We love a big birthday bash as much as anyone. But a child’s birthday doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy, or elaborate to be special. Sometimes the most memorable celebrations are the simplest, requiring just a little creativity and time with loved ones. Great birthday party ideas at home may be all you need to show your birthday kid just how much you care for them!
Birthday Party Ideas at Home Kids Will Love
While none of us would want to return to the pandemic years, there are a few cultural relics from the time that we want to hold onto. Think widespread grocery pick-up services and, in many situations, more flexible work schedules and work-from-home policies. One amazing thing worth remembering is the way communities came together, figuratively, to uplift each other and celebrate important occasions in imaginative ways.
While you may never attend another drive-through birthday, graduation, or wedding, there’s no denying the beauty of people going out of their way to care for each other. That we definitely don’t want to lose.
Maybe the grandparents are too far away to make the party this year. Maybe you’re on a budget and need to scale back without sacrificing fun. Maybe you and the birthday kid just prefer to keep things more low-key. Here are some COVID-era birthday party ideas we think are worth saving!
Decorate Your Front Yard
“We rented a HUGE sign for our daughter’s 4th birthday and after seeing how special she felt, we already booked signs for the next few birthdays in our house,” Katy Mann says. “As people from the neighborhood drove by, they would honk and wave, it was a very special day.”
Silly Safaris Birthday Animal Grams
Silly Safaris is offering personalized “Animal Grams”. Your recipient can receive a cute video from the animal of your choice “saying” whatever message you’d like.
Decorations All Over the House
Make huge poster board signs (or use cardboard boxes), banners, streamers, balloons, or whatever you have on hand that’s festive. Leave everything up for a couple of days to keep the party going.
Host a Zoom Birthday Party
Even with the pandemic behind us, if your family and friends live far away, a Zoom party could still be a great way to celebrate. Gather everyone on one of the video conferencing sites like Zoom, Google Hangout or Jitsi. Make sure everyone has a dessert of some sort — a cake, cupcake, cookies, donuts, pie. Then everyone can sing to the birthday child and eat their “cake” together. You can even play games during video calls.
Virtual Scavenger Hunt
If you’re hosting a Zoom-style party with friends and family, this is a fun and interactive way to play games with your guests. List items, like a hat, an apple, or an old birthday card. The first person to come back to the screen with said item gets a point.
Birthday Balloon Banner
There’s nothing like waking up to a beautiful arrangement of balloons and decor. Set up these DIY kits from Krazy Kitten Krafts on your patio or inside your home!
Have a Baking Competition
Bake and decorate your own cake or cupcakes and have a “Nailed It” competition to see who “Nailed It” best. Your judges can be in-person, on video chat, or you can post photos to social media and have friends vote from afar. Obviously, the winner is the birthday child.
Chalk the Driveway
This is super easy for neighborhood friends. Have people write birthday wishes and messages all over your driveway and sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. We did this to our neighbor and other people walking by during the day added messages. Even strangers participated.
Ask friends and family to send video wishes to the birthday kiddo. If you are tech-savvy, you can compile them into a fun “movie” or just play them individually for the recipient while you’re celebrating. Seeing and hearing their loved ones’ well wishes may just make their day.
Pitch a tent in the living room or in the backyard. If you’re indoors, light a few candles and tell stories with flashlights while eating microwaved s’mores. If the weather is nice and you are outside, build a fire and roast marshmallows. Reminisce about favorite birthday memories and talk about future memories you want to make together as a family. Too cold to sleep outside? Too dark? That’s okay! Get everything you need to create a magical experience indoors with Twilight Slumber Parties. You pick up a DIY kit to set up whimsically decorated and furnished sleepover tents inside your home!
Host a Fancy Dinner at Home
Send invitations to everyone in your family, inviting them to get really dressed up. Set the table with candles, play music, and use proper manners and cloth napkins. Even if you are eating pizza, it’ll feel fancy and special.
Old School Games
When I was a kid we played “pin the tail on the donkey”, clothespin drop, bobbing for apples, balloon bust, and the Bozo bucket toss. I’m guessing you have supplies around the house to set up a few, if not all, of these retro party games. I’m willing to bet the kids (and adults) will have such a great time, you’ll play these games again someday.
