So you’re social distancing. Good for you! Self-quarantine or social distancing due to COVID-19 is the socially responsible thing to do and as adults – we can understand why it is so important in order to “flatten the curve”! 

However – our children, may not understand as much why, not only can they not go to school, pre-school, or drop-in daycare for the foreseeable future, but why they cannot have the birthday party they were promised or so desired. So how to make this day special without friends, family, or a popular party venue like Austin Kids Retreat available? Well, we’ll talk about a few ideas for making a fun party at home, below:

Treat the Birthday Like Christmas!

Why Christmas? (Or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate)…because there’s a countdown!!  There’s tradition! There are presents and MAGIC! So…recreate that the best you can. 

Step 1. Choose a Theme.

For Christmas the theme is well, Christmas. Instead of a winter holiday theme, choose something your child loves and make it the theme. Then get ready to incorporate the theme in every way possible throughout the day! Create a list of activities, foods, and scenes that go along with your theme just as you would a real birthday party. 

Step 2. Set the Stage. 

Now that you have a theme, you can prepare the day! Decorate, make the house festive as you celebrate your little one.

Hint: If possible, consider decorating after bedtime. This way they wake up to magic! Balloons and streamers are always an easy win. 

If you’re staying home, if possible, bring the outdoors into your day by creating stations in your home or backyard. This is a little teacher trick where children are stimulated by moving to different stations of activity. Each new station brings new sensations and will create a new memory with a different background in a young mind. So maybe you create a game based on your theme (i.e. Harry Potter broom race around cones), go on a superhero costume hike, or compete in a familiar but loved family board game match. No matter what you choose to do, having activities and spaces prepared can make the magic of the day come to life! 

Step 3. Presents

This can almost be considered setting the stage or even an activity depending on how you go about it! 

Maybe your child comes downstairs to a pile of presents on the table. Maybe they’re just  getting a few small things so you’ve put them in a box in a box. Or maybe the one big-ticket birthday gift can only be found by opening other gifts…filled with clues for a present scavenger hunt! Perhaps you have timers set through the day, or during each activity, you pull out a new gift so your 5 gifts last the entire day! These are just a few of the ways you can really magnify the present portion of your child’s birthday no matter how big or small or many presents you choose to do.

Step 4. Activity 

Here are some activities that you can do and adapt to the theme of the day! 

  • Zoom/FaceTime Party! Invite your child’s friends to join you for lunch/dinner dressed up to match the theme of the party. No need to plan any activities – the dressing up will build the anticipation and the kids will be thrilled to be silly and talk without any guidance needed from parents. 
  • Costume there a costume (or character pajamas) laid out to wear in keeping with the theme? 
  • Maybe the living room has been turned into a room full of blankets and pillows for a fun indoor sleepover!
  • Camping inside, in the backyard, or waking up prepared to pack up for a birthday camping trip with just the family. Tents are a surefire way to dazzle a young birthday child’s mind!  

    • Psst. Smore’s are fun but have you had smore’s dipping pie? Layer a baking dish with chocolate, top with marshmallows and bake! Once everything is melted and marshmallows toasted to your liking, dip graham cracker in for the s’mores experience without the firepit (or the wait!)
  •  Make your own pizza! Make the shape of the pizza or toppings match the days’ theme
  • Movie night to match the theme
  • Nature Day! Plan a day in nature. See if you have neighbors with paddleboards or kayaks to borrow if you don’t have any. Go fishing. Visit local hiking destinations. The world is a beautiful place…and one of the positive side effects of self-quarantine we have seen around the world is how nature is reacting! There are dolphins in the Venice canals and even a 25 percent drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions over four weeks beginning in late January!
  • Paint something to the theme of the evening!
  • Creative Snacking! Something as simple as donuts served creatively can bring so much joy to a young birthday boy or girl!
  • Spa Day with a new robe, face masks, and bonding over pedicures and chick flicks would satisfy any young teenage girl
  • Teen boys might love a new video game and a competitive match against mom and dad! Here is a list of backyard games you can DIY for a more physically challenging day of games!

These are just a few generic activity ideas. Pinterest has so many fun more specific to the theme ideas for activities you can do at home! 

Step 5. Positive Feedback

Fill the day with positive affirmations! Fulfill your child’s love language and meet their emotional needs as you consistently tell them all the fantastic things about them. These words, and possibly other ways of displaying your child’s love language, make them feel fulfilled and special. Even though there are no friends over for a party, they should still look back on the day with love and joy.



Bonus Some Local Austin Business’ to Support:

Contactless Balloon Drop-Off


Card Your Yard Austin! 


Join Your Local Facebook Group and Request a Birthday Drive-By ( Or Drawing Scavenger Hunt!)

(Steiner Ranch Residents should join the Mom and Tots group!)


Tiff’s Treats or Order from one of the local eateries!