Amidst shelter in place directives and social distancing, birthday parties all over are being cancelled, and rightly so. We are all doing our best to figure out how to proceed with life while doing our part to flatten the curve. I had a train themed birthday party planned for Lawson’s second birthday, but with the big CV happening in our world, I quickly realized we would need to cancel. I didn’t want the day to be a complete bust for Lawson, so I decided to proceed with a social distancing birthday party. I have to say- I’m pleased with how it turned out and I want to share our best social distancing birthday party tips with you! Tip 1: Gather Decorations | In my opinion, decorations make a birthday party. Just because you’re having a social distancing birthday party doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Scout your closets and craft rooms and find anything that can be used for decorations. Don’t have anything? Have your kids get construction paper or computer paper and make chain link garland! Cut out pictures of balloons or your party theme for decorations. I keep a stash of leftover party supplies in our guest closet and found a Mickey Mouse tablecloth, plates, cups, napkins, and even streamers! Gather what you have or make what you don’t- don’t fret about it being perfect. The fun is what matters anyway! Tip 2: Make Your Birthday Dessert | Many people have stocked up on essentials like flour, eggs, sugar, etc. We happened to have 2 different boxes of cake mix in the pantry, as well as some cream cheese and raspberries in our fridge. I always keep a box of cupcake liners in the pantry, but if you don’t have any you can cut parchment paper squares or just bake a cake! Get creative with your cake and use jams or jellies as filling, holiday sprinkles, or food coloring to help make your social distancing birthday party cake more festive. Tip 3: Wrap Your Gifts | We we’re lucky that we had gifts at our home already for Lawson’s social distancing birthday party, and I made sure to find as many cute birthday bags from our guest closet as possible. I’m not the only person that saves birthday gift bags am I? Don’t have gifts? No problem! Order some fun energy burning indoor toys online ahead of time or print pictures of what the gifts will be and wrap those! Another idea is to purchase a movie like Disney + Pixar’s Onward on Digital as a gift and print out fun activities for it and wrap them. Tip 4: Have Guests Drop Off Their Gifts | Many of your original party guests will still want to be a part of your social distancing birthday party if it is possible. Invite guests to drop their gifts off on your porch! You can wait for them to leave, sanitize their gift, and then open the gift. I have even seen people get creative by leaving a big box in the driveway and inviting guests to drive by in a little caravan with posters and fun signs to drop their gift off. Everyone stays in their car and can even sing Happy Birthday with the windows rolled down. Not to mention, both ways allow for your guests to participate in social distancing which is great for everyone. Tip 5: Utilize New Ways to Sing Happy Birthday & Open Gifts | Since no one should be having social gatherings right now, it’s time to get creative with singing and opening gifts for your social distancing birthday party. You have lots of great options to try! FaceTime is an amazing option. Did you know you can make group FaceTime calls now? We were able to call both sets of parents so we could all sing Lawson “Happy Birthday” and it was great! Everyone felt involved and loved joining on the call. Zoom is also another way to stay connected during this time. Give everyone a Zoom link and a specific time to join so you can have many guests participating! You can also record as your child opens their gifts and text it to the gift giver as you say thanks. More than anything- my biggest tip for the best social distancing birthday party ever is to just make the most out of the situation. Things are hard right now. They’re really hard. The more you are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate this birthday, the better it will be. You will get through this and you will be stronger because of it. This moment is defining parenthood for many of us and defines the childhood of so many. Your mindset is so important for your kids. Let them remember that this was the most fun, creative, and silly social distancing birthday party ever. They’ll remember how much mom and dad tried to make it so special despite what was going on in the world.
