Source: Canva

While it’s so hard to resist an in-person birthday party in the middle of a global pandemic, there are so many fun ways to safely celebrate kids that will still make them feel super special, including a virtual birthday party! With a bit of planning and creativity, it can be a fun experience for everyone.

Source: Canva
PLAN A THEME

Just like an in-person party, you need to think of a theme to keep party planning cohesive. According to Jillian Leslie of Catch My Party — an online resource full of party ideas, party supplies, party crafts, and recipes — some of the most popular virtual birthday party ideas right now are TikTok parties, as well as princess, mermaid, superhero, and jungle safari themes. “Parties have not gone away”, Leslie says. “What we are seeing is people being creative.”

Below are some great ideas for throwing a creative virtual party and the steps you need to take when planning an online event.

Source: Canva
SET THE BACKDROP

Since everything is virtual, you don’t have to go out and get decor. However, you can still decorate using virtual backgrounds. Create a themed virtual background for everyone to use during the party. For example, if you have a TikTok party, send all your guests a TikTok-themed virtual background. You can create graphics for free on design sites like Canva.com.

Source: Canva
EMAIL THE INVITES

You can still send traditional invites using services like Punchbowl or Evite. Just stick with your theme, so guests know what the party is about. Instead of including the address of the party on your invitations, include the Zoom or Skype link. Also, include the beginning and ending time of the party and a contact email your guests can utilize in case they are having a hard time logging in.

Source: Canva
SEND THE PARTY SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE

Virtual party supplies are where things are a little different than a traditional in-person party. You’ll want to send the party items/party favors in advance (vs. the traditional goody bag or parting gift). You should send the package about a week before the party. If you are having a Spa-themed party, send a small USPS Priority Mail box (or do a door-to-door drop off) with nail polish, nail stickers, nail file, lip gloss, etc. Alternatively, if you are planning a spy-themed party, send a decoder, sunglasses, and a magnifying glass. The care packages act as party favors and party supplies, so they really do double duty. Just remind parents to save the goods until the big day!

Also check with local businesses in your area, like kid-friendly art studios. They may have pre-made party kits you can send, which makes your life easy and supports small businesses. Alternatively, consider sending Paint Your Own Rocks, Scrunchie Making Kits, or other projects from brands like Alex Brands, Horizon Group, WeCool Toys, and Crayola. You can get some additional ideas from this post on how to host virtual playdates.

Source: Canva
PLAN THE ENTERTAINMENT

Bring in some reinforcements to keep kids entertained during the virtual birthday party, so you can enjoy it, too. You can hire an entertainer on GigSalad.com, or you can play a game of Jackbox for older kids/teens and let the virtual host do all the work. You can even hire your child’s babysitter to coordinate poll questions, facilitate Pokémon card trades, or walk kids through craft projects.

Related: Celebrate Virtual Birthdays on ‘The Birthday Show’

Just like a regular party, make sure the birthday child sends a thank you to everyone that came to the party! Check out more virtual party ideas on Metrowestmamas.com, or get free downloadable Zoom party backgrounds here.