It can be tough when a special day comes along and you’d like to celebrate, but are in isolation and social distancing. Never fear! I have some great ideas for you to be able to enjoy those occasions, from adult’s birthdays spent with friends, to exciting children’s parties which will banish those tears and give them a day to remember. My sister in law had her wedding party on Zoom, so if she can be a virtual bride, many other celebrations you have coming up should be a piece of cake!
Live Virtual Party:
I’ve had three Facebook parties since lock down began and they were a blast. I set up a bar in my kitchen and hung a bunch of fairy lights up and played my stereo loud. This is an easy one. Just invite some friends to a group on facebook, let them know when the party is starting and say hi to people when they arrive. This was great for us adults. We were happy to be on show but everyone else was hidden and could contribute in the comments with text, pictures and video of them dancing along and having fun. We were able to say hi and give them a wave as we saw them pop up. It’s not what I’d necessarily want to do for my birthday but it was a fun way to get together for a Saturday night out!
As I mentioned my sister in law had her wedding reception on Zoom and it seems to be the platform that has really taken off. Its basically a video conferencing app that allows chat and messaging between a group of people – up to 80 in fact. Its brilliant for small groups of people if you want to actual have a conversation but it’s not ideal for big groups wanting to chat. I recommend using it for a music party because you can easily mute all your friends and play some music for them through your speakers. The advantage of this over Facebook is that you can see all their faces and dance moves. Zoom is also great for quizzes and bingo games and you can get pretty creative and do quizzes about the host, musical bingo etc.
Houseparty, Hangouts, Facetime and Messenger also have group chat capabilities but I’ve found them best for small group chats.
Watch a movie together! Make a den in the living room and set your kid (ahem, I did this for my adult self) up all cosy and start a watch party, stream a favourite film or box set to view at exactly the same time as your friends. If your kids friends live nearby perhaps drop around a goodie bag with some popcorn and party hats and all sit down and watch whatever they are into. NetflixParty is a chrome extension that allows you to watch a movie with friends and comment in a chatroom as the film goes along. It’s great and has taken off in a big way (useless if your friends don’t use chrome) Another service which works on all browsers is TwoSeven which allows you to stream from a heap of places: Vimeo, Netflix, Now, Hulu, Youtube, Disney and Prime amongst others it also works with webcam so you can catch everyone’s reactions whilst enjoying the movie
Make your party special by sending out invites. It makes sense to send them out virtually but make a thing of it. It will help build up the excitement for your kid if they can make invites. You can get them to design something, take a picture and upload it. I like to use Canva’s free and simple to use editing tool to make images look lovely, give it a try.
Get Crafty – Missing your friends, blow up some balloons and draw faces on them, give them hair and make them look like your pals, your kid is going to love this one.
I don’t know what kind of kids party doesn’t have a goodie bag but chances are your little ones friends live nearby. If you are permitted to go out for exersize it’s a great idea to deliver cake, little gifts, party hats to their party attendees in advance of the virtual gathering.
It’s all even easier if you are an adult, do all the same things – rediscover your inner child or if you are more civilised you could order the same wine and cheese and choose a chat service and have a tasting night. I had a virtual dinner party with some friends, I dropped around a main course for them to heat up at a certain time and picked up a dessert they had made, then we got dressed up, chilled the wine and hit Zoom.
However you choose to party – just make sure you do!