With Lawson’s birthday in 10 days, I’m thinking about what to get him. I’m not sure about you guys, but my kids have way too many toys. I don’t buy them many toys, but when birthdays and Christmas roll around, it seems like we get an abundance of them. While I’m thankful for any gift given to my kids, I personally love to buy them experience gifts! Experience gifts create memories and fun- something they’ll remember for a lifetime. They can be magical and creative and so very special. After talking to you, my readers, on social media, I comprised this fun list. Ready for some of the most surprising experience gifts for kids? Here they are! Gift Cards for the bookstore to choose new books– We have an extensive home library (and are adding more special needs books) but there’s something so great about taking kids to a book store with a gift card and having them pick out a book. Instilling reading in kids early on is so important, and as a former teacher, it’s very high on our priority list. Pass to Little Land Play Gym– If you don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may not know how obsessed we are with Little Land Play Gym in Waco, Texas. It’s an indoor play place where kids can enjoy themselves by playing in various rooms. They learn lots of different fine motor and gross motor skills there through play. I can see such a difference in Lawson from taking him at least weekly! Make sure you bring some socks and don’t forget the snacks for the cafe! Playing makes kids hungry! We love this bento box to keep the snacks organized and the mess to a minimum. Tell them we sent you! Disney World/ Disneyland Annual Pass– Ok I’m not a kid, but can I be one for this purpose? I kid, I kid…maybe. A Disney World/ Disneyland Annual Pass is a great investment for the family that enjoys traveling or lives close to one of the parks. There is something new to see every time you visit Disney and no visit is ever the same. Gift your passes with a gorgeous princess dress or coordinating family shirts for extra pizazz. Cooking class lessons– Lawson loves to say, “Up please” when I’m cooking in the kitchen. I can tell that he sees how much I enjoy it, and that it brings him joy too. Cooking class lessons are such a surprising experience gift for kids and one they can really enjoy. Rather have cooking lessons at home? I love this pizza cooking set and cake pop making set for kids! Swimming lessons– If you’ve gotta little fish like I do, swimming lessons are a great way to encourage kids to swim safely and have fun. Grab a gift bag, throw in a cute swimsuit or swim trunks, and let your child know when lessons start. They’ll surely be excited! Zoo or Aquarium season pass– This one is probably our most received. Addie loves the zoo and aquarium. Ever since she was little we’ve asked for memberships to take her. Boy, do those things get used! A fun fan with water spray bottle and the pass are a perfect gift combination to make this a fun and surprising experience gift for any kid. Waterpark season pass– Last year we received season passes to our local water park, Schlitterbahn. It was so much fun! Our kids love passes like these because we can take a little day trip, have fun all day, and then come home and sleep in our nice, warm beds. Succulent fairy garden kit– Last summer we got Addie succulents and a fairy garden kit with small gardening tools and it was such a fun gift! We all went outside as a family, mapped out how we wanted it to look, and went to town. Addie enjoyed it so much and it was great that we did it together. Kids will love this experience gift and will want to go plant their succulents right away! Tickets for a train ride– I had no idea how big of a deal trains were for kids until I stumbled upon train YouTube videos and showed them to Lawson. He’s so obsessed that he is actually having a train themed birthday party. Tickets for a train ride with a cute conductor hat and bandanna are a great experience gift to give any kid. I actually bought this whistle for Lawson and can’t wait to give it to him. Sports jersey and baseball/football tickets– One of the most fun trips we’ve had lately was when Toyota invited us to a soccer game. It was a blast and definitely something we would love to do again. If your kid enjoys sports, grabbing a jersey and tickets will be such an exciting experience gift that they’ll never forget. Camera to take on trips– If you have an older kid, this is a perfect experience gift! Kids will have fun taking their camera everywhere they go and it’s so fun to see life through their eyes. This camera is durable and kids love shaking the Polaroid pictures when they come out.Weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge– It’s almost like a kid bucket list thing to visit Great Wolf Lodge. It’s such a fun place and we got to visit last year and fell in love. Kids of all ages will love GWL and the best part is- it doesn’t matter what time of year you give the gift because their water park is indoors! So gift your favorite swimming bag and tickets, and have a blast! Disney on Ice tickets– Any Disney fan will appreciate Disney on Ice tickets. Grab your favorite Disney costume to add to this experience. Your kid will be so thrilled to see all of their favorite characters and it will definitely be very memorable. Alphabet silicone mold for crayon making– As a kid, I always enjoyed making various craft projects. This one needs adult supervision, but gifting an alphabet silicone mold and some crayons can make for a fun project. Break the crayons, add to the molds, and melt in the oven. Once they’re melted, kids can enjoy making art with their creative color combinations. At home spa day pampering– This one is an Addie favorite. Grab some relaxing essential oils (Addie likes Young Living Lavender and Gentle Baby), a cute owl diffuser, fuzzy headband, clay mask, and lotion to put in your gift bag. Treat your kid to a relaxing spa time and you never know, you might get some relaxing time, yourself. Which gift on the list is your favorite?