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Top tips how to make Lockdown Birthdays special & unforgettable + 1st birthday in lockdown bonus

Every birthday is special. Sadly many Spring kids this year are forced to celebrate their special day in very different way than they're used to - in isolation, only with their immediate household. Here are few tips how to make Lockdown Birthdays special and unforgettable - including a bonus for 1st birthday in lockdown.

For many families, birthday celebrations mean meeting up with family, having a big BBQ, or hosting a birthday party for family and friends, classmates, playgroup friends... Going out for a special trip to amusement parks, museums or other attractions; or having a delicious meal in a restaurant. But sadly lockdown birthday boys and girls can't enjoy the "normal" celebrations of their birthdays, but that doesn't mean they should go without their special day being celebrated. Here are a few tips how you can still make their day special despite the lockdown and social distancing measures.

1. Create a special video message compilation for the birthday girl/birthday boy

This may be a little bit more time consuming and will take some planning ahead, but it will surly be a much loved and appreciated surprise especially for older children. Have their friends and family members record a short birthday message on their phone and send it across to you so you can create a video compilation of all those special birthday wishes and messages - you can use free apps such as iMovies (for iOS devices), Adobe Spark, WeVideo and more - there is a huge variety and many options out there. You can either show the message to your special birthday girl or birthday boy on a mobile device, laptop or go even bigger and screen it on the TV - to add even more impact you can add balloons and banners on each side of the television and decorate the room to make this lockdown birthday party even more special. I'm sure every birthday boy or birthday girl will light up with smile when they see familiar faces wishing them happy birthday.


2. Organise a "drive through" birthday surprise for your birthday boy/birthday girl

With the new lockdown regulations allowing people to travel, you can create a very special socially distanced car parade surprise for your birthday child! They will be able to see their friends and family members, while adhering to social distancing and keeping safe with their friends and family members staying in the car and driving past. Have your drive-through birthday party goers decorate their cars with balloons, banners and birthday messages for an even more special wow factor.


3. Socially distanced family picnic

Pack your favourite sandwiches, cakes, fruit and snacks and set out a picnic in the garden for your kids to enjoy! Alternatively with the new regulations allowing households to enjoy picnics outdoors, you may wish to pack your picnic basket and head to a beautiful park, find a distant and quiet place there and enjoy your birthday picnic outdoors in the nature.


4. Dress up for an "at home restaurant" dinner party

Even though restaurants are closed for the foreseeable future, you can still enjoy fine dining at your own home. Create a delicious menu with the birthday boy/ birthday girls favourite foods, set and dress the table, dress up in smart clothes and enjoy the at home restaurant experience. You can even delegate one member of the family to play the role of a waiter/waitress to fully emerge in the experience.

If you don't feel like cooking, check if your local favourite restaurant is delivering - you can join Bicester & Surrounding Area pub/restaurant/cafe take out facebook group to check if your favourite pub or restaurant is offering their delicious food for take out or delivery. Bon appetite!


5. Scavenger hunt for presents

If your kids love adventure, they will absolutely love this birthday scavenger hunt. Create a treasure map for your little one highlighting hidden clues and riddles. If they solve the riddles, they will get another clue and at the end they will find their "treasure" - the treasure can be anything, from a room filled with balloons to a present or a delicious birthday cake. You can even tie the scavenger hunt with some of the other surprise ideas written in this blog to make their quarantine birthday extra special. A birthday scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep children entertained and motivated as well as providing them mental and physical exercise.

6. Funky & fun family walk in costumes

If you are up for something funky and whacky to do as a family for your child's birthday, then dust off those costumes and dress up for a fun family walk - including family pets if you have them! The kids, small and bigger, will never forget this fun quarantine birthday walk and it will definitely bring a smile to not just your kids' faces, but it is sure to brighten up a day of people you pass by (of course from a safe distance). Fancy being a princess, a superhero, a dinosaur, wizard or a knight for the day? Go for it! If you are a crafty family it may also be a good idea to start the day with creating your own costumes before you head out for your fun family costume walk.

