Guest Blog from Calderdale Mumbler & Harrogate Mumbler
Toddler Mumbler turned two during the first lockdown. Having no idea what birthday are usually like, she was delighted with her new toys and pleased as punch to be at home to play with them.
But her older siblings felt bad she couldn’t have a proper party, and went all out to make her day as special as possible. It brought out the best in all of them – except the overtired birthday girl – and it was lovely to see them band together to make decorations and play party games.
If your household has a birthday coming up, here’s some celebration inspiration – all perfect to enjoy at home!
Details subject to change, check directly with providers using the links below for latest updates.
🎂Food & Drink🎂
Serve birthday cake for breakfast Our tradition is that the birthday child gets a small cake in the shape of their new age for breakfast, but I think any kind of cake would be a winner!
Make a den and eat a picnic lunch in it We let the kids have a special picnic lunch in a den they quickly threw together. We kept it super simple and filled an empty cupcake tin with chicken nuggets, veggie sticks and fruit, but you could do anything you like.
Have a fancy tea You could do an afternoon tea, order in a takeaway, or cook something special that the birthday child loves.
🍰 Click here for a bumper list of 20+ suppliers in & around Gateshead offering afternoon tea and treats with takeaway and delivery options.
Make a cake together Kids love baking, so why not put them in charge of their own birthday cake? You could bake it together on the day, stick with a theme or just pile on the sweets and sprinkles!
Make some mocktails Even juice in fancy glasses feels special to kids, and you could jazz it up with umbrellas or cherries if you have any, or cut up fruit slices and dip the rim of the glass in sugar.
Video messages and virtual parties Ask family members to record birthday video messages and send them to play on the day, or emails. Maybe classmates could record special messages? We hosted a Zoom call for our families to dial in and see the birthday girl blow out her candles. It was a bit stressful to coordinate, but it was lovely to hear everyone singing Happy Birthday and have a chat. You could have a virtual party (with party clothes and dancing!) and keep the fun going a lot longer! There’s more info on apps that could come in handy for socialising here.
Take a Virtual Day Trip Have you tried a virtual trip yet? You can choose from Disney World and world-class zoos & museums. Have a look here for inspiration and handy links.
Put down your phone My aim was to put down my phone for the whole day and just play solidly with the kids. It didn’t quite work out like that, but the technology-free time was really special and the kids respond really well to it.
🎨Decorations & Crafts🎨
Ask the children to make decorations My heart melted to see my bigger kids making their little sister decorations such as wrapping paper, banners and huge number “2” posters. I was so proud of them when I realised what they were doing and the excitement built up for the whole week while they were preparing. Other decorations might include paper chains, bunting, banners, or paint rocks from the garden.
Balloons Fill your house with balloons! Kids can’t get enough of balloons and they make great props for party games later. A friend fills her kids’ bedrooms with balloons on their birthdays and it always looks so much fun.
🎈Here’s a few handy links for local suppliers that offer delivery or collection.
Clarke Gifts (Whickham) – personalised gifts and balloons for all occasions. ‘Click and collect’ service via appointment or contactless delivery within 5 mile radius of Whickham.
Flash – Comedy & Magic – a huge range of character balloons, and birthday balloon hats! Free delivery within Tyne & Wear and County Durham on orders over £25.
Very Important Parties (Consett) – balloons for all occasions! Contactless delivery available all over the North East (free delivery in the Consett/Stanley area, charges apply further afield).
Make a train out of cardboard boxes Chances are you’ve probably received a few deliveries in the run-up to a birthday, you can use the boxes to build a train or car. Even better if you have a box big enough for the kids to sit in – it can keep them happy for hours!
Create a memory jar or time capsule You won’t have many birthdays like this one (hopefully!), so it would be great to remember the day properly in years to come. You could write down special memories of the day and pop them in a jar, or make a time capsule with newspaper cuttings, photos, lists of how you celebrated, etc.
Delegate! Get the birthday girl/boy involved in the planning – if they want burgers for tea, do it, if they want sweets for breakfast do it! It might take some planning, so even if its a few weeks away its probably an idea to start sourcing all the ingredient now! Let them plan the whole day. Play games all day, do whatever they want to do – let them take the lead, they’ll love having control over their own special day.
🎶Games & Activities🎶
Assault course/garden games We don’t have a garden so our partying took place indoors. Mr Mumbler set up an assault course with burning lava to jump over in the hall, a bowling challenge, limbo in the doorway, bouncing balloons on towels to hit the ceiling and precariously balanced toys to crawl underneath.
Paint faces and wear fancy dress Get out the dressing up box and let the kids go wild. Let them dress you up if you’re feeling brave!
Have a disco Do you have a karaoke machine? Plug it in and have your own disco. Lava lamps and glow sticks add extra fun!
Run a special bath We always do birthday baths with glow sticks in, but you could add flower petals, bath bombs, loads of bubbles, bath paints etc.
Set up a pamper station Depending on what you have at home, you can make face scrubs, face masks, foot soaks and do each other’s nails. Simple ideas include mixing half an avocado and two teaspoons of honey together for a face mask (or just honey will do!), soaking your feet in warm milk (add rose petals if you have some) and slices of cool cucumber on your eyes.
Have a sleepover You could set up cosy dens in the lounge, or pitch a tent in their bedroom.
🎪SlumberKidz are offering DIY set ups of bespoke, handmade teepees for Slumber Parties, plus Cinema Parties.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started!
Pin the tail on the donkey: A great one to play at home with the family. The kids could draw their own donkey or colour-in a template as an extra activity first.
Musical statues: We played this as a Zoom party and it worked really well. Everyone had some treats to hand out if their child was the winner.
Treasure Hunt: There’s nothing better than a scavenger hunt around the house! In fact it’s another one, that with a bit of planning, