As we enter into the winter months, it becomes harder and harder to figure out safe ways to have COVID-safe birthday parties for our kids. The cold weather means outdoor activities and parties have a lot more logistics involved, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.
Our winter babes deserve to celebrate, so let’s not rain—or snow!—on outdoor winter birthday parties just yet!
We’re going to break down everything you need to think about when planning a physically distanced outdoor winter birthday party. That way you can get to it, and simply enjoy the day with your little one and their friends—safely, of course!
Keep Everyone Warm
If you are having an outdoor birthday party between November and March/April, you need to plan for cold weather and plan how you will keep the little kiddos warm. Being cold should be the last thing on their minds!
Have a campfire
Now if you live in a city or suburb, you might be rolling your eyes. But there are lots of ways to safely have a completely legal fire and while creating an unforgettable experience for your kid and their friends.
There are a handful of Toronto parks that offer year-round fire pit permits—you can bring the kids to the park for a fun, warm afternoon “camp out”. Alternatively, depending on where you live, you can have a small fire in a fire pit in your backyard. There are some great, safe fire pit options that will meet most municipal standards, but be sure to check your city’s regulations on fires before you purchase a fire pit for your backyard.
Cuddle up under a blanket
Bring a big basket full of blankets for the kids and let them snuggle up under a cozy blanket. They can even double as the loot bag that each kid gets to bring home at the end of the party. You can also include a couple of hand warmers for each kid—they are quite affordable on Amazon and if you have any extras they are great to donate to a homeless shelter.
Make sure they dress warmly
Be sure that in your invitations, you highlight that this will be an outdoor party. Let parents know of any activities that might require additional gear, but at the very least, all kids should have their jackets, hats, gloves, scarfs, boots, and maybe even snow pants depending on the forecast.
Rent a tent or outdoor shelter
Depending on where your outdoor party is taking place, you can rent an outdoor tent or shelter to help protect the kids from the elements. A lot of the party equipment rental companies also rent portable outdoor heaters, so check into those as well! Check out party rental companies servicing Toronto and the GTA.
Get The Kids Moving With Activities
It’s not a kid’s birthday party without at least one fun activity to keep the kids entertained. And at an outdoor party, it’s a great chance to get them moving to keep them warm!
Get the kids playing the snow
Whether it is building snowmen, going sledding, or having a good old fashioned snowball fight, once the snow hits the ground it makes for a great winter birthday party activity. It’s important to have a back-up plan in case snow hasn’t made ground fall yet. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Winter scavenger hunt
Print up some fun scavenger hunt lists full of fun winter nature finds and bring the kids to a park to let them hunt. We love this printable from KCE Adventures that’s full of great finds like pinecones, hats, a snowman, and an evergreen branch.
Take them on a nature walk
Head to a local park and take the kids on a guided nature walk. You can take turns letting each kid lead the group and task the kids with finding as many of a certain object as they can—rocks, pinecones, bark, etc.
Even if snow hasn’t reached us, outdoor ice rinks are plentiful in Toronto and don’t require snow to have fallen to be open! Taking the kids skating for the afternoon is a great winter birthday activity. Be sure to arrange rentals for any kids that don’t have their own skates. Note: check with all rinks before scheduling a party to ensure they are open for the season and to clarify their COVID-19 policies.
There are a lot of other really fun things that you can do in the winter that kids will love:
- Blow bubbles and watch them freeze in the air.
- Make bird feeders that each kid can bring home.
- Have kids build a bird nest using twigs, feathers, dried grass and more.
What To Serve For Food & Drinks
The short answer for this one is hot, or warm, food!
It’s definitely not the time to bust out the ice cream cake, but if you have a fire pit, s’mores make a wonderful dessert. And hot cocoa is a must-have for any outdoor birthday party. Make it even more fun for the kids by giving them a few options for toppings—marshmallows, chocolate shavings, peppermint sticks and sprinkles are all great options. If hot cocoa isn’t your cup of, well, hot cocoa, warm apple cider is another great drink option to warm the kiddos up.
If you are serving a full meal think chili and soups—we love this homemade, veggie-packed Alphabet soup from Serena Bakes.
And be sure that whatever you serve is only handled by you and served in individual, disposable containers.
Local Winter Birthday Party Places
While you might think you need to do all the planning yourself, that there won’t be much help in terms of venues or party providers come the winter, you’d be wrong. While the options are limited, some outdoor venues are still available for parties in the winter months.
Keep the kids connected to nature at the Kortright Centre for Conservation. Offering four different party options in the winter months, kids can have an animal-themed party complete with snowshoeing, spend the day as the Wendat people did 400 years ago, become a nature spy or become an owl explorer for the day!
This unique winter birthday party gives your kids the chance to take a sleigh ride through a winter wonderland. And if the weather isn’t cooperating, they will still get to have a winter tractor and wagon ride—both complete with hot chocolate of course.
Located in Stoney Creek, Puddicombe Estate Farms offers their “Home on the Range Campfire” birthday package during the winter months. Kids can enjoy a roaring campfire where they will roast marshmallows and hotdogs and enjoy hot chocolate and cupcakes! Depending on the weather, kids will be treated to a wagon ride or train ride!
Note: this party option may not be available for 2020/21. Details TBA November 24. Kids ages 4–16 can have a fun day with guaranteed snow at this tube park in Kitchener. There are six different tubing chutes down the 250-foot hill—900 feet of tubing in total! Parties are for a maximum of 8 participants and there is an on-site chalet.