When we first launched this business (Caring Confetti) in June 2020, we honestly believed that our "Covid birthday" blogs were a temporary theme; just a short-term solution to help parents find alternative ways to celebrate. However, as the months keep rolling on and the true meaning of the term "new normal" is fully sinking in, we're happily (#glasshalffullpeople!!) lining up Covid party content for the long-haul. So, with that in mind, we wanted to help make your children's birthday extra special, especially knowing they (STILL) have/will not be celebrating as usual. Without further adieu, here are 10 easy ways to make a birthday exceptional for your child.
1. DO A BIRTHDAY COUNTDOWN
It’s finally time to break out your pandemic stash of markers, tape, glitter and rainbow coloured paper. Now, get creative! Draw a big calendar (bonus points if you make it advent calendar inspired!) a week or two prior to their birthday to help build their anticipation. With exaggerated excitement, mark off each day as they get closer to their big day.
Not the crafty type, but want to rise to the challenge? Prepare a whole week of envelopes or small boxes prior to the big day. Label each envelope/box with which day to open each one. Stick a fun note, memory, photo or treat in each one all the way up to their birthday. The build-up to their special day may just outshine the big day itself!
2. DECORATE THEIR ROOM
For the heavy sleepers, sneaking into their bedroom and decorating will provide a heartwarming surprise in the morning. As for the parents who have to walk on eggshells with white noise blasting... why not decorate the kitchen, the outside of their door or even a hallway as they exit their room instead? It's sure to have the same reaction! Add to the ambience by singing happy birthday the moment they step out to really show them that this is their special day. Don't forget to substitute balloons for paper fans that can be used again and again and is kinder for the environment. Shop party decor.
3. MAKE THEM BREAKFAST IN BED
Most of us have experienced an over-eager child who just loves making us breakfast in bed. Although the outcome is usually eggshell-filled eggs, candy sprinkled toast and a questionable "coffee," the intent is magical. Kids LOVE the idea of breakfast in bed for their parents, so it's easy to reciprocate the love with this simple gesture on their special day. Choose their favourite breakfast they normally don't have - like pancakes with chocolate chips - and top it off with a flower or birthday card to really add a special factor. Be warned, you will probably need to set your alarm really, really, REALLY early to catch them IN bed. Birthday wake ups are notorious for being almost as early as Christmas morning ;)
4. DRESS THEM IN A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY OUTFIT
This may take some planning to pre-purchase a new outfit for the birthday boy/girl; or like most of us, you'll need to break into your multiple online shopping purchases stored somewhere in your basement. The important aspect of this tip is to LET THEM CHOOSE THE OUTFIT! We promise you, they'll wear it loud and proud - whether it's a birthday t-shirt, a dress in their favourite colour or even their old tattered pyjamas. No doubt they will relish in their autonomy and feel like their best self.
5. LET THEM DECORATE THEIR OWN BIRTHDAY CAKE
In preparation for a day of baking, it's wise to stock up on paper towels, cleaning spray and dish soap (there will be SO many dishes). Spending some time with your little one while you bake their birthday cake or cupcakes is a wonderful, albeit exhausting activity that will surely fill up their 'quality time' bucket. It's important to let them use as many sprinkles and ingredients that they see fit, but just a friendly reminder that even the most well-intention and micro-managed projects may just end up in the "nailed it" category - but hey, it's fun over taste that counts, right?
6. MAKE A BIRTHDAY PRESENT SCAVENGER HUNT
On the morning of their birthday, plant their first clue beside their bed to begin the day with a bang! "We hear it's your birthday and we think you're really sweet. So follow these 5 clues to find a birthday treat" is a great introduction to their hunt. Sounds of scurrying feet and squeals of excitement will be rewarded with their birthday present. Remember that the scavenger hunt is apart of the birthday gift. It's the experience and it doesn't matter whether the end gift is big or small, they'll love it - we promise!
7. LET THEM CHOOSE THE DINER MENU
It may pain you as an adult to have macaroni and cheese, copious amounts of buttered bread and cucumbers for dinner - who are we kidding, we'd love that menu! Narrow down the birthday dinner menu and offer some healthy choices to make a full meal that will include all of your little one's favourite and guaranteed eats, to make their birthday dinner special and curated. Set-up the table with some birthday-decor to make a meal worth remembering. Over the years, we've also learned that making and choosing place-cards where their family and friends will sit is also a hit. Just be prepared for the sibling battles that will ensue as they fight over sitting beside their favourite parent (hint: it's always the 'fun one' which is Dad in our case, sigh.)
8. TURN THEIR BIRTHDAY CHAIR INTO A THRONE
Your little one doesn't have to have a December to March birthday to know that WINTER IS COMING! (anyone....anyone?!). Treat your little one like royalty and grab any old chair and make it the Birthday Throne! With items pulled from the recycling bin, anything sparkly, spray paint and a little imagination, you can create a special chair that ONLY the birthday boy/girl can sit in for the day. This project is a great way to make your guest of honour feel special.
9. TAKE TURNS TO SHARE THEIR FAVOURITE MEMORIES
Without fail, our kid's favourite part of their birthday is hearing the story about the day they were born. Although they've heard this story time after time again, their wide-eyes match the suspense and excitement in our voice as we recount the day they arrived. End the day by having everyone tell their favourite memory of the birthday boy/girl at the dinner table. Funny stories and memories will bring tears to your eyes (where does the time go?) and is the perfect way to cap off this special day.
10. START A NEW BIRTHDAY TRADITION
There are SO many fun traditions that you could start with your birthday boy/girl. Ranging from having a 'yes day,' to writing a yearly letter to your little one, to donating a gift to charity. It's meant to be a personalized and memorable activity that they can look forward to every year. Our favourite has been having a 'tent sleepover' with a sibling, parents or friend - it's the birthday boy/girl's choice! A tent or handmade fort set-up inside is the perfect balance between the great outdoors and all of the added benefits of warmth and electricity while keeping a watchful eye on them from the comfort of your own couch.
Although birthday celebrations are far from looking normal, we hope that this list inspires you to see that there's still a lot of fun to be had in smaller numbers and simpler ways.
Share your best ideas with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Party on!