Gifts from Far-Away Family and Friends
Birthday party ideas at home from the pandemic often continue to be great options for including far-away loved ones. Have family and friends mail cards or gifts to the birthday child ahead of time. Collect everything and present them to the birthday child at some point during their festivities all at once or spread them out throughout the day. You could also make a game of it and hide cards and gifts around the house for a Scavenger Hunt. Send videos of the experience to the gift-givers!
Host a Video Game Party
If your older kid is already into video games as a solo activity, why not turn it into a party? Games like Minecraft and Fortnite are hot spots for social interaction. Use the Friends features to connect all the players. Even friends who live far away can join the celebration online!
If your neighborhood has a Facebook page or is on the Nextdoor app, ask neighbors to hang signs or balloons so when you take a walk your child will be greeted with birthday well-wishes at every house. Also, have the birthday child dress up in a crown or tiara and wear a sash or hold an “it’s my Birthday” flag. That’ll get them some extra waves and car honks from passersby.
Change Your Routine
Make the birthday a little different by just changing a few things up. Breakfast in bed is always a treat, then how about a picnic lunch in the living room? Dinner could be outside in a tent, around a campfire, or sitting in the trunk of the SUV (my kids LOVE eating here). The slightest difference will seem special.
Thankfully, classic living room movie nights with friends are always an option now that we’ve left the pandemic years behind. But did you know you can still host a Netflix Party with your friends and family from a distance? Download the Teleparty app. It synchronizes video playback and adds group chatting making binge-watching so much more social. Pop some popcorn and host a Netflix movie night.
No matter the age from 2 to 99, everyone likes a little pampering. We did this with my 3-year-old and 7-year-old. Make facial masks, give massages, do their nails, curl or style their hair, and maybe even a touch of makeup to feel extra special. Listen to relaxing music and sip on fun drinks. My girls have already asked to have another spa day, so I’ll take that as a win.
Let the Birthday Child Take the Lead
As far as birthday party ideas at home go, this may be scary. You’ll definitely need to use your creative side. Have your child pick four (more or less) things they would like to do for their birthday. Even if the requests are wild, try to find a reasonable way to say “yes!” If one choice is to go to the beach, then somehow make a beach in the backyard with a kiddie pool and sand. If she wants a movie night, have a movie night. You might be surprised by what they ask for.
Maybe you’re trying to teach your child about gratitude and giving. If your child is turning ten, have him write ten cards or letters to people that mean the most to him. Have him express his gratitude and why he values the receiver. It’ll make him feel good and brighten the recipient’s day. Or, use this time to organize a service project or write letters of thanks to first responders.
Paint and Sip Party
Host a “juice and canvas” or “tea and ceramics” party. Include people who can’t attend in-person from a distance with a virtual conferencing website like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Guests can follow along with the host and create beautiful art. Dollar store plates are easy to color with Sharpies, plain paper can be painted, or get fancy with take-and-make ceramics from Kiln Creations.
Visit with a Princess or Superhero
Once Upon a Princess offers personal video calls with characters ranging from princesses to Marvel Heroes to dinosaurs. Maybe your little one would like the Snow Queen to read her a bedtime story or maybe she has endless questions for Thor. These are extra special ways to add some flare to their birthday celebrations.
Keep It Simple
Is your growing family always on the run? Take an evening to keep it super simple. Turn off the electronics, gather around the table for dinner, sing “Happy Birthday”, and gift a homemade card or present. Just be together. Show your child the beauty of the simple things. Sit back and see your kid. Reminisce about how much has changed since their last birthday. See their habits, their mannerisms, the way they talk… take this time to reconnect with your kids and really see who they are becoming.
Use these birthday party ideas at home for other milestones that may call for some at-home festivities. Graduations, births, anniversaries, and birthdays for young and old deserve to be celebrated. It doesn’t have to take much to make a day feel really special.
Does your child have a birthday in the warmer months? Plan a backyard party!
Check our Indianapolis birthday party guide for local venues and businesses that can take your celebration to the next level.