Lockdown Birthday Party Ideas for Older Kids

Kids have been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to quarantine. Not being able to go to school, see their friends, or participate in activities just plain sucks for tweens. After all, that’s their entire life! These lockdown birthday party ideas for older kids will at least help soften the blow if they happen to have theirs cancelled thanks to COVID-19.

Lockdown Birthday Party Ideas for Older Kids

For kids, birthday parties are a huge event. Chances are your tween had something special planned for their upcoming birthday. Maybe it was a sleepover, or a party at a venue like bowling or laser tag, or even just a get together with some friends. Whatever it was, it’s probably not happening now.

To make their lockdown birthday party special we’ve come up with a few ideas that tweens will love. 

Party in a box

For this tween lockdown birthday party, the parents put together a party box for each ‘guest’. Inside the boxes are a bunch of fun celebration accessories: things like party hats, noisemakers, and some accessories. Plus party treats like snacks and a cupcake each. You can also add a little goodie bag for the ‘guest’, too.

Parents then drop off the party box on the friends’ doorsteps. Everyone gets together on a video call (like Zoom) and celebrates at the same time. The kids can play games, chat, and then eat all at once.

Netflix watch party

This is a great substitute if your kid had hoped to do a birthday party at the movie theatre!  Take the party in the box idea, but include popcorn, soft drinks, and movie theatre snacks in your party box. Netflix has a watch party feature that lets everyone watch the same thing at the same time.

The best part? No one will get mad when the kids talk during the movie. Just make sure the tweens choose a movie that everyone’s allowed to watch. 

At-home slumber party

If your older kid was determined to have a sleepover birthday party, you can still make some of that happen in quarantine. Again, use the party box idea, but this time include popular sleepover items such as spa accessories (face masks are a great option here).

Start the party later into the evening and have everyone join a video call in their PJ’s. Let the tweens stay up late talking, just like a real sleepover. 

Have an in-game party

If your tween or teen likes playing online games, this is a fun way to celebrate with friends. Have everyone get on a call or the in-game voice chat and meet up in their favourite game. Popular options for this age group are Fortnite and Minecraft. Then they can either just hang out (in creative mode) or play together. 

If your older kids are into board games, there are also ways to play those online. If everyone has a copy of the tablet, PC, or game console versions of a game they can play like that. Or use something like Tabletopia to play tabletop games online.

Do the social distancing thing

If you’re allowed to in your area, it might be nice for older kids to actually see their friends while maintaining a physical distance. Tween and older kids are a lot better than little ones for following rules, which is nice.

Have an outdoor birthday meet up. If friends are in the neighbourhood, everyone can sit at the end of their driveway to chat and celebrate together. Otherwise, invite one or two friends to have a ‘hang out’ session where everyone stays outside and 6ft / 1.5m away from each other. 

Obviously, you should be cautious with something like this. But for kids who are desperately missing their friends, this might be a welcomed way to celebrate their birthday.

If that’s not an option, you could instead ask their friends to do a drive-by where they get to talk to each other from the yard into the car or ask all their friends to surprise them by leaving a balloon in the front yard with a card attached!

Go on an online tour together

If you’re a bit tech-savvy this can be a super fun way to get that ‘outing’ experience without leaving your house! A lot of places are offering online tours and exhibits to popular museums and centres. If your tween and their friends are into this stuff, why not turn it into a lockdown birthday party?

All you have to do is set up screen sharing. Then, load the exhibit on your end and invite the party guests to join in. Kids will get to see everything at the same time and discuss with each other. 

More tips for making a lockdown birthday party special for older kids

  • Make it feel like a party. Just because you have an older kid or tween doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate that party feeling. Decorate your home with balloons, streamers, banners, and other party favours.
  • Make arrangements with the guests’ parents beforehand. People have different schedules, even now. Find a time that works for your tween’s close friends and make arrangements with parents so any technology is in place beforehand.
  • Grab a few extra gifts for your kid. Birthdays aren’t only about the gifts, but not having any to open from your friends is just another reminder of all the bad things that have come with COVID-19 lockdowns. Pick up a few small gifts for your kid to open for a little extra fun. 
  • Do something special. If you can’t do much for your tween on their birthday, at least go out of your way to make the day special at home. Let them choose dinner delivery, make a special birthday breakfast, or have an at-home spa day. Anything out of the ordinary!
  • Take them out. In most places, restrictions are easing enough to allow families to do some activities. Get out of the house with your tween, hit up a drive-through, and go for a walk or drive. You could even drive by their friends’ houses, call from outside, and wave! 

Understand it might be hard for older kids and tweens

Don’t be surprised (or upset) if your tween isn’t too jazzed about the whole at-home party thing. All these life changes and restrictions are frustrating for kids. Do your best to make their birthday special, but also talk to them about their feelings. You can also channel some of that hurt into planning activities and get-togethers post lockdown.

Kids are craving normal and routine. These lockdown birthday party ideas for older kids might help them feel a bit better, and might even turn a ‘ruined’ birthday into a happy lockdown memory. 

Charmaine Chung
Charmaine Chung

Charmaine Chung is one half of the lady boss team behind Somewhere Between, a resource for super mamas everywhere raising kids in the feisty pre-teen and early teen years. Beginning her career in retail fashion, before moving onto the music industry, working for major record labels, Charmaine eventually moved from Sydney to Laos to follow her dreams of starting a family. Four kids and 14 years later, she’s back in Canberra where motherhood has won her over, leading her to develop Somewhere Between - for mums just like her - raising kids who are navigating that space between their childhood and teenage years.

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