Birthday Party Ideas at Home | 23 Simple Celebrations That Don’t Sacrifice Fun

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!

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Use a yard sign to let the world know there's a birthday at your house!

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.

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Include far-away family and friends via video call.

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 Party Ideas at Home: Balloon garlands instantly turn an ordinary day into a celebration,

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.

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Let friends and neighbors turn your drive into a giant birthday card.

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.

Video Compilation

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.

Go Camping

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!

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Create a fancy restaurant experience in 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!

Neighborhood Party 

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.

Netflix Party 

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.

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Have an at-home spa day!

Spa Day 

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.

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: Write letters of gratitude to your child's special people.

Give Back 

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.

Birthday Party Ideas at Home: A simple gift and time with family is all you need to make the day memorable.

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.

50 thoughts on “Birthday Party Ideas at Home | 23 Simple Celebrations That Don’t Sacrifice Fun”

  1. I think the part where friends and other family members can drop by and toss birthday gifts on our lawn is definitely a good idea to make my kid feel loved. We were all sad since we can’t throw a birthday party for his 7th birthday because of the current quarantine period. I’ll definitely message all our nearby friends and see if they could drop by.

    1. OMG, same here! Everyday he is counting down to his 7th birthday and we are scrambling just to find things to make it fun. #prayingforourkids 🙁

    2. I LOVE THAT!!! YASSSS. It could a mixture of the Happy Bday sign in the yard AND have the presents all ready in the yard as well. Thank you!!!

    3. My daughter is turning 10 in a few days, and all of these ideas are all kinda pre-planned, so does anyone have any other ideas? These were all very good ideas, and thank you! She’s really worried that she is not going to have a good birthday, but I know she’s wrong. She is an only child and no family around her.

      1. What did you end up doing? My soon to be 10 year old is in the same boat. Only child. No family around. Online school.

  2. I think the one surprises me the most is Host a Zoom Birthday Party, Host a Video Game Party, and Host a Netflix Party.

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    1. Hi Jill
      Basically a Zoom Party is when you start a zoom meeting and send the link to people you want to invite.
      Hope this Helps,

  5. We are doing a drive by bday at the parking lot of our church… well wishes for our daughter and also donate bag of food drive for Local school back pack program. Kids that drive by get party favors to include kids hand sanitizer, a mask and healthy snacks, and kids toy.

    1. I love these ideas. My son will be 9 this month and I just don’t feel comfortable having a party. Definitely think I will do the Zoom party.

  6. Thank you for this. I’ve been thinking of ways to celebrate my child’s birthday and couldn’t think of anything ! Great suggestions.

  7. These are some great ideas! My son will be 5 in July, and I want him to have lots of fun, but safely. These ideas will definitely make him feel loved, even at a safe distance!!
    Thank you!

    1. Tomorrow July 20th my daughter is turning 6 years , she as been doing countdown since On the 10th… will be doing movie night with Cake, drinks ,snacks and popcorn. At home as a family of 4.. I hope she enjoys it.., happy birthday Miracle in advance ma baby

      1. Celia Menezes Jordao

        I’m doing the same. My eldest is going to be 7 and we already 4 at home, mee and his brother’s, but I might invite his best friend that’s the only thing he ask me bless him.

      2. I guess we are all here for the same reasons,looking for ideas with everything else that are going on. My daughter’s bday is 12/31 she can’t wait for that day ” double digit” mommy, she’s turning 10. Omg, I’m stressed, I’m searching for ideas every day online. Zoom party is out cause she’s all day on the computer for school already, she’s an only child ( poor kid) She’s very much into tik tok these days. I need help lol lol

        1. Totaly my daughter’s Bday is today and she is turning 10.I can tell these were really helpful. She really wanted to have a party and she on her computer all day.Hope your child has a happy birthday.

        2. My daughter is turning 10 on 12/31 too!! That is so awesome! Im stressed too and trying to figure out ways to make it super special!

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  10. Teresa M Collins

    My daughter is turning One and I have no clue what to do. I know she won’t remember it but I want pictures for her to remember and for the parents too. HELP!

    1. my nephew just turned 1 and they did a small party in the backyard, had a kiddie pool, trampoline, swingset, lots of decorations, they decorated the high chair and had balloons with a big blue #1 and he had this adorable little birthday crown with a 1 on it. He had his own little smash cake in the high chair, the family & siblings had cake, then his older brother helped him open presents and it was super cute – lots of great photos and celebrated with immediate family.

  11. My daughter will be 3yrs August 22nd,is just me,her & dad but with the social distancing,we want to make it memorable for her,please help with ideas

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  14. Thank you for taking your time to share this resourceful information.
    One thing I can add is the need to organize for photography to ensure the moments are captured well.

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  17. Add the Among us game for teen and up. My 14 yr old arranged for her teen cousins , the fun aunt, and grandma to login to zoom together and also play among us. It was a blast!! The adults actually played a few times before the date to learn the game. We all logged on to zoom together to chat and get set up and played a little more than an hour.

  18. I love your suggestion about putting decorations all over the house and leaving them up for a couple of days to make the space feel festive for our child’s birthday. My two-year-old loves balloons, so I’ll get her plenty of balloons and balloon garland. Hopefully, I find a reputable balloon service that offers free delivery soon.

  19. My son will be 4 on 12/27 and I have nothing! He attends a home day care with just one other child, and there’s only one kid in our neighborhood that he would play with before covid. I am scrambling! We were going to go somewhere and socially distance, but due to the rising numbers we had to change plans. Now I’m lost. UGH HELP PLEASE.

  20. yes I’m really wondering what you guys did. I have 2 daughters 4 days apart. one turns 9 and the other turns 6, they so desperately want a party. I feel so bad for them. I don’t know what we should do.

  21. Thanks for sharing these amazing ideas for the birthday celebration. As it is difficult in these difficult times to give our children the same experience which they used to have before.

  22. This year we went bowling. I rented a lane at a local bowling alley for two hours and then we had hot tasty pizza afterwards at a cafe in town for tea then we came home and had wine, ice cream or cupcakes and watched a nice old movie.

  23. Really like the idea of having zoom party and hosting the online game for birthday party will be enjoyable by every child.

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