Who would have ever thought a virtual birthday party would become the “in” thing? Not just that, a necessity for many.
Now while it can’t replace entirely good times with your friends in real life, a Zoom birthday party can be a pretty good substitute for your tweens to still connect with each other for special occasions.
Here is exactly how to pull off a Zoom birthday party with your tweens:
Getting the tech right – hosting your first online birthday party
We can’t stress how important the setup part of this is! Without clear instructions, it can quickly descend into chaos.
Decide on your tech platform for hosting the party
In our instance, we used Zoom as all the parents were familiar with this platform and the entry-level product is free of charge for up to 100 participants for 40 minutes.
There are alternatives to Zoom! You can also try apps or free online programs such as Hosue Party, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype. Each has different limits and capabilities for hosting group sessions without charge, so work out the best platforms for your needs.
Limit your numbers
As fun as it can be to get the whole class involved, it certainly becomes more difficult to control. We suggest from 4 to 12 guests is a good, manageable number for an online tween birthday.
Send clear invite instructions
- Make sure your attendees know how to use the technology before you start. A good idea can be if the parents quickly jump on a meeting the night before to test how it works before jumping straight into the party.
- In your invite not only specify the start time but expected length of the call, how they will dial in and in case parents are unfamiliar with the platform you are using some simple instructions how to connect their device including mute/unmute button and how to add their name.
- Give parents reassurance that the party will be fully supervised on your end.
- Provide a list of any materials guests might need – make sure if you are going to play any games (more below!) that all participants have the materials they need to hand.
Getting ready for your virtual Zoom birthday party
Make sure in the hour before your party is due to begin:
- Your internet connection is working.
- Your “meeting” is set up on your laptop or computer ready to go.
- Decorate the background of your room for some fun.
- Make sure you are in a well-lit position of the house.
- You have materials ready for any games.
- Send parents a last-minute reminder to parents with the login link and any passwords.
- Keep another device spare that’s NOT being used for the call so you can answer any connection questions or concerns.
Remember the birthday celebrant will be on camera, so no excuse to not to get prettied up still! In fact, why not make it a dress-up theme? Or if it’s in the evening, all dress up in your favourite PJ’s?
As a party guest, it can be fun to also put up some party banners and decorations in your room.
For all participants, make sure the room is cleared of other background noises and distractions (including uninvited siblings!) and that everyone can hear properly. Headphones can be helpful if there’s any background noise.
Let the party begin!
It will likely take a few minutes to get everyone online with sound working, check for video cameras on and microphones unmuted. Make sure everyone has been introduced especially if there’s anyone new to the friendship group.
Remember you can mute all participants as the host if you need to speak or give instructions.
Party games to play at your tweens Virtual Birthday Party
There are plenty of games that can still work well with tweens while you are online, but just make sure everyone has a good connection and doesn’t miss out on any instructions
(Using the thumbs up emoji under “reactions” on the bottom of your screen is a great way to check if everyone is hearing you OK)
Would you rather
This is a great one to break the ice and get the giggles started (though can also turn rude and ridiculous pretty fast!). It’s best to have a few starter questions up your sleeve as the host, then if the kids are feeling brave go around and ask each guest to come up with their own question for the group.
The great thing is you don’t need to be point scoring or competitive for this, just a bit of fun to kick the party off
Never have I ever
Now it’s time to learn a little more about your guests. You don’t need the official game set for everyone to join in with this one online. Come up with your questions beforehand and ask your guests to hold up “I have” or “I have not” pieces of paper to the camera.
(Just remember if you are buying the cards for this game to pick the FAMILY edition!! The Adult version is hilarious too but not for a tween party!!!
Time to get your guests active by looking for something in the room. Keep the challenges easy as you don’t want people disappearing off camera for minutes at a time, but hard enough they can’t reach it from where their sitting!
Some ideas include, “Find me something….”
- You can’t sleep without
- You bought with your own money
- Fluffy or furry
- That you’d never be caught wearing to a party
True or false
Have kids draw up two cards “true” and “false” and they each go around the world and need to give a statement about themselves. The other kids need to guess if the statement is true or false. 1 point for a correct answer or 0 points if you get it wrong.
Name that tune
Play the first few bars of a song then fastest hand first to name the tune on their paper wins!
This one needs a little more preparation as all your guests will need some marshmallows! The objective of the game is simple, the results can be hilarious.
You need to try and say “fluffy bunny” with a marshmallow in your mouth. Then add another, each person takes their turn. The game keeps going until your mouth is too stuffed to say it again, then that player is eliminated. How many rounds can you go?
This will again need a little preparation to make sure each of your guests has the right equipment to hand but it’s a pretty simple one to execute – you will need a packet of cookies.
Simply start with the cookie on your forehead and the first one to use their facial muscles to wiggle it down to their mouth and eat it wins! Be prepared for plenty of crumbs…
Your guests may need some prompter cards in advance for this, or the creative can make them up as they go. Divide your guests into teams and let’s see how many classic charades games they can guess!
The finishing touches for your virtual birthday party
Of course, no party is complete without a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung to the celebrant. You may not be able to enjoy virtual cake but your birthday tween can certainly blow out their candles with everyone still.
* As a special birthday surprise, have each guest prepare one word to hold up at the end of the party to describe their friend then capture a screenshot of all the partygoers as a keepsake from this unique time in our lives when only virtual parties may be possible.
Do you have any more virtual party ideas that have worked well with your tweens? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.