It might pose an extra challenge, but it is actually possible to host a children's party while social distancing.
If we're honest, hosting any children's party is challenging, and there are some benefits to social distancing rules. It's the new normal to celebrate in a park – people don't think it's weird when you ask them to bring their own food, and there's very little tidying up!
From football fun to a dinosaur do, we've come up with 10 ideas for children's parties that will feel special with small or large groups of people. Plus, some top tips to make the day extra special.
1 Teddy bear’s picnic
This idea is perfect for younger children. Surprise them with a picnic and a few special guests, including their favourite teddies. If there’s a cold snap, pack hot water bottles and a thermos of hot chocolate to turn it into an adventure.
Where? The park, the woods or your garden. Ask guests to bring their own picnic blankets to keep everyone a safe distance apart. They could even bring their own food.
Great game: Hide a few cut-out teddies in the trees for little ones to find and swap them for chocolate prizes.
Fun food: Stick to traditional sandwiches, but use a teddy bear sandwich cutter to make them more fun. You can find these online for a couple of pounds.
Make it extra special: Bring some teddy bear ears for every guest to colour, snip out and wear.
2 Fairies and elves party
Fans of Ben and Holly will love this idea. Throw an enchanted forest party and give your child the perfect excuse to dress up as an elf or fairy – as if they needed one! You could go all out and dress as Nanny Plum (everyone knows she’s the best character).
Where? The woods or under a tree in the park or in your garden.
Great game: Challenge little ones to find twigs, interesting leaves and petals, and glue them together to create magic wands. You just need to bring PVA glue – nature provides the rest.
Fun food: Make toadstool cakes. Cover fairy cakes in instant red icing and white chocolate buttons.
Make it extra special: Buy battery-powered fairy lights to add a twinkly fairy atmosphere.
Plan ahead: If you’re in the woods, bring a portable potty in case nature calls (as it always does).
3 Football party
Give your budding Harry Kane or Lucy Bronze the chance to show off their skills with a few close friends.
Great game: Football is ideal – a non-contact sport with no hands! Although, with guests currently limited to a maximum of six (that includes parents and children), you might be better off playing passing games, dribbling around cones or having penalty shoot-outs, rather than trying to play a full game.
Make it extra special: Instead of party bags, send everyone home with their very own mini-football.
4 Pirate party
This idea puts the 'arrr' into party!
Where? You can host a pirate party anywhere – the park or a garden is perfect.
Great game: Send little ones hunting for treasure. Whether the treasure is party bags, sweetie necklaces or even chocolate coins, the fun is in the hunt. You could draw a map if you’re feeling keen.
Fun food: Fruit pirate ships are easy to make and fun to eat. Cut orange or melon into segments, and top with a cheese square on a cocktail stick.
Make it extra special: Give everyone a silly pirate name like Captain Squid, Longbeard, Sea Wolf or Two Toes the Great. (Secret tip: this is also useful if you can't remember every child's name).
5 Outdoor fete
Put on a fair for a chosen few that your school PTA would be proud of. We promise – it’s not much work.
Where? Best in a park or garden.
Great game: Create a circuit of a few activities, such as skittles, hoopla and pin the tail on the donkey. The beauty of the circuit is you can have one child playing one game at a time.
Make it extra special: Invite your child’s favourite character to make an appearance. Ask a family friend to dress up as Peppa Pig, Elsa or The Gruffalo.
6 Barbecue party
Keep budding chefs happy with this hands-on party theme. Set up stations to keep everyone a safe distance from each other (and the barbecue, of course). We like this idea for children who are happiest when they’re involved in doing a task.
Where? This idea is best in the garden.
Fun activity: Create some prep stations by spacing out some TV trays. You could also order some children's chefs hats online (around £1 each). Chop up some red, green and yellow veg (peppers, tomatoes, courgettes) and provide wooden skewers, so little ones can prepare traffic light kebabs.
Make it extra special: Let the guests create their own ultimate barbecue dessert: banana boats. Give each person tin foil with a banana inside for them to top with chocolate, marshmallows, strawberries and anything else you think little ones might like. Wrap the tin foil around the banana and put it onto the barbecue (or directly in the embers if they’re starting to die down) and warm up for 3-5 minutes.
7 Dinosaur party
This party is ideal if your child knows their Tyrannosaurus Rex from their Diplodocus. And the outdoor location really makes the theme come to life.
Where? The woods, the park or your garden.
Great game: Choose a person to be a T-Rex and select a base, like a bench or a tree. The person who is the T Rex counts while everyone hides. They shout DINNER TIME and start to look for people. The others have to sneak back to base without being spotted.
Party bag idea: Send everyone home with their own Andy's Amazing Adventures magazine.
8 Sports Day
Choose this theme if you want lots of high-energy fun with activities that lend themselves to keeping children apart.
Where? This is a great idea if you’re hosting in a park, as you’ll have more space for your egg and spoon race, and less chance of party guests coming into close contact with one another.
Fun activity: Sack, skipping and hopping races, the long jump – anything except the three-legged race!
Party food: Freeze watermelon slices on sticks for a refreshing treat, or try this mango ice lolly recipe.
Make it extra special: For a nice treat at the end of the party, send the kids on their way with a chocolate medal. Attach a large chocolate coin to a ribbon they can wear around their necks.
9 Sibling sleepover
We don’t blame you if you want to keep the party celebration to your immediate family this year. If that’s the case, why not create a special sleepover for your children? You could even join in (although you might want to sneak back to the comfort of your bed at some point!)
Where? Set up beds in the living room. Or, go all out and camp in the garden.
Party game: Play glow stick hoopla in the dark. All you need is some glow sticks (the ones you can fasten in a hoop). Try and throw them over a drink bottle (ahem, a wine bottle is an ideal shape and weight) or even a toilet roll holder.
Party food: No sleepover is complete without a midnight feast. Mix hoisin sauce, honey, mustard and sesame seeds together, drizzle over cocktail sausages and then put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 180c. Serve with cocktail sticks for a sticky snack.
Make it special: Hire or buy teepees to make up the beds inside.
10 Drive-in cinema
You could take the family to one of the drive-in cinemas that have been popping up in cities across the UK. Or, you could recreate the experience at home with our cinema role play printables. Let the birthday boy or girl choose the movie (even if that does mean watching Frozen 2 for the 300th time).
Where? The living room.
Fun activity: Give your child a box and some pens to create their “car”. Add some cushions or a pillow to make it cosy.
Make it extra special: Pop your own corn and serve it in a proper popcorn tub (you can pick them up for a few pounds on Amazon).