There are millions of kids that missed out on the joy of a birthday party over the last 2 years.
As we explained in a previous article on why you need to throw a birthday, its important for emotional development, creating unique memories, and an opportunity for them to feel connected.
Some may see COVID as reason to skip the celebration while others see it as an opportunity to create a unique celebration for a unique time in our lives that we will look back on in years to come and say “remember your party we had during COVID?!”
To host an “iso” party, here are a few tips!
1. Confirm a Time
Ensure you organise a time to catch up that suits everyone.
2. Invite The Guests
In my experience, smaller groups are actually better for virtual parties. You just can’t invite all of Greece like my mum would. The larger the group, the harder it is for people to chat without it becoming a noisy mess. Smaller intimate groups work best. Whatsapp chat or group SMS are ideal for coordinating multiple people. If there are technical difficulties you can also communicate on the chat.
3. Determine Entertainment/Activity
You might simply want to do a call and say hi but why not also make it a bit more fun and spend a bit more time. My three favourite ideas you could do are:
- Board Game – They might seem old fashion but you could play a good old fashion board game just virtually. Some games might need everyone to have the game while others might be able to be played with one person with the full game and others only having a dice for example.
- Family Dinner – Birthdays are often shared around a meal so why not do it except this year do it virtually. Everyone can plan breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner together and everyone can have the meal over a call. If you do dinner you might consider sending a delivery of cupcakes to all your guest before the call and if you want to take it to another level, you could even send a party pack with party hats, decorations, cups and plates in the theme of the party!
- Bingo – Everyone simple selects and then writes down 9 numbers on paper between 1 and 20 and then the organiser can pick numbers out of a hat. Alternatively (and for younger kids) you can email out a set of pictures people can print and then select the pictures from the hat. You can simply google some pictures (in your party theme ideally) and make a collage in Paint that can be a single page for the kids to cut out.
4. Confirm Technology
There are many options for chatting but our three favourites are Facetime, Google Hangout and Zoom.
FaceTime – Facetime is by far the easiest option as even the most tech-challenged have done it before. It does have its drawbacks in that its hard to see everyone on the small screen, less initiative to do things like recording the virtual party or muting people and it can be a bit unstable and drop out.
Google Hangout – This is a great tool and its very similar to facetiming multiple people at once. It can also be used on desktop so is great for use with various devices. Its completely free and you can record your session free also. Its one of our favourite options.
Zoom – This is also widely talked about as the best free option. It certainly our pic of the bunch. Its mostly free although to record you need to be a paid user.
5. Test Technology
Its best before the call to have everyone who joins jump on a quick one on one call with the organiser to ensure they can use the tech. This only needs to be a quick 1 minute “Hi, just testing” call. If you skip this step, your chance of technical difficulties is extremely high which is always very frustrating when multiple people are waiting to start. You can even do this part as a way of inviting people personally.
6. Backdrop & Light
Ideally ensure you have a nice backdrop unless your on Zoom which has a fun feature where you can select a virtual background. The kids absolutely love this. My son loves the outer space one, they love feeling like their in space and my daughter loves the one where it changes your appearance to put a tiara on your head. Trust me when I say this….do this before the kids join. Once they learn you can change it, they will be less interested in the people on the screen and more interested in changing the way they look.
7. Dress Up
Lets face it, with isolation, many of us might be feeling (and maybe looking) a little like Tom Hanks from Cast Away. Don’t forget to dress up and look nice. You could take this another step further and send out party packs for everyone to dress up.
8. Be On Time
Being late can be really stressful when using new technologies and never gets things off to a good start so ensure you are on time.
9. Send A Present
Ideally people should send a present but if they don’t why not send one to your child yourself.
We have been sending lots of “Happy Iso Birthday” bouquets lately and nothing lights up a kids face more than receiving presents.
Have you hosted a party in ‘iso’? We’d love you to share any thoughts, suggestions or ideas that have taken the party to the next level in the comments below.