If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's that we can all still party in style (and with a sense of humour!). Scroll down to see how families around the UK are making lasting birthday memories at home and on a budget.
Quick tips for a lockdown birthday party
- Choose a theme to help you plan the decorations, cake and games – does your child love unicorns, dinosaurs or Frozen? Scroll down to see some inspired social distancing party ideas.
- Make your child’s birthday feel different to other days spent at home. Use skittles to create a bowling lane, dress up, make afternoon tea or even sleep in the living room together.
- Set up a Zoom party so your child can see family or friends. Involve your child in making their cake. We love BBC Good Food for showstopping creations.
- Enjoy it! Stay in your PJs, eat cake, and revel in the fact you aren't having to play host.
1 Go all out on the fancy dress
Anna wanted her birthday boy to have a day he’d remember forever, and would stop at nothing to put a smile on his face. So, she created Power Ranger fancy dress for the whole family using delivery boxes and paper mâché.
"It was difficult, but worth it," she says. "I think it’s the only occasion I will get my husband to wear leggings!"
Browse these brilliant step-by-step fancy dress ideas for favourite book characters, spooky costumes and more.
2 Make a Covid birthday cake
Lora’s smallest turned five during the first lockdown, and she asked for a coronavirus cake. This creative result went viral on Facebook, and Lora says she was wowed by the response!
3 Order a bouncy castle for one
We all know the worst part about bouncy castles is waiting for other people to have their turn – or getting bounced on by someone bigger than you. So, what better treat than an inflatable you can have all to yourself? Now the weather has turned colder, look for an indoor option like this dino bouncer from Little Tikes.
4 Ask people to send birthday messages
It's always nice to get a bit of extra attention on your birthday. So, Liana put up this sign asking passers by to toot their horn. Meanwhile, Beki’s neighbours put up happy birthday signs for her to see when they went for a walk.
5 Have a makeover
Cassie tested an Internet hair hack to die her daughter’s hair for her birthday. She says: "[Put] boiling water in bowls, add the tissue paper – make sure it’s tissue paper that will run (some say on the packet the colour won’t run). Add a little salt and leave to stand for 5 mins."
"Remove and squeeze tissue paper out – wear gloves as it stains hands – and then add hair. Leave for 30 mins and tada! Strong colours work best. I’m well impressed, turned out amazing and I have one very happy little girl."
6 Throw a tea party
Most kids (and parents) will agree that the best bit about birthdays is cake. So, Rebekah made – well, loads of them. And created a tea party with a Mad Hatter’s theme. Browse easy baking ideas.
7 Make a Covid piñata
We’d all like to kick this virus. Failing that, you can do what Louise did for her kids’ birthdays and make a coronavirus-themed piñata out of papier mâché. Then you can legitimately whack it with sticks, and all it will give you is sweets!
8 Plan a virtual family gathering
When our social lives moved online, it had to happen – the family party, complete with a birthday cake that everyone else had to watch you eat! If you’re planning a virtual do for friends or family, keep children at the screen with one of these fun games to play on Zoom with kids.
9 Hire a video call entertainer
Pre-pandemic, most of our weekends were spent in church halls, sipping warm squash, watching magicians and princesses work their magic. Now, those children’s entertainers are online hosting virtual parties for birthday boys or girls and friends can dial in, too.
Katherine chose Gilbert Giggles – a repeat booking after her son talked about him non-stop for a year. Meanwhile, Emma’s daughter turned 5 with Rapunzel. Lucy Sparkles hosts themed parties including princesses and more.
10 Learn to face paint
When Sara asked her 4-year-old what she wanted to do on her birthday, she said face painting. Snazaroo face paints come with plenty of easy-to-follow designs. Inevitably, the whole family will end up being painted. You’ve been warned!
11 Have an epic family party!
Glastonbury may have been cancelled this year and last, but Lee-Ann brought Covid-Fest to her back garden for her son’s 14th birthday. Bring the fun indoors during winter. What child wouldn’t love a disco complete with mirror ball?
12 Make some brilliant biscuits
Lego, monsters, flowers – whatever your child loves, we’ve got easy biscuit designs to match. As Louise points out, "My daughter loves biscuits and when there’s less of you at the party, it just means there’s more biscuits to go round!"
Or, if it all feels a bit much, hide in a box this year. As kids know, they’re the most exciting part of presents anyway.
Photos: Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas Group / Facebook