My son had been looking forward to his 4th birthday for months. Historically, he has never been interested in hosting or attending parties. This year he gave me very specific guidelines: a martial arts birthday party with rainbows and trains with all the friends.
My son attends a Montessori in NYC with children ranging in ages from 2.9-5. We couldn’t be together physically and as a result of Covid19, we had to change plans. I tried to make his birthday dreams come true, and I’m happy to report I managed to hit 2 out of three 3 requiremennts for his birthday.
If you haven’t used Zoom for classes or meetings, I highly recommend it. Zoom has some really nice features for group classes and meetings.
Below I outline exactly how we threw a birthday party for four-year old.
Instructions for a successful Zoom birthday party for a young child:
Step 1: We made a cake together with rainbows and trains. We used M&M’s to create a rainbow pattern and used his toy trains (sanitized obviously) to decorate the cake. I’ll add there were some exploding sprinkles.
Step 2: We decorated a table with train-theme décor I had purchased online.
Step 3: I created a Paperless post invitation with the link to the Zoom birthday and emailed out the invitations.
Quick note: make sure you have a password and also enable waiting room to ensure that you host a secure and safe party. This helps avoid unwanted party crashers.
- In the invitation I asked his friends and family to create a happy birthday video and card or art project for him. The parents each took pictures of each child holding their art pieces/cards and sent them to me. This way I could print out the pictures and also create a photo book online to remember his birthday. (Homeschooling side note, we also printed the pictures and cut them up as puzzles for him to put together. It’s his favorite activity).
- The day of the party we had setup the cake, presents and decorations. We have two kids, so we even made little goody bags for my son and his big sister who is 6.
Step 4: The Zoom party details
The day of the party, I positioned the laptop toward the decorated table and presents. In the background we played birthday music. One by one the parents and kids entered the Zoom and they showed their crafts to my son. You can let them all talk at once, or mute and unmute each child as they are talking. We then had everyone collectively sing happy birthday and cut the cake.
Step 5: Party entertainment
You can hire entertainers, or a place like The Craft Studio to do a virtual class, but we decided to just go with a pre-recorded video with DJ Squizzle that we played when we done singing and cutting the cake. We asked everyone to join the dance party. The nice thing about Zoom is that you can make a YouTube video cast to everyone by following the instrutions here so the kids can dance along. The children loved the dance party so much we did it twice. I will add though, that most kids didn’t dance along and just enjoyed watching DJ Squizzle. DJ Squizzle is my older daughter’s movement teacher. He also hosts fun workout and dance videos on YouTube.
Step 6: Mingling
Then we let all the parents and kids and grownups talk.
The whole party from start to finish was about 30 minutes.
Most of our guests live within a 5 block radius of us in NYC, and the younger ones were a little confused as to why they couldn’t come by and eat cake. I promised that for my son’s next birthday, they’d have an opportunity to get special cupcakes AND cake.
My son loved the party. I don’t think he even realized that it was virtual. For days he kept telling his older sister, ‘Remember when Issy came to my party?” or “I loved Zooey’s picture so much.”
I love parties, and this was probably the easiest, most cost effective party I’ve ever planned. I wanted to make sure that the dance video worked, so I tested that the day before the party. My son was super happy. The bonus was that we weren’t restricted by space as we usually are in places in like NYC.