Five Unique Ways to Celebrate Birthdays While Socially Distanced


Let’s call it like it is – it sucks to have a birthday during quarantine. No hugging friends, no running around an indoor playground, no blowing out candles and sharing cake with friends. It’s a bummer as an adult but even more so when its your child.

But luckily with cars, technology, family and friends, a birthday can still be a special day! My son turned one in early May and while I cried multiple times leading up to the big day about the birthday party that wouldn’t be, we somehow pulled off a really wonderful birthday celebration. Since then I’ve seen so many fun ways to celebrate! There is, of course, the ubiquitous drive-by celebration which is such a fun idea – but maybe you’ve already done that to celebrate a graduation. Or maybe, like me, your child isn’t really old enough to “get it.”

Here are a few more ways to celebrate birthdays while socially distanced:

  1. Go On a “Hunt”

Why stay inside when you can go on a socially distant adventure? Ask a few friends to decorate a door or a window for your child and then spend the day driving around town to check it all out. This is great with a little one who needs some downtime between activities. We ended up doing this for my son’s party and I actually was happier spreading out the day in this way instead of having one big, overwhelming celebration.

celebrate birthdays while socially distanced

We themed ours “Celebrating His First Trip Around the Sun!” and wore NASA/space suit gear for our journey to the “planets” our friends created, but there are so many themes that work here! A farmer going to see all of his animals, a princess on a trip around her kingdom…there are endless possibilities!

2. Get a Group Virtually Together for Singing and Cake

Thank goodness for technology. The singing won’t be in sync and a phone battery may die, but break out your laptops, tablets, and cellphones to bring a small celebration together! You can also organize a Zoom call but take note: any less-technologically savvy family members may do better on FaceTime.

3. Make a Video with Loved Ones

Want something that will not only make for a special day, but an extra special memory? Ask your friends and family to make a short video for the birthday boy or girl! If you know how to edit videos this makes for a fun project – and if not, it can be a great project for an aunt or uncle. This is an extra sweet way to get more remote people involved in the birthday since distance isn’t an issue.

4. Plan a Game Night

Does your child love their Nintendo Switch? Organize a night of Mario Kart competition! Or have a friend create a celebration on their Animal Crossing island! As long as your child’s favorite game has some element of online play (and most of the popular ones do), there is likely some way you could celebrate through video games!

5. Chalk Birthday Wishes

As the weather gets better and better (and as long as there isn’t rain in the forecast), chalk has endless opportunities for helping a socially distant celebration. You could leave a bucket of chalk out for friends and family to write well wishes on your driveway (if you’re worried about surfaces, be sure to leave out hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes!) You could draw circles six feet apart for an in-person birthday wish. Or you could draw your own giant mural for the birthday person to wake up to. With just a little chalk, you can make a big impact!

Unfortunately birthdays are going to look different for at least a little while. But with a little creativity and optimism, there are so many options to make the day just as special as ever!

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Sarah is a new mom to 6-month-old Henry. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 and moved to Columbus to pursue a career in retail. She currently works at the Victoria’s Secret PINK Home Office. She lives in Clintonville with her husband, son, and dog who very much misses his days as an only child. Outside of work and family she enjoys reserving books at the library and then forgetting to pick them up (but somehow still reads a few books a month), exploring Clintonville by foot and bike, and oversharing on Instagram stories (add her at @Sarah_Kaechele). She enjoyed traveling prior to becoming a mom and is hoping to get the hang of it again sometime in the next five years.