7. Camping adventure in the garden

This one is for all of the adventurers and wildlife lovers out there! Especially with the weather getting warmer, if you have a tent and are up for a bit of adventure, having a camping sleepover in the garden is a fantastic idea how to celebrate one's birthday. Teach your kiddos how to set up a tent (plus points for lifeskill homeschooling right there), have a BBQ for dinner and star gaze while sharing stories under the beautiful starry sky before tucking into a warm sleeping bag in your tent. If you want you can have your friends and family members join you for this adventure by using Skype, FaceTime or some other


8. Open air cinema night

Are you a family of movie lovers who is desperately missing the big screen experience? When you can't go to the cinema, bring the cinema to you - open air cinema night in your garden (fingers crossed for a warm and dry night) or in your living room using a projector may be just what doctor prescribed to make the lockdown birthday awesome! There is a huge variety of projectors on the market, with the cheapest ones starting at only £19.00, so you can enjoy a lovely home cinema treat even if you're on a budget.

My household has done this and had couple of open air cinema nights in our garden, having a Marvel films marathon projected on the outside wall of our house and we absolutely loved it, munching away on a microwave popcorn and snuggling to our warm duvets and hot water bottles (yep, it was still pretty cold at night when we did it but boy was it worth it!).


9. Virtual birthday party / sleepover

We live in time where technology allows us to virtually see and connect with our loved ones. You can therefore take the advantage of this and host a virtual birthday party to see (at least on the screen) their friends and family.

If your kids are a bit older and you are happy to let them be on electronics over night for their birthday, you can even host a virtual birthday sleepover with their friends - pick a film and start watching at the same time before falling asleep. Don't forget to make sure you have good enough supplies of snacks and treats! Jazz it up with some fun onesies or funky pyjamas - I'm sure the kids will love it!

To organise a virtual birthday party, it will take a little bit of planning, but the smile on your child's face will definitely be worth it. Get in touch with your little ones' friends parents or carers, set up a time and decide which platform you want to choose and let your child enjoy the laughs and fun with their best friends or family members they're missing so dearly.

You may find some useful tips on how to host a virtual party in my previous blog post about hosting a virtual baby shower, many tips and points made there can be also applied to virtual birthday parties.


10. Document the special day & create a birthday time capsule

However you decide to celebrate your child's birthday in lockdown, you may love this idea of creating a memory box or a birthday time capsule. Document your child's special lockdown birthday by gathering keepsakes and place them in your child's birthday time capsule. You can either bury this time capsule at safe place and dig it out when they turn 18, or you can hide it and wrap it up for a special birthday or other occasion when they are older. Include as many or as little things from the day to preserve the essence of the day, the mood, the laughter and happy smiles, the whole atmosphere.

Here is a small list of things you could include in the time capsule:

  1. Photos - lots and lots of photos. As a parent, play the role of a fly on the wall and capture as many details of your kids special birthday as possible. Print them out and pop them in the time capsule so your child can re-live all the memories when they get older.

  2. Your local daily newspaper from your birthday boy/ birthday girls birthday. This will provide great context for when your child opens the time capsule in years to come. Having a birthday celebration during lockdown during a global pandemic is not something that happens every day on every birthday and so providing this context will help understand your kids about the time of their lockdown birthday party.

  3. A CD with your kids favourite songs or a playlist of the songs played

  4. If your kids are older, have them write a letter to their future self, writing about their birthday and the fun things they've done.

