9 Ways to Enjoy Parties and Downtime…While in Lockdown

The pandemic lockdown that has loomed over 2020 has ruined many birthday plans…but being in lockdown does not mean forgoing fun altogether. The World Health Organization (WHO) has started encouraging kids to stay socially connected while in quarantine with their #PlayApartTogether campaign that promotes online games. Moreover, hosting a fun birthday party outdoors can be done with imaginative zeal. Below are nine ways to have fun even if you are in lockdown.

1. Arrange for a Personalized Birthday Wish from a Celebrity

Bummed that they can’t see their friends on their special day, your birthday boy or girl may be feeling a little moody. Lift their spirits with a personalized greeting from one of their favorite celebrities. Cameo hosts a list of athletes, musicians and TV stars who will record a personal shout-out on video that you can download to your phone or tablet and play back to your child. (You can also have special family and friends record their own messages for playback, too).

2. Hold a Virtual Escape Room Birthday Party

It’s all the fun of a traditional escape room, but it’s held on line with friends via Zoom Call. A live-host room master guides you and your guests through a suspenseful scenario as you discover clues and solve puzzles to get your group out safely. Paruzal Games offers a number of rooms: Escape from Underwater, from an abandoned building even a challenge to get backstage to meet Bruce Springsteen!

3. Host a Neighborhood Birthday Scavenger Hunt

If your child has a lot of friends in the neighborhood, one way to engage them in the festivities is to arrange a birthday scavenger hunt where each local family contributes clues (a sign on their lawn, in the mailbox, up in the treehouse) that takes your child around the block in search of special messages and gifts from all their friends. Friends can watch and cheer on from their doorways or at a similar safe distance.

4. Charter A Drive-By Convoy Birthday

Arrange with the parents who’d normally come to your child’s birthday party to instead drive by your home on the special day. Have their kids make signs, blow up balloons, and make a lot of noise as they cruise by. If possible, arrange this as a single parade or caravan that comes by, one at a time, to wish your child their best. This tried-and-true trend has taken off and will make your child feel remembered, appreciated and loved in front of the entire neighborhood.

5. Clown Around

ZoomBallyHoo, a national network of clowns, magicians, and circus ringmasters, offers a virtual experience for families to interact with entertainers from the safety of their own homes. Similarly, you can hire entertainers (singers, magicians, jugglers, etc.) to perform for you child, either from the front lawn or over the Internet. Best of all, having a third party like this emcee your virtual birthday party takes all the heat of you to do so!

6. Get Everyone on the Same Console and Screen

One of the challenges of hosting a gaming party is making sure everyone has the same game and console. But now, there’s a great equalizer for those virtual birthday party guests who use different platforms. By using Air Console, everyone at your virtual birthday party can play the same game… on the same screen, simultaneously! The platform turns any Android and iPhone device into a controller, so now everyone is on the same console. No installs or gaming cartridge needed. And many games are free.

7. Arrange a Celebrity Shout Out

Bummed that they can’t see their friends on their special day, your birthday boy or girl may be feeling a little moody. Lift their spirits with a personalized greeting from one of their favorite video game heroes. How? Cameo hosts a list of video game voice actors who will record a personal shout-out that you can download to your phone or tablet and play back to your child. Getting a happy birthday wish from a Call of Duty character is sure to make their day!

8. Host an Extended-Family Birthday Game

Engage relatives who can’t stop by to take part in the action. Over half the adults over 65 have a smart phone or tablet, so don’t forget about the grandparents. For them, using a mobile-based game is best since it’s a gaming experienced designed specifically to be played on their devices and doesn’t require the robust computer or gaming console most of us are used to. Playing online versions of Words with Friends, Monopoly or Mario Kart Tour with grandparents will teach young players the value of family relationships.

9. Ramp up your Old Zoom Gaming Party

Okay, so maybe time is short or you don’t have the resources to pull off anything too extravagant. Maybe your child only plays games with his immediate friends. No worries. Have them host a traditional game set up, but try to work in some special extras that will make the day special for him or her. How about a balloon drop when they reach high score or similar goal? An outdoor video-game themed banner for the outdoors, letting all the neighborhood kids know it’s your gamer’s special day? Believe it or not, a lot of cool gaming related signage can be found on Etsy that should lend just the right amount of celebratory while still thrilling your celebrant.

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author of novels, short stories, and poems. She is also a produced playwright and an award-winning modern artist.