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A Different Approach to Birthday Parties

Over the past few months, we’ve all had to make significant changes to the way that we do things. From working to grocery shopping, so many standard activities must now be approached a bit differently. Even events like birthday parties have had to undergo changes, and in order to safeguard the health and safety of our friends and loved ones, we at the CMB are unable to host birthday parties for the time being.

However, alternative solutions are out there! Jennifer McCaul, a writer and friend of the museum, was kind enough to give us a fresh perspective on how to approach this birthday party conundrum:

Throwing Your Child A Memorable Party In Difficult Times

Children who may have dreamed of celebrating their birthday at the Children’s Museum of Brownsville may be a little disappointed this year, considering the fact that the Museum and many other celebration spots have closed down. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott recently warned the public that the health crisis has taken “a swift” turn, and this means that many aspects of daily life – including celebration – will need to adapt to the current times. It can be a little difficult for parents to decide what type of a celebration to hold, since health officials are continuing to ask the public to support social distancing measures. As stated by New York University Professor, Danielle Ompad, however, “Social distancing does not mean social isolation.” These are just a few ideas you might consider when planning your child’s upcoming birthday.


Throwing An Online Party

The internet has been a true lifesaver for many people during the health crisis – especially those who are alone. However, it has been tough for little ones, too, many of whom miss interacting with their schoolmates and friends. Children who have a chronic condition such as asthma should ideally stay home if they can, but this doesn’t mean they can’t have a fun party. Ideas include calling a caterer and asking them to deliver goods (think children’s favorite sweets, as well as sandwiches, wraps, and of course, cake) to a small list of friends. Children can then go online on Skype or Zoom and sing songs, do some online dancing, or (in the case of older kids) engage in a group Minecraft or Roblox game. Afterwards, everyone can enjoy the treats and sing happy birthday to your child, clapping after they see their good friend blow out this year’s candle.


A Small Garden Party At Home

Provided lockdown measures permit, you could opt to have a small gathering in which social distancing measures are respected. You can lower viral infection risks by cleaning assiduously. Use a disinfectant to kill viruses on doorknobs, tabletops, faucets, tables, chairs, and any surface you think your guests might use. Try to hold the party in the garden, since indoor spaces are more dangerous than outdoor ones. Place tables at a convenient distance from each other. For kids, draw hearts or circles with chalk, so they can stand within these spaces while dancing, singing, and the like. Embrace games that permit social distancing: charades, for instance, can be played even though kids are standing or sitting at their respective tables or in their designated spots in the yard. Instead of blowing out candles, use a hand fan and ensure that anyone handling food is wearing a mask and gloves.


Make It A Family Affair

Older children may simply enjoy a special meal at home with their siblings and parents. There are many ways you can make this day wonderful, even when the only guests are home dwellers. For instance, you might make a cute video celebrating your child’s life, editing it online and presenting it via a projector with all the lights down low. You should also decorate the space, using balloons and decorative string and paper to add a festive tone to the occasion. Prepare not just one but several of your child’s favorite foods, and make sure there is birthday cake. Have everyone in the family write a card and tell each other why the celebrant is so special to each of you.


Depending on where you are and on the state of health of your family members, a birthday party in the presence of friends may be impossible this year. However, there are many ways you can still make it a joyous occasion – by throwing a virtual party or keeping it in the family, for instance. If you have friends over, the occasion should be small, and cleanliness will have to be a prime consideration. Whatever you do, remember that a birthday is always a special and beautiful day – even in the toughest of times.

We’d like to thank Jennifer for providing us with her insightful suggestions, and we certainly hope that they can inspire some of you to look into taking creative new approaches to your own safe and fun birthday celebrations!