This week, my daughter celebrated her double-digit birthday, the big 10!! She was disappointed to cancel the sleepover birthday party she planned, but we threw a simple virtual birthday party instead. As we all adjust to a new normal, this helped her maintain a social connection with her friends, and it reminded her that she is very special to everyone!
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Featured today on Theresa’s Reviews, you can check out 5 ideas for hosting your tween’s virtual birthday party.
Coordinate the experience with other parents.
Before sending out an official invitation, check in with other parents. Ask which platforms they already use, and if they are comfortable trying a different one.
Facebook Messenger allows multiple people to chat at once, but you have to either be Facebook friends with the parents first, or you need to send a code to add each other.
Zoom makes it easy to set up a chat with multiple people with a link to join, and you can create a fun, silly image or video as a backdrop. After 40 minutes, the chat ends if you aren’t a paid member. You can set up another chat to add on another 40 minutes.
Google Hangouts allows multiple people to join. You need to sign in with a google account.
Before beginning the virtual party, make sure that parents are comfortable with the internet safety and technology aspects of doing a video chat.
Plan the entertainment.
Entertainment can be simple. Check out these free entertainment ideas!
Host a talent show party. Each guests can share their singing, dancing, acting, and more. This is especially fun to do if friends missed out on doing their performances at school! You could also hire a magician to perform a virtual magic show.
Set up a quiz all about the birthday girl or boy. Guests can share their best guess. The person with the most right answers wins! You could use Kahoot.
Create a bingo game. Send it to guests before the party so they can print it out, and play together during the party.
Set up a dance party playlist and play freeze dance. You could also hire a DJ or live music for entertainment.
Throw a movie party. Choose a movie, and use the watch party feature to enjoy it together.
Play a video game together. Minecraft can allow friends to join without making it public.
You can also head to Outschool to hire teachers of fun classes (American Girl, Minecraft, music and more) to host your birthday party. Teachers may not have this listed as an event they offer, but you can Ask a Question to put in a special request.
Hiring a virtual teacher means that they would organize the entire schedule for the party. The virtual teacher would remind the guests to sing Happy Birthday and do other activities. If your tween is anything like mine, she might not want Mom or Dad in the video chat leading the events, but another adult could be a welcome presence to keep the party on track.
Learn more about Outschool parties here, and contact me if you are interested! I specialize in American Girl classes, and I would be happy to arrange a special virtual event for your tween.
Another virtual party idea is a baking party. Drop off supply bags, and have everyone decorate during the party.
Sweetology offers virtual party kits that can be mailed directly to homes. They are also offering week-long Saturday Mini Camps and Spring Break and Summer Cake Camps. Check their Master Calendar for more information.
Have plenty of time to catch up with friends.
Make a loose schedule before the party, but leave plenty of time for guests to catch up too. Since they haven’t seen each other in a while, they will have plenty to say.
You could also have the birthday girl give a room tour or house tour to show decorations. Make sure to buy balloons and decorate! You can make decorating together a special part of the preparation using a Cricut machine.
Open gifts together.
With a virtual party, gifts aren’t expected the way they might typically be at birthday parties. However if you hire entertainment, and you have party favors or prizes for the winners of the games, you could include a link to a wishlist on the invitation. You could have a drive-by parade ahead of the virtual party when guests could bring cards and gifts.
If you have a simpler virtual party, and guests do ask about giving a gift, you could graciously accept, and make sure to open in on video together. It’s also a nice time to ask that in lieu of gifts, guests could give a donation to a local effort.
Remember to sing Happy Birthday.
Virtual parties can go quickly! Make sure that if the birthday girl is leading the schedule with her friends over a video chat, that she includes time for guests to sing Happy Birthday. Mom or dad could always pop in to hand her a cupcake with a candle as a surprise. Having some typical elements of a birthday party can bring that feeling of normalcy back to the celebration.