You might be worried about your child whose birthday is coming up.
Listen up! Don’t despair that your child’s birthday is happening during this unprecedented time. What kids remember most is feeling loved and celebrated on their special day. And with a few simple steps, you can create a wonderful virtual birthday that they will never forget.
All the elements are the same as any at-home birthday party.
You need to get together with your kid and let the creativity flow as you decide on a theme. Once you’ve got your theme sorted out, you can pick out invitations that match—you can opt for email invitations, to send them in the mail, or to hand-deliver them (contactless of course!).
Next up, you’ll need to get some decorations. Take advantage of having the kids home and see if they want to make a few decorations. Remember to place your order for any decorations early—delivery times have pretty much been extended across the board.
Same goes for your cake. If you are planning on placing an order, make sure you do it early. Check out our favourite Toronto bakeries who are currently doing deliveries and contactless pickup.
If you want to plan a virtual party that is run by an entertainer or host, check out our favourite options below—and remember to book early!
But there are some elements of a virtual birthday party that are different. Read on to find out what other things you need to consider when planning your child’s party.
Online Video Party Tips
There are three great ways to use online video to host a killer birthday party.
1. Live Video Party
From Zoom and Skype to Houseparty and Facetime, there is a whole slew of different video conferencing options that are being used for virtual gatherings. With an online video party, you are inviting a large group of friends to come and celebrate with your birthday kid. The first step is to choose the best platform to host your party.
We’ve rounded up our favourite below, so keep reading for some great video chat platform options.
Once you’ve made a decision on which video platform to use, set up your party agenda. If there are activities that require supplies, make sure they arrive at all of the attendees’ homes before the date of the party. Set up a theme and ask your guest to participate—having all their friends dressed in costumes or even the same colour will be a great treat for your little one.
And from there, you can host the party alongside your kid—let the fun begin!
2. Live Video Chat
If your child isn’t the party type and may be overwhelmed by 20+ faces staring back at them on the screen, a one-on-one live video chat is a great compromise. They can chat with their family members, friends or even birthday performers and celebrate their birthday with the people that mean the most to them… even if that is Elsa from Frozen!
3. Incorporate Video Messages (Not Live)
Reach out to family and friends before you kid’s birthday and ask them to record a short and sweet video wishing your little one a happy birthday. On your kid’s birthday, you can either show them all the individual pre-recorded messages from family, friends or even from a party entertainer. Or you can use your most basic video editing skills (we love OpenShot https://www.openshot.org/—it’s free and super easy to use!) to cut all the videos together into one epic montage. It’s a great way to celebrate and feel close to all your friends and family that can’t be near.
What You Need for Your Virtual Party
First and foremost, you need an excellent video chat platform to make this work.
Messenger Kids is our favourite kid-friendly video chat platform with a group chat option. Add to that the parental controls and fun face filters and this one is sure to be a hit with all the kids.
Skype offers free video calls for up to 50 people on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer meaning more of your kids’ friends can join in on the fun.
If you are looking to keep your party short, Zoom’s free plan allows you to have 100 people for up to 40 minutes in a video call.
Owned by the creators of Fortnite, Houseparty may be a fan favourite just because of that! Host a party for up to 8 people and have recently started to add some fun game integrations making it the perfect platform to chat with your friends while playing Fortnite.
If you and your kids’ friends are all Apple owners, FaceTime is free up to 32 people. The joy of FaceTime is that it is built right into your Apple products making it so easy to use via your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac computer.
Next, you need to make sure that you have a good internet connection. Head over to fast.com or speedtest.net and conduct a quick speed test on your internet. If you see at least 10 from either site, you should be good to go. Alternatively, you can connect directly via ethernet cable if it is available to you.
Make sure your birthday kid is seen by all their buddies with some good lighting—natural, indirect lighting is best or choose your own background with Zoom and lean into your theme.
Include the link to the video party in your invitations. This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to send it out to all of your invitees!
Our Top Tips
1. Do a test run
Set up your computer, get a few friends to call in, and make sure that your set up is perfect. You can test out backgrounds, make sure your lighting is perfect, and troubleshoot any issues that arise before the big day.
2. Ask guests to make a sign or drop off a card beforehand
You can include a request on your invitation or reach out to some of your kids’ best friends’ parents and see if they are able to drop off a card or make a sign to hold up during the party. It’s these small touches that your child will remember for years to come.
Online Kids’ Party Entertainers
These party entertainers are offering online services, from prerecorded messages to 1- to 2-hour fully hosted birthday parties.
Character & Princess Parties
Craft & Cooking Parties
Music, Drama & Dance Parties
STEM & Animal Parties
Gaming & Adventure Parties
Rentals & Decorations
Even while social distancing, you can make things festive with anything from themed balloon bouquets to bounce houses. Ask about policies regarding the sanitization of equipment and protocol for safe delivery and/or pickup.