So, we are still staying in, but when it comes to birthdays especially children’s, the show must go on. They wait all year for this day, so here’s how to still make it special.
Have a plan
Tailor your day around what your child loves doing, talk to them beforehand about how it will be a bit different this year but they get to choose their day.
Set the scene
Decorate the room with balloons, banners, bunting, streamers, whatever you can get, to inject some birthday magic. Charlotte at My Party Perfect swears by a main cake table, where the cake can rest safely also giving a fantastic photo opportunity as a back drop. She suggests making decorations to keep little ones busy in the lead up to the party, and getting lots of balloons to fill the house, or their bedroom. AJ’s Fiestas provide packs of party plates, cups, banners in a range of themes and are offering 15% off purchases until end of May. Party Away have lots of party accessories and deliver these as well as balloons.
A virtual party
Set up a video party, and get a crowd of friends ‘in the room’ to help celebrate. WhatsApp an invite to the people your child most wants to spend his or her party with, and test it beforehand so make sure that on the day you can all see each other; don’t let tech be a buzz kill. For a younger child, a big group call might be overwhelming, so you can always make individual calls throughout the day. Set a time, duration (half an hour should do it) and anything guests need to prepare in advance; you can even include a theme for dressing up on the invite. On Zoom you can set your backdrop to be a movie scene etc. On the plus side, they may be getting the chance to celebrate with people from all over the world who they wouldn’t usually have there.
Get the party started with a brief round of hellos, intros and happy birthday wishes then get things going with party games, such as musical statues/chairs; prepare a playlist beforehand. My Party Perfect suggest the limbo, the Chu Chua and the hokey kokey. You can do a talent show where the parents get involved too, or Opposites, where everyone has to do the opposite of what you say (e.g. “stand up!”); or Guess the Number, using a jar filled with bouncy balls or sweets. If the child is into playdough or lego, you can set challenges to see who can make what in a set time. Other activities could be a simple craft; make a silly party hat (search for a downloadable free printables); a mask from a paper plate or disc. Let the parents know what you are planning in advance so they can have stuff prepared or cut out for their child to join in and keep it simple. Older children might like a karaoke app, or a movie party so they can watch and chat together on Netflix Party (Google Chrome extension download). Finish the party off with a good ol’ happy birthday song, cake and candles. Guests can get cake in too so that everyone has a treat to munch on. You could even have a birthday tea together with similar food for all, such as pizza.
If you don’t fancy being the MC for the shindig there are companies that provide online interactive parties, such as Making Kids Parties, Puddles London, Jojo Fun and Captain Fantastic are a few we found in the UK, but lots out there.
Lots of the local shops including toy shops in Gibraltar are still delivering, or you could try one of the freight companies such as Eastgate/Skynet, O2O Logistics to get things shipped in. Make like Elsa from Frozen Fever and give the birthday girl or boy a piece of string to follow, which leads them to their presents, tucked around their home. Or, arrange a pirate-esque treasure hunt based on clues if children are older. Get creative with it and make it a fun game for them.
Your child might like to be involved in making the cake and help decorate it; give them the option. Jane at The Crafty Cupcake is posting daily recipes on their Facebook page which have been tried and tested at their workshops so are really child friendly. As for decorating, she suggests using a piping bag and always squeezing from the top; otherwise the icing will over flow out of the top, or if squeezing from the bottom it will block the icing flow. There are no rules, so Jane says be as creative or as minimalist as you like, take your time and think about what you would like your cake to look like before you begin. There can never be too many sprinkles and most of all have fun! Jane also is a big advocate of letting kids do as much as they feel they can, unaided, even if it does get a bit messy, parents are often surprised how much they are capable of with just a little guidance and a stand back approach.
What Is A Virtual Playgroup?
The Parent And Child Society’s (PACS) role within the community is to offer play group sessions for babies, toddlers and their families in Gibraltar four times a week, face to face. However with the current social restrictions in place, PACS has had to find a new way of offering the charity’s services. Playgroups offer parents and children support in children’s learning, health & well-being, relationship building and making people feel less isolated. To continue to meet Gibraltar’s needs in these unprecedented times, PACS has come up with “virtual playgroup”.
Virtual playgroup has been developed to continue supporting playgroup families by connecting through online song time, story time and craft activities. Via our Facebook page, PACS has been posting videos of our volunteers engaging in activities in line with our normal play session times. Therefore, our families know that on a Monday we have Storytime and Song time will be on Wednesday and Fridays as well as Friday’s cooking session. Offering support and sharing information is an important part of our playgroup sessions, in addition we have been sharing play ideas and important government messages via our page. We also have a WhatsApp group set up for our bumps and babies’ session, that allows this group of new parents to stay in touch and support each other through this time. In the future this virtual playgroup might expand to offer ‘live’ virtual sessions.
So, if you’re a parent who is struggling for some new ideas for your little ones or just looking for some fun activities to do then head over to the Parent And Child Society – PACS Gibraltar Facebook page.