A birthday in lockdown
My daughter turned 6 a couple of weeks ago. We had organised a trampolining party at Woking Leisure Centre, which she had been really looking forward to. So when the day came when I had to tell her it had to be cancelled, it was safe to say she was devastated. She looked up at me, tears streaming down her face and asked ‘Mummy, will my birthday still be a special day?’
It was then that I turned into a crazy “Mum On A Mission.” Yes, it was my responsibility to make her birthday, the best birthday ever! It took all of 5 minutes for me to discover that making your daughter’s birthday ‘the best birthday ever’ – when you can’t go anywhere, or see anyone – was going to be a bigger challenge than getting said daughter to eat vegetables at dinner time.
I did some research, came up with a plan of action and although it was no trampolining party, she actually had a great day. So I thought I would blog about the top things we did, because I am sure there are quite a few of you out there who are in the same dilemma. They’re easy, inexpensive ideas that will hopefully help make your little one’s lockdown birthday, a special one too.
Birthday Present Table
This is something we have been doing since our children had their first birthdays. Thanks to our extremely organised friends and family, who delivered their presents before lockdown, we were able to create a lovely present table.
The hubby and I dressed the table with a number 6 bought from Hobbycraft (they are offering a home delivery service), set our Lightbox up with a “Happy Birthday” message, stuck up some Happy Birthday bunting, blew up 6 balloons and Voila!
One of my good friend’s threw a lockdown birthday for her 6 year old this weekend and she created a birthday present den! It looked AMAZING, with little fairy lights added as a beautiful touch. If you have a play tent already set up, you can use that. Decorate the inside with bunting, fairy lights and/or balloons, then add your presents. Alternatively, you can create your own den (because if you have children, you are probably an amazing den maker by now … ha!) and decorate.
Something like this has great impact, for little investment in terms of time – because lets face it, who has any spare time when you’re in lockdown with kids!
Favourite Birthday Breakfast
Now this one sounds like a no brainer, right?
However, for those Last Minute Mums like me, ‘nipping to the shops to grab some last minute bits and pieces’ when you’re in lockdown, is about as straight forward as navigating your way around a store with a buggy.
You will either be in complete self isolation, or your child’s favourite breakfast has ingredients that are about as hard to find as pasta, toilet paper and crafting stuff.
Pancakes are a pretty good failsafe. They’re fairly easy to make and have an air of “special breakfast” about them. I am lucky that pancakes happen to be Jasmine’s favourite breakfast. She loves the American style fluffy pancakes and I cut up fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to add on top. Yum!
Click here for the easy recipe that I use.
Birthday Wishes Slideshow
Part of your birthday being special, is being the centre of attention for the day. So I had the idea of creating a slideshow of birthday wishes from her friends to show Jasmine on the morning of her birthday. Something to make her realise people were thinking about her on this special day.
Around a week before, Jasmine’s good school friends sent me short ‘birthday wishes’ videos through WhatsApp. In hindsight, I would recommend asking all of your child’s friends (both in and out of school), family members and include a little message from you, hubby and siblings (if any) too.
An introduction was written to add at the beginning of the slideshow. Recorded on my mobile phone, it was an aerial view of me writing an explanation of what the slideshow was, on a piece of paper with her favourite coloured pen. Simple, but quite effective. If this isn’t your kind of thing, you can always record yourself and Daddy, wishing your little one a Happy Birthday – telling them the point of the slideshow, rather than writing it down (a better option for younger children who can’t yet read).
There are lots of video resources available these days. I downloaded an app called You-Cut onto my Samsung phone. It only took a little while for me to join together all the videos I had collected and create a slideshow. You-Cut allows you to add music, slow videos down, speed them up, add text, add stickers etc. Another app which is popular is Videoleap.
We put the slideshow on for her to watch in the morning. She loved seeing her friends on screen and it won big points on the ‘making her feel special’ front.
What child doesn’t love a good treasure hunt!
I found lots of different treasure hunt clue ideas by searching on Google. I altered the clues to suit our home and things we had around the house, then scattered 10 of them throughout the inside and outside of the house.
Some of the clues I used were:
- This isn’t a wild goose chase, if you go to the place where you can see your own face – Mirror
- While you are up walking around, why don’t you go to the place where you go to lie down – Bedroom
- When you find your next clue, you might want to hold your nose, because it’s wear we put all of our dirty clothes – Laundry basket
- The next clue is easily seen. It’s the place where you go to get clean – Bathroom
- You are finding clues and feeling bold. The next clue is where you put your food to keep it cold – Fridge
If you do a Google search, you will find a lot of inspiration! You can obviously tailor the clues to the age of the birthday boy/girl.
We had some chocolate coins for the treasure, which just I put into little bags we had leftover from my Christmas mini sessions (we had one for Jasmine and one for her little brother). We bought Jasmine a bike for her birthday, so tied the bags of chocolate coins to the handles. So another option is to make your birthday present/s as the treasure.
Jasmine had a great time coming up with the answers and loved running around trying to find the next clue.
Time to sing Happy Birthday & blow out the candles!
When your little one is super excited about the idea of being thrown high into the air at a trampolining party with her friends, it’s hard to come up with an idea that can beat that. However, the main thing for me was that Jasmine was able to see her friends. So I got in touch with the mums and organised a Zoom call with her closest school friends.
I ordered a beautiful cake from The Goldfinch Kitchen. Esther makes my cake smash cakes, so I thoroughly enjoyed being able to eat some cake myself this time! I brought the cake out during the call, everyone sang Happy Birthday to her and she blew out the candles. Jasmine liked being able to see her friends and looked so happy when everyone started singing Happy Birthday.
There are many ways you can do group calls – Zoom, Houseparty & Facebook Messenger are the three I am familiar with. Zoom is free for the first 40 minutes – but that is more than enough time, when little people are involved!
” Old Skool” party games
A party isn’t a party, without party games!
I bought Pin the Tail on the Donkey from Amazon. An oldie, but such a goodie. Even the adults got involved (trying to relive our childhoods!). It was nice to be able to teach our children how to play.
We also played Pass the Parcel and just popped in whatever treats I could find. We are only a family of four, so to make the game last longer, I did A LOT of layers!
A personalised video call from Elsa, all the way from Arendelle!
If your child has a character they adore, then I would highly recommend getting in touch with Zara from Koala Kids Parties. She can dress up as any character and send a personalised pre-recorded video message, or arrange a live video call.
Just think how special it will make your child feel, when Elsa from Frozen calls up, just to speak to them on their birthday!
Once you get in touch, you will be asked a few questions to personalise the experience, then all you need to do it wait for the call! Zara realises how tough things are for families at the moment, so is only asking for a donation. However, 100% of the donations are being given to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is amazing.
Get in touch with Koala Kids Parties here, or email email@example.com for more information.This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of things you can do. I’ve had some friends suggest camping and setting up a movie projector in the garden. A great idea if you have older children (and a projector!).
I hope that you found this information useful. Please do comment below with other ideas, or share this blog with someone you know who has a little one with a birthday coming up.
Stay safe, stay well and stay sane!