarantined life. Try one or more of these 60 ideas for making birthdays special while upholding social distancing.

  1. Organize a parade of cars. Ask friends and family to swing by your house with car honks, handmade signs, and shouts of celebration while out for their essential errands.
  2. Place yard signs in front of the house. Locally owned companies like Card My Yard and North Texas Yard Cards offer services to place professional signage in your yard. Or, you can also have friends come place their own signs in your yard, hot gluing posters to paint stirrers or rulers.
  3. Chalk the driveway. Akin to the yard signs, the birthday boy or girl can be celebrated with hand-drawn greetings from friends using sidewalk chalk. Neighborhood friends can expand on this idea by creating chalked greetings in front of their home so that the birthday can be celebrated with a “chalk-walk” through the neighborhood to see all the messages.
  4. Serenade the birthday song. From their car or when walking by, friends can sing the happy birthday song to your child throughout the day.
  5. Deliver throwback-themed treats. Rocket Fizz: Soda Pop & Candy Shop has locations in Arlington and Grapevine. Contact your nearest store to explore their pick-up and/or delivery options of a gift box filled with fun options of novel and retro soda and candy.
  6. Deliver birthday cookies. Home bakers and local bakeries are eager for business. Many are offering porch delivery, or their cookies can be delivered with food delivery services. MollyBee Cookies in Bedford recently offered porch delivery of custom cookies to welcome our son home from his gap year.
  7. Send a birthday in a box care package. Mom based businesses, such as my own Box Club, offer a birthday in a box care package, packed with mug cake mixes, birthday candles, balloons, and other special treats.
  8. Have gifts delivered by local businesses. Southlake’s Toy Maven now delivers gifts with balloons to the birthday child’s home. PixieLane Lindsey will allow the birthday child to create a wish list and will deliver the gifts. Contact your favorite store to explore this option.
  9. Arrange for a special birthday delivery from a hot pink limousine. Sweet & Sassy offers a fancy “virtual to-go parties” in which it will deliver a special party pack to the party host and party participants in their signature hot pink limo. Packages include spa activity sets, cupcakes/cookies from Legacy Cakes, birthday button for birthday girl (if applicable), and goody bags! To place an order, please call or text 214-620-5077.
  10. Hold an indoor treasure hunt on Zoom with friends. Send a list for a scavenger hunt to your child’s friends and have them compete against each other via a Zoom gathering.
  11. Stretch out gift giving with an indoor scavenger hunt. Create a new birthday tradition by skipping the usual gift giving and create an indoor scavenger hunt for the gift giving. 
  12. Schedule a lunch or dinner delivery. Use a food delivery service to enjoy your birthday child’s favorite meal from his or her favorite restaurant.
  13. Make breakfast in bed. Start the birthday with the birthday song and breakfast in bed, perhaps with a donut cake or pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  14. Send video greetings. Gather video greetings to compile for the birthday child, or arrange for video greetings throughout the day from friends and family.
  15. Include the birthday kid’s name in a virtual birthday singalong. Go to Main Event’s Instagram to have your child included in its daily virtual birthday singalong at 2:00 p.m.
  16. Give a party instead of having a party. In lieu of gifts, consider collecting donations for The Birthday Party Project, which brings birthday joy to children experiencing homelessness and transitional living situations.
  17. Invite neighbors and friends for an outdoor drive-in movie theater. Set up a screen and projector in the driveway to create an at-home drive-in movie theater experience that families can enjoy in the safety of their vehicles.
  18. Use Marco Polo for a video party. Use the Marco Polo app to have a video party with friends.
  19. Cook a favorite meal for lunch or dinner. If you child likes to cook, involve him or her in preparation of his or her favorite meal for lunch or dinner. Or, make it for them. Consider a backyard or front yard picnic if the weather allows, or have a living room picnic.
  20. Declare king or queen for a day. Make a paper crown and declare the birthday child the king or queen for a day. Consider how to reasonably allow him or her to use the power with this title throughout the day.
  21. Have fun online with a virtual play date. Coordinate a virtual play date with his or her best friend, whether that be a board game or pretend play together. For younger children, have them color simultaneously or play with Play Doh, recreating parallel play however you can online. Facebook’s Messenger Kids allows for a safer platform for online chatting that parents can monitor.
  22. Bake and decorate a cake together. Using a cake mix or from scratch, bake the birthday cake or cupcakes together. Let your child decorate his or her own birthday cake.
  23. Karaoke with friends online. Using Zoom or FaceTime, host a virtual sing-a-long and karaoke with the birthday child’s friends.
  24. Dance in a virtual dance-off. Combine the sing-a-long with a dance-off party, or just have a dance party with friends. 
  25. Ask friends and family to mail birthday cards or leave them on the porch.
  26. Set up a surprise balloon avalanche while your kiddo is asleep. When the birthday child has fallen asleep the night before, tape plastic wrap over the sides and bottom of the closed door, leaving the top open. Slip in blown-up balloons until it’s full. When the birthday kiddos wakes up and opens the door, balloons will avalanche into the room!
  27. Have friends and family send gift cards so your child can shop for gifts online. 
  28. Throw a birthday bath party. Include balloons, bath paint, bath bombs, and new bath toys to make a splash.
  29. Reverse the birthday. Since the world feels a bit upside down, reverse the birthday. Start with dinner in the morning and wind down to breakfast at bedtime. This might be just the solution to mix up the daily grind and make it special.
  30. Have an indoor family selfie scavenger hunt. Create a list of items to take a selfie with. Try dividing into teams for a family selfie scavenger hunt.
  31. Declare a “read to the birthday child” day! Have family and friends read books on video to the birthday child. This is even more fun if the child has the book at home or the book can be purchased as a gift sent to the child from the reader.