  5. For smaller children include a drawing they've done on the day, or a lovely hand print artwork.

  6. If you do go for a fun costume walk, put the costume in the capsule.

  7. Keep some of the balloons or banners in the box.

  8. Keep the birthday cards and wishes your birthday boy or birthday girl will receive in the time capsule.

  9. Special letters from mum, dad, siblings (where applicable), grandparents and best friends.

  10. Party hat and confetti if you had them on the day.

  11. A poster for your child's favourite movie.

  12. Current map or google earth printout of your neighbourhood.

  13. Make a list of people, family members and friends who helped make your little one's lockdown birthday special.

  14. If you opt in for having a take away from your local, include the menu and circle the food your birthday boy or birthday girl enjoyed on their birthday.

  15. Include a poster of a movie you watched.


Bonus: 1st birthday celebration tips in quarantine

Missing on any birthday party with family and friends is sad, but it is especially hard for those parents who are just about to celebrate their baby's very first birthday.

First birthday is an important milestone for many families. For many mums and dads it is an end of once chapter and beginning of another one. It symbolises saying goodbye to having a little baby and welcoming and embracing a life with a toddler.

Many parents were looking forward to celebrating this special milestone in their baby's life with their nearest and dearest, perhaps throwing a party or having this special moment captured in with a 1st birthday cake smash photoshoot, but sadly with the beginning of the lockdown and social distancing, these plans had to come to a halt - for now anyway.

There are still so many ways you can celebrate your little one's 1st birthday though - here are a few ideas:

  • Baby ball pit - babies love sensory play

  • Bubbles everywhere - many babies absolutely love bubbles so incorporate a bubble machine into your little one's special day

  • Making art - get a large piece of paper or cardboard, provide some non-toxic paint and watch your little one make art right in front of your eyes. Not only it will provide entertainment for your little one, but it is also a lovely keepsake to have. Let them go wild and have with the paint for their special day and watch your little Picasso paint.

  • Fruit bath splash - if your little one loves water, they will absolutely love this activity. Fill a baby bath or a bucket with lovely lukewarm water, add cut up fruit and let them have fun splashing around and munch on the yummy fruit.

  • Share your excitement & joy with the family by sharing a social media personalised card of your birthday boy or birthday girl.

  • Build a teepee or a fort & have a teddy bear picnic in the garden

  • Let them smash a cake & embrace the mess

  • Don't forget to take lots and lots of photographs of your little ones special day and record a video of the day. Include as many details as you can - not only to keep for your own memory, but also to share it with the grandparents and other family members. Don't forget this time is just as exciting and bittersweet for them as it is for you.

  • Preserve memories - if you are one of the parents who take 1st birthday as an end of one chapter and beginning of another, take this opportunity to preserve some memories. If you were breastfeeding and you want to celebrate this, you can have some of your breast milk turned into a Breastfeeding Ring. Another great idea how to preserve those small details is to have some of your little one's baby locks set in resin jewellery or keepsake tokens. Always remember how tiny your little ones feet and hands were by creating a casting print of their hands and feet. There are plenty of ideas on Pinterest on unique keepsake gifts.

  • Create a first birthday compilation video of baby pictures from ultrasound until 1st birthday and keep it safe - when they turn 18 you can look back at those moments together (you with a huge sense of nostalgia, and your not-so-little-anymore "baby" with just a pinch of embarrassment :D).

  • Order a special outfit for your birthday baby and keep it after the day - you can either frame it or you can add it to your baby's 1st birthday time capsule.

  • Enjoy every second of it. Your baby will probably not remember a great deal of their first birthday, but you will remember every single second of it. I know that not being able to share this exciting time of your life with loved ones is incredibly difficult and heartbreaking, but try to stay positive and make happy memories regardless the difficult circumstances. Your little one will only be one once so make most of it and enjoy every second of their special day - and don't forget to treat yourself and your partner once your baby falls asleep, and give yourselves a huge pat on the back (and perhaps a glass or two of champagne or wine to celebrate) for the accomplishment of being parents for a whole 1 year! Celebrate all the achievements, congratulate yourself on surviving all those sleepless nights and overcoming any hardships you may have conquered throughout your journey and celebrate the incredible job you've done over the past year in raising this tiny human that means an absolute world to you. You rock!

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