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Children's birthday party 2.0 - 7 tips for the digital birthday party
A bustling bunch of children at the newspaper dance? Sticky plastic cutlery moving from hand to hand on the cake table? Birthday serenades that, in addition to one or the other crooked tone, bring gallons of droplets of spit to light? No way!
Celebrating children's birthdays in times of social distancing presents parents with the difficult task of bringing the birthday child and guests together without bringing them together. A video conference party is a good alternative, but it is new digital territory for parents and children alike. In our seven tips, we reveal how a birthday can also be a success online.
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# 1 Better than any filter - create a party atmosphere with room decorations and costumes
As the name suggests, a birthday is a day-filling event. So use the time before the party to get your child in the mood for the birthday party and to look forward to the digital reunion with friends. Find a good place for the video call together and decorate it extensively. Maybe there is a motto according to which the room can be designed? A special costume or face painting? Maybe cuddly toys can add a few seats to the birthday party? Or do you join the costume party as parents and dress up together?
Also, provide tasty snacks, cakes and drinks so that the birthday child can lounge in front of the screen (once a year, cake crumbs on the sofa may be tolerable). Last but not least, check the connection and power supply and fix popular trip hazards such as cables to the floor with adhesive tape.
# 2 Ready, steady - planning is 1 and 0
On the day of the celebration, put the pizza in the oven while the kids in the living room go off to loud radio music is yesterday. In order for the children to interact with each other and have fun despite the spatial separation, you as parents have to think about the specific process in advance. First of all, the duration. Perhaps you have had experience with video conferencing in the home office yourself - at some point the air will simply be out. Therefore, do not budget a whole day for the birthday party, but only one or two hours. If the mood is good and the children are fit, you can always extend the party later.
Over time, the question of the suitable platform for the children's conference also arises. Please note that the free zoom version has a time limit of 45 minutes and that all parents would have to dial their children in one or two times during the celebration. To avoid this organizational effort, you can get a premium account that guarantees unlimited talk time for all participants. If you have a small number of guests, you can also use other providers such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Cisco Webex. Since not every service can be used without registration, you should ask all parents to create an account in good time so that there are no delays on the day of the celebration. You will find a clear comparison as well as the requirements of the providers here.
Also, when you start the video call, be sure to switch to the grid view and ask each guest's parents to do the same. This ensures that all participants are shown on the screen at the same time, regardless of who is speaking.
# 3 Turn on Notifications - There is another way to send invitations
In order to communicate the date, time, duration and platform, a beautifully designed birthday invitation is of course required. You and your child can either write these by hand in the traditional way or - based entirely on the digital birthday - create and send them online. Providers like Canva offer colorful templates with lots of design options, to which you can add photos, animations and even music. Of course, you can also just send a personal video invitation with your mobile phone. Sending by email also avoids the invitations getting lost in the depths of the satchel.
# 4 Level up - More options thanks to the party kit
In order to not only entertain the children during the birthday party, but also to let them get active, all guests can be provided with a lovingly equipped party kit in advance. It is best to wait until the day before the party before the delivery and write down the date and start time on a separate piece of paper, so the online appointment is guaranteed not to slip through anyone.
At the beginning of the party, all children can unpack the party kit in front of the camera at the same time - a great icebreaker! A bag of confetti, a party hat and a few sweets later it seems as if the guests and the birthday boy are sitting in the same room and the party can start!
You can also use the party kit to provide all children with materials for playing games together. We present our seven favorites in the next tip.
# 5 Rethinking online gaming - games for BEFORE the screen
Make up and cut grimaces
At the beginning of the video call, get the mood right by adding a small makeup kit to every party kit. In front of the cameras, the children can give themselves freaky face paints, which can either be invented or designed according to a given motto (this can be communicated in advance on the invitation so that everyone appears in the appropriate costume). Finally, let each child pull a crazy grimace one after the other and let the group vote on the best performance. As a parent, play the applause meter. The children applaud and the grimace that makes the most noise wins!
Who am I?
This party classic is suitable for children from the age of six and is also great for video conferencing. You need to prepare the following for this: First ask your child about heroes, villains and animals from favorite films, series and books and collect as many characters as guests are invited. These are to be guessed later by the children through questions. This ensures that every child knows the card to be guessed. Do not despair if you have no idea who Sven, Onchao or Gorgo the eagle are, luckily you don’t have to guess.
