With social distancing and health concerns surrounding COVID19, many parents have had to search out alternative birthday party ideas to celebrate their children’s birthdays. As a family that is about to celebrate our second and third Safe at Home birthday party, we’re becoming well versed in how to plan the best birthday parade for kids. Check out our other article of you’re planning a COVID birthday for an adult.
Birthday Parade Ideas
We’ve attended several birthday parades or drive-by birthday parties and each of them has had their own special touch for the birthday kid.
- Create a special spot for the birthday child to sit or stand or great friends.
- Decorate your front yard in a special way. We scheduled a rented yard letters sign from Gina at Sign Dreamers.
- Play your child’s favorite songs to add to the parade atmosphere.
- Pass out individually packed cupcakes or donuts or other treats to guests as they drive by. Alternatively, have the treats spread out on a long table at the end of your property for guests to grab if they would like to.
- Put together the traditional goody bag for your guests.
- Ask friends to decorate their vehicles or their bikes.
How to Plan a Birthday Parade
Before you get to work, you’ll have to decide if you want to have everyone arrive at once and get ready in a staging area and then proceed in a continuous parade format or if instead you’ll have more of a drive-by birthday party where people can drive by during a certain time frame and say hello to the birthday child. There’s also a third type of parade that we’ll discuss later.
Invite People to the Birthday Parade
Contact your child’s teacher and invite the whole class to be a part of the festivities. Tell your family and friends via text messages, phone calls, email and social media. Drop off paper invitations to your neighbors or send an email. We made use of our community Next Door website. We created a Facebook event and even designed invitations. If you have more than one child and a partner, send them through the parade with the siblings. It will add more joy to the experience, all of the kids will get to participate and it will keep kiddos away from traffic.
Several of our friends have been able to get the fire department, police cars and neighborhood security force to drive in their children’s birthday parades. Now that the weather is getting nice, you could host a bicycle parade.
Decorate For the Birthday Parade
If you’re a participant in the parade, make homemade decorations with paper, wrapping paper or cardboard boxes. Use leftover birthday streamers and balloons or holiday decorations. Paint your car windows with tempera paints with dish soap mixed in or special window paint. Tip: if attaching items to your car, it’s best to wait until you are a few houses away from your destination to avoid littering or losing items. There are special birthday car parade decorations available for sale online. Check out these super hero birthday parade decorations.
Several of our carloads of guests were all wearing party hats! What a great idea! Another family of friends were jamming to music and blowing bubbles out the window. Pretty much anyone with a sun roof had children popping out of the top. My children dress up in their halloween costumes when we drive in the car parades. There’s no end to how creative you can get. At this point, there really are no rules (Disclaimer: follow traffic laws)!
Birthday Yard Decorations
While it rained on our first birthday parade, we still braved the storm and so did our guests. We hired a local company to bring yard letters to our house and set up a giant birthday sign in our front yard. All day long our neighbors would honk and wave as they drove by. It was special to hear these greetings, even while we were indoors.
You can add balloons to the mailbox, decorate a special chair for the birthday kiddo or make signs for the birthday child. Our friends decorated their own driveway and sidewalk with beautiful birthday pictures and greetings.
Our family opted to skip the treats and goodie bags to continue being cautious with social distancing, however we’ve visited a few parades with birthday treats. Popular options that we’ve seen are birthday donuts, individually wrapped cupcakes, Capri Sun juices and Hostess treats. You could hand them out to your guests as they drive by or leave them on a table at the end of the parade for self serve.
We didn’t expect that our daughter would receive gifts, we really just wanted her to see her friends. However, friends and family members were dropping off gifts during the parade, handing them out the window and tossing them to us. Our four year old was delighted! She couldn’t even believe it! We had prepared her to understand that since we weren’t having a traditional party, this would not be happening. We were wrong! Later, she opened all of her presents live on a Zoom call with her grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles watching.
If friends and family want to send presents ahead of time, that’s helpful too! One of our close friends had a Zoom birthday party and we sent her gifts via Amazon before the party.
Reverse Birthday Parade
Typically during a parade, the guest of honor is the one being paraded down the street. We’ve been witness to the more traditional type of parade. Our neighbor and court of cars that followed, paraded through the neighborhood with the birthday girl popping out of the sunroof of her parent’s car. Neighbors were asked to stand outside of their homes, waving signs and sharing words of encouragement and congratulations. It was beautiful!
Your children just want to see their friends. That’s the whole point. Enjoy your time, take lots of socially distant photos and smile!