In my job I am lucky enough to help celebrate lots of littles ones birthdays via my cake smash and splash sessions. There’s nothing more special than birthdays with your little ones. The excitement, the cake, the balloons and yet here we find ourselves in lockdown 3 (now is it?) and once again traditional birthday parties may be a no go. But does that mean they have to be any less exciting? Of course it doesn’t, it just means we may need to rethink certain aspects of parties and get a little bit creative.
A simpler approach
Over the years birthdays and parties have got more extravagant with a certain amount of one upmanship in place. Theres pamper parties, ice skating parties, pony parties, trampoline parties and so much more. As a result I know many children who have ended up overwhelmed on occasion and parents who have ended up with empty pockets as a result of extravagant parties.
When I think back to my happiest memories of childhood parties I remember the colourful balloons, a special birthday outfit to wear, a round of pass the parcel and just generally being made a fuss of. The fact is sometimes we as parents can over complicate party ideas putting huge stress on ourselves perhaps the opportunity to scale back birthday celebrations may well be a positive thing.
So what do we need to plan the perfect at home party for your family bubble?
Depending on the age of your child you may find it best to either to be very honest with them, explain the situation and explain that you will need to have a different type of party this year. With older children you may well be able to offer them an I.O.U party to redeem when circumstances have changed.
Balloons, Banners and more
More than anything your child just wants to feel special on their birthday. So dig out the banners and balloons and make a fuss of them at home.
If you are keen to protect the environment search for eco-friendly decorations, pinterest has some amazing ideas and free to print decorations for a variety of themes, perhaps have some reusable birthday bunting made , we have some made by wonderful local company Cherry Pie Makes and reuse it for everyone’s birthday each year, how about paper lanterns instead of balloons?
A fair few party shops are remaining open for at least limited service with balloons and party goods available to click and collect such as messages in Hertford and Bloons in Stanstead Abbotts.
Here is a sample video of Olivia making a ballon garland. To do this she simply using nylon string and blows up and pairs two balloons tied together to wrap and twist around the nylon string. Keep going until you have a big bulk of them. You can then intertwine flower garlands and stick on with sticky dots any embellishments.
Lots of entertainers are now also offering zoom parties which are a very popular option. A surprise video call from your child’s favourite princess or superhero is sure to give them memories they will treasure for a lifetime or a live zoom party with Ranger Stu and his animals is sure to delight and to support struggling entertainers in these difficult times. You can find out more information regarding that here.
But of course equally as entertaining are the traditional old fashioned games, pass the parcel, musical bumps etc.
For older children or some alternative ideas you could source a teepee company to set up a sleepover for your little one and their best friend (or if you have a tent do this yourself). We recently hired some teepees from The greatest sleepover and had an amazing time as a family.
The internet is awash with birthday party ideas at the moment such as hiring a projector for an outside movie night with hot chocolate and homemade popcorn cones (pinterest again!).
You could throw a gaming party for your little one with fortnight (or similar) themed snacks.
Or how about putting together some little pamper packages for your little princess and delivering either by hand on your walks or via post packages to her little friends too. They can zoom together and pamper and chat the afternoon away.
You could throw an arts and crafts party, either sourcing a local company such as Cherry Pie makes to provide make at home kits or by ordering from companies such as baker ross. Local company The Mill House Hertford have also launched art and craft party boxes which look fab.
For older children (teenagers) the internet is a wealth of knowledge of how to set up a homemade escape room.
Netflix Birthday Message
If you have Netflix you can access a range of birthday messages by just searching "Birthday messages" on your Netflix account.
One aspect of birthdays which certainly isn’t cancelled is the Cake! Now is perhaps the time to go big on the cake! Bake a special one yourself at home or have one delivered (or click and collect) from a local cake maker. Such as Sarahs Simple Cakes Ltd who makes all my cakes or you have The Hertford Cake Co too.
Alternatively if you have younger children (or you are exceptionally brave plan a homemade cake smash) for lots of fun, mess and memorable photos.
Why not plan a special birthday tea party for your family unit, ask you child what they would like, it could be as simple as letting them order their favourite pizza or mum’s famous crispy roasties, you may be surprised by their choice!
Or perhaps hire a special treat package from Serendipity Hertford who do socially distanced doorstep drop offs of treat boxes and afternoon tea packages. Olivia organised a drop off for her little girls 6th birthday back in December and these children’s high tea boxes went down a treat pardon the pun.
Including Family and Friends who are outside your bubble
Thank goodness for zoom and facetime huh! Via these sources loved ones can still be involved in the celebrations, being virtually present for everything from the present opening, games and the cake of course. It different yes, but the power of technology can make you feel close to those who can’t be with you on the day.
So there we have it lockdown birthdays, different? Yes but any less special? Absolutely not.