Emi’s virtual birthday party was a few weeks ago and I finally have a minute to write this follow up post. If you haven’t yet, you may want to head on over to my how to plan a virtual birthday party post to see how the plans compare with reality.
VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY PARTY FOLLOW UP | HOW IT WENT
If you’ve celebrated a birthday during the current COVID pandemic… you know its pretty lame. But if you’ve had a child celebrate their birthday in the last 5 months, it almost breaks your heart.
They don’t get all the normal stuff. No school celebration, no birthday party with lots of friends, no birthday dinner at your favorite restaurant.
For MONTHS all Emi could talk about getting to ride a camel at the zoo because that’s what we’d promised her for her birthday. PSYCH!
So, when I realized that it was up to me to make her birthday FEEL like a birthday, I went a little crazy trying to plan the perfect virtual birthday party.
My only goal was to make her feel special, loved, and celebrated, and I think it went pretty well!
Decorations – Go BIG!
Okay, my original plan for decorations was to keep it simple, DIY type stuff, and some of it was, like these awesome DIY party hats you can customize for absolutely any party theme! But when I cut out jungle leaves and hug them up, it looked pretty sad so I had to adjust.
The leaves were from a garland I purchased from party city. The table cloth, net, #3 balloon, and plates came from there too. Everything else, the cake stands, animal faces, and napkins, were from my secret addiction, the Target dollar spot. I was really lucky because jungle/animals/go wild was one of the dollar aisle themes at the time and fit perfectly with Emi’s Young, Wild, and Three party!
If you’re planning a virtual party I definitely would not skimp on the decorations! You can still concentrate them in a small area and do less, but their a huge visual cue to your little one that something special is happening, and they’re being celebrated!
Emi’s eyes lit up when I was setting up and she realized it was all for her.
THE Party Packets – DO IT!
Because I wanted our virtual party to feel as much like an in-person party as possible, I gave everyone who zoomed a party packet filled with hats, cupcakes, and our scratch-off mask activity.
I definitely think this was HUGE in making it feel like everyone was experiencing the same party, despite being in different locations.
Opening presents – SKIP IT!
Meh. Not my favorite. It took too long and was fairly boring over zoom. It also added pressure to my family, who aren’t big on presents, and I didn’t want them to feel bad for not sending a gift. We ended up cutting it short and she opened most of her presents later, off camera.
I think next time I’d call each gifter individually so they can have a special one-on-one moment with Emi as she opens her present from them. In fact, I think I may always do presents one-on-one so Emi can truly connect with people and understand that gifts are an expression of love and have the opportunity to express true gratitude.
ACTIVITIES – DO IT! But Only One
To help it feel like a real party I wanted there to be a fun activity as part of the festivities and sent everyone animal scratch masks to do together. I think it helped to deliver them several days in advance because all the kids who attended were super excited to FINALLY be able to scratch their masks.
It probably lasted about 10 minutes or less but the kids had fun putting them on to show each other in the camera.
I’d originally planned to play with play-dough too but felt that things were getting a little long and decided to cut it. Some of the kids were disappointed but I think the parents appreciated it. If you opt out of opening presents you might have time for a second activity.
Happy Birthday Song + Cake – DO IT! Duh!
I feel like this one is a no brainier but this is probably one of the funnest moments of a virtual birthday party. Make sure you UNMUTE everyone so your little one gets to hear all the love being sent her way! It was even better because everyone had a cupcake to eat that matched Emi’s cake perfectly so it truly felt like a shared experience.
Final thoughts on VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY PARTies
While I hope its never again necessary, Emi’s Virtual Birthday Party went really well! Several of our virtual guests commented that they had fun and were grateful to be given a way to celebrate in a safe way.
Most importantly, Emi had a blast! As a mom, so much of my joy is wrapped up in her happiness and I could tell that she felt LOVED, SPECIAL, and CELEBRATED! She knew it was her birthday and still talks about it months later.
I hope this post and the original how to throw a virtual birthday party post have helped you brainstorm your own ideas for this unique time. I hope you’ll come back and share them with us in the comments!