How to host a children’s party during lockdown
Some parents may think one of the few upsides of the coronavirus lockdown is that you’re now not allowed - by order of the government - to hold a children’s party for 30 screaming kids in a church hall.
It’s sad, darling, they might say. But we won’t be hiring the £150 Mr Bananas Magic Show this year or buying party bags for your entire class.
However, it’s pretty rotten for little ones to miss out on their birthday celebrations just because we’re living through the apocalypse. So we have come up with 10 tips on how to host a children’s birthday party that will still make the most of their big day under lockdown.
1: The craft day
Order some crafts supplies in for an all day craft-a-thon. The birthday boy or girl could do anything from pottery painting to building a bird box or even painting an entire cardboard castle wendy house that can be played with after it's dried.
One of the ebay places to look online for children’s craft sets is Baker Ross, who do themed craft sets such as pirate, mermaids or sloths, as well as wooden kits to build, porcelain money boxes to paint or Roman centurion swords to decorate. https://www.bakerross.co.uk/
For a cardboard rocket or princess carriage play den that can be decorated and then climbed inside, try Hobbycraft. Made out of sturdy white cardboard, these mini dens can be coloured in by little hands and will last for days. Styles include a Wendy house, a shop, a castle and a a Disney Frozen themed castle, a carriage and a rocket. Prices start at £17.
2: Book an online party entertainer
If you still want to splash the cash on a children’s party entertainer, some are offering online parties.
One of the franchises leading the way is Captain Fantastic, who offer parties in a range of different themes for children aged 1-11 .https://captain-fantastic.co.uk/online-parties/
A spokesperson for the company said; “Here at Captain Fantastic we like to celebrate your birthdays in style with our spell-binding range of parties, perfect for children aged 1-11. We provide virtual entertainment for little princesses, brave superheroes, budding scientists and curious pirates, not to mention our challenge parties for the older age group. We can offer an online adventure that suits each and every child. All you need is a phone, tablet or laptop - then leave it with our professionally trained actor-performers to keep your little ones engaged throughout the party!”
They have already booked more than 200 parties during the lockdown and they play games such as dance competitions, a music quiz, impressions game, and challenges such as blindfolded drawing, charades, memory tests and a scavenger hunt.
3: Zoom party games
Invite their friends to a Zoom birthday party. You can send the invitation over WhatsApp with the pass codes so parents can link them up to the meeting. Make sure everyone is on the gallery setting so you can all see each other.
Try some games of Simon Says and musical statues, tell your favourite joke or have a go at some crazy dance challenges . The most important part is to catch up with some school friends and for everyone to join in with singing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy or girl and watch them blow out the candles. Plan for the whole thing to last about half an hour as it’s hard to keep the children’s attention
For older kids there are some online game sharing apps that can help bring them together with friends. Houseparty is an app like Zoom where groups can chat together and can be downloaded to smartphones. It includes several fun games that everyone can join in remotely. The best is acharades-type game called Heads Up: Act It Out, but it also has a mini-Pictionary style game called Quick Draw and a general knowledge quiz called Trending. Meanwhile "Finish the song lyric" has the added bonus of making all of your friends sing out loud.
Find out how to play at https://houseparty.com/faq/
4: Hold a karaoke competition
For instant playlists of the most up to date songs, try an app like Lucky Voice, which comes with a 14 day trial. Just press play and sing along to their catalogue of chart toppers and karaoke classics. You can sing into your phone or buy their microphone so you can sing through speakers.
If you want a remote karaoke competition with friends you could the Airconsole app.
The host needs to download the game to their laptop but can then add as many competitors on smartphones as they want.https://www.airconsole.com/play/apps/karaoke.
5: Set up a present treasure hunt
Tie a different colour of wool to each present then thread it through the house for them to follow.
Or you could devise a set of clues for them to follow around the house to discover their present. Give them the first clue to follow to a location in the house (such as, it’s where you brush your teeth, or it’s where your pet sleeps) then have another clue waiting at that spot. That clue leads to the next location, and so on. Put their main present at the final location. To keep up motivation, leave a sweet with each clue.
If you’re not feeling inspired there are plenty of treasure hunt clues to print off online.
6: Camp out in the garden
There probably won’t be any Cub or Brownie camps this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate the experience at home.
If you have a garden, then sleeping out for the night can be fun if you can dig out your tent plus if anyone gets cold during the night they can always go back inside.
A fire pit will step this option up a notch, so you could even toast marshmallows and sing campfire songs. Aldi is selling a fire pit and barbecue combo at the moment the. Faux Stone Fire Pit costs just £49.99 and is in selected stores from Thursday, April 30 along with an outdoor log burner for £59.99
There may be time for a bit of stargazing too, so download an app such as Star Walk2 or Sky View onto your phone that will tell you the names of stars as you point it towards them.
7: Scavenger hunt walk
Hold a scavenger hunt during your Government Mandated Daily Walk™ and award a prize at the end for the person who spotted the most objects on the list (don’t touch the objects - that would be crazy. Just shout, ‘Found it!’.)
Things to include on the list could be a feather, a leaf, something red, a pebble.
For those who are a bit more organised, you could go out the day before and take snaps of things along the route and see if they can find them, such as a gargoyle on the church roof, a sign on a bench, a type of flower, a poster at the bus stop, a garden gnome. If you have a printer you can design a list that includes the pictures and give everyone a copy.
Don’t have time to organise this? You can buy Kids Scavenger Hunt by Cheatwell Games on Amazon which comes with two packs of cards with objects for indoor or outdoor hunts.
8: Sports day
If you’re not one of those people for whom sports day was the worst day of the year, this might appeal.
Probably best held in the garden, if you have one, you could try relay and wheelbarrow races, sack races using sleeping bags, toss the beanbag into a bucket or egg and spoon races using hardboiled eggs. Who can do the most laps of the garden? Undoubtedly it’s the kids but it’s a good way to burn off some energy. Buy a pack of plastic gold medals for the winners. You can get a whole sports day set online by KreativeKraft Sports Day Kit from Amazon for £10.99.
9: Host a Netflix Party
This is a Google Chrome extension that can be downloaded to Chrome browsers on desktop or laptop computers.
You can use it to watch netflix movies and shows together at the same time as family and friends. If you want to make a comment about the show or keep up a chat during viewing there is a column alongside the screen where everyone can comment. Grab your popcorn and enjoy a night at the movies together with friends.
10: Get the street to join in
You could ask neighbours to come to their doorsteps at an agreed time to sing happy birthday. Or do a family birthday walk - during the allocated exercise time - which takes a route past friends houses. Ask the friends to wave or put up posters and balloons or sing happy birthday..
More by this authorAlex Spencer
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)