  32. Make Oobleck at home or even virtually with friends. My kindergarten-age nephew first told me about Oobleck. Think slime but with a simpler recipe. All it takes is two cups of cornstarch and one cup of water. Add a few drops of food coloring for a fun twist. This is a great sensory activity and easy for kids of all ages.  
  33. Pull out baby pictures or old home videos. Every child loves to see him- or herself and reminiscing with this at-home activity could become a new birthday tradition.
  34. Be a birthday genie. Within reason, grant the birthday child three wishes. This can be pre-planned to be implemented on the birthday or offered the day of. It could become an all-day event, complete with watching Aladdin and playing dress-up.
  35. Camp out in the backyard or in the house. Decorate the tent with balloons and streamers and enjoy a special sleepover.
  36. Send birthday affirmations. Have friends text, email, or send photos with notes expressing what they like about the birthday child or a favorite memory with him or her.
  37. Give a birthday dollar for every year he or she is old. Slip the dollar bills into balloons then blow them up so child can pop them for the money. Or hide the dollars bills around the house and yard as part of a scavenger hunt.
  38. Put glow sticks into balloons before blowing them up. Enjoy a nighttime celebration in the house or yard, and enjoy some balloon tossing.
  39. Have an around-the-world-themed birthday from home. Pick a country and use it as the theme or check out multiple countries. Have food from that country or find crafts relevant to that country. Additionally, you can find great online tours of museums and points of interest throughout the world.
  40. Let him or her be boss for the night. Let the birthday child pick the game, movie, and dinner for the family.
  41. Base the day around a favorite book. If you have a book lover (or are a book lover), order a new book and plan themed food or activities that coordinate with the the book. For instance, the day could be If You Give a Moose a Muffin and make birthday muffins. Buy a Harry Potter book and find a butterbeer recipe. 
  42. Keep with the planned theme. Whatever theme the child would’ve done before the quarantine, stick with it. Find printable coloring pages, or let Pinterest help inspire an activity, snack, or meal ideas. Decorate with balloons, streamers, and signs. Use dry erase markers and write birthday messages on the mirrors or windows.
  43. Build a movie fort. Build a birthday fort, watch movies, eat snacks, and enjoy the day in the fort. Declare it a pajama day!
  44. Set up a bear hunt just for your child through your neighborhood. Ask neighbors to put a bear in their window, then take a walk (or drive) and keep a tally of how many bears you spot! 
  45. Build an escape room at home. Visit Escape Kit’s website to purchase and download a kit to create your own escape room without leaving the house.
  46. Play a “minute to win it” themed competition. Google “minute to win it party games” and play with the family. The idea is to play several games that only take one minute to complete! Keep a tally of the winners and see who can win the most times.
  47. Have a “snow day” birthday. Pretend you’re stuck at home because of snow. Make s’mores in the oven, have a paper ball snowball fight, drink hot cocoa with whipped cream, read snow themed books, make cotton ball snowmen, and build pillow forts.
  48. Declare a birthday “all-nighter.” Let the birthday child stay up as late as he or she can last and sleep in the next day.
  49. Do random acts of kindness for other people. In this difficult time, look up or brainstorm some ideas of random acts of kindness that the family can do with the birthday child. Be sneaky about it. Deliver toilet paper and cleaning wipes to the porch of neighbors, sew face masks, and color pictures for shut-ins or medical personnel and first responders.
  50. Become a master chef. Let the birthday kid pick a recipe he or she wants to try. He or she can be the lead chef while you are the helper, complete with chef hats and aprons.
  51. Film a birthday movie. Let the birthday child be the director and lead actor. You can act out his or her favorite book or movie, or whatever. Then watch the finished product over cake and ice cream.
  52. Have an outdoor birthday. Buy outdoor toys online and spend the day outside if weather permits. Purchase sidewalk chalk, have a water balloon fight, plant some flowers or vegetables, blow bubbles, play in a kiddie pool or sprinkler.
  53. Host a virtual dessert or cake eating party. Set up a time when friends and family can join from their homes with their desserts to sing “Happy Birthday” while the child has his or her own cake.
  54. Host an animated birthday greeting card party. Invite others to go to Render Forest to send animated birthday cards virtually.
  55. Create a Facebook pop-up party. Make a Facebook group and send invitations to people to join. Go live and have people join in. This kind of private group also allows people to post pictures, greetings, and videos.
  56. Host a virtual party with www.vidhug.com. This site allows for sending a link to friends and family so that they can record and submit videos. Then, vidhug creates a montage of all the submissions so that everyone can enjoy the finished product.
  57. Host a virtual whiteboard party. Go to www.mural.co and host a party where family and friends can play games like hangman, tic tac toe, Win Lose or Draw, or Pictionary.
  58. Have virtual game party. Synaptop allows guests and the birthday child to play games, watch movies, and listen to music together.
  59. Decorate cookies with the family. Bake sugar cookies and then have a cookie decorating contest with your family. Post the pictures online and let people vote for the winner.
  60. Have the birthday child’s favorite character or princess call. Royally Fun Parties offers virtual packages that include phone calls, video calls, video messages, and virtual parties with your kiddo’s favorite character. 
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Heather has called the Fort Worth area home since 1995, after growing up as an Army brat and preacher's kid. She's married to her college sweetheart, Chris (Sic' Em Bears!). Their kids include Collin (1999) and his wife Elizabeth (1999), Cooper (2001), and Caris (2004). Heather is the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization, The Adoptee Collective, which offers lifetime adoptee support and post adoption resources, as well as pre-adoption education. Heather is also a TBRI® Practitioner. Heather has authored and published multiple books and she finds joy in using her gifts, time, and energy toward her life goal to finish empty.


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