Simply use the Google image search and print out each character clearly visible on white, reinforced paper. A picture makes guessing a lot easier, as reading names may not always work smoothly depending on your age group and internet connection. Cut out the cards and, with the help of an elastic band and a stapler, make a practical headdress in a few simple steps, which makes it much easier to carry the cards. Tip: If you have bought plastic hairbands in packs of 1000 in the past, which are now scattered around as dangerous mines, these can also be converted into card holders with a little dexterity.
To ensure that the card to be guessed remains secret for each child, simply put it in a small bag and ask the parents to assist the children in affixing the party kit when unpacking the party kit. In addition, the adults should hide the self-view in the video chat. This means that nobody can see their own card in the video window.
In turn, each child can now ask questions in order to guess the character on their forehead (“Am I an animal?” / “Do I wear glasses?”). Everyone can answer, but only with “yes” or “no”. With the first one can continue guessing, otherwise it is the next child's turn.
This game is led by the birthday child at the beginning, who, depending on the level of difficulty, holds 8-15 objects one after the other in the camera. After all guests have had some time to memorize the objects, the round is repeated, this time with one less object. Let the group consider what is missing and stop the time until the puzzle is solved. In this way you avoid a winner-loser situation and strengthen the group spirit of everyone involved. The management of the game can of course change at any time, as long as there are enough objects in the room.
This game can easily be converted into a variation of “I'm packing my suitcase”. For this, objects are shown one after the other - "I pack my suitcase and take with me: a pen, a cuddly toy, a hair tie, a piece of candy ..." - and should be placed next to each other on the floor by the child in charge of the game. The group then repeats the sequence orally. If the birthday party is a bit more youthful, the level of difficulty can also be increased and the enumeration can be done verbally and one after the other.
Whether bracelets, coloring sheets or clay figures - doing handicrafts together is a great way to let children interact with each other from a distance. Depending on your age, you can either let the group tinker with you for 15 to 20 minutes or you can make a little race out of it. You enter a term - for example an animal, object or the name of a person - and then give the children a minute to design something from Lego, plasticine or with pen and paper. As with cutting grimaces, you can vote again using the applauseometer. Have each child hold the result of the handicraft activity in the camera, CHEESE and - screenshot!
This variation on “I see what you don't see” requires both focus and speed and is fantastic for large groups. You or the game leader name a color at random. Everyone else has to find an object of that color in their own room (or their entire home) as soon as possible. Whoever holds the find in the camera first wins. To keep it exciting, other categories can also be introduced, such as shapes or materials.
Play, pause, play
When it comes to party games at a digital birthday party, you don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. The good old stop dance works great on the whole via video call. Just let the music play loudly in the background while the children fidget in front of the cameras. If you pause, everyone in the movement must freeze until the song starts playing again.
Of course, the sound quality is not optimal and wobbles cannot (and must) be distinguished from time delays when the music stops, because after all, it's all about having fun and getting the kids to move around in front of the screens.
Playfully close learning gaps with scoyo:
# 6 Quick Assistance - get support
If your head is spinning with all the preparations, or if you simply don't have the time, planning a digital birthday can be made a lot easier with a little help from outside. You don't have to spend a fortune à la “My Super Sweet 16” for this. Party planners like that Event agent offer an affordable and comprehensive concept specially made for digital birthdays. With the purchase of the package you will receive, among other things, time and sequence plans, checklists, forms for invitations, games and handicraft ideas, shopping lists, cake recipes and much more. The time and energy that you save in planning can then be used in a relaxed manner for the actual birthday party. Hipp Hipp Hurray!
# 7 First, let me take a screenshot - capture memories
As with other celebrations, you should capture particularly beautiful moments of the party. In this case you don't even need a camera, just the key combination SHIFT + Command + 3 (with Apple) or the Print key (with Windows). You can later send the captured screenshots to everyone by email and stick them in the family album. So this very special birthday party will definitely be remembered!
About the author:
Mirjam Olga Strzata is a media worker with many siblings and, as a freelance editor, prefers to deal with lifestyle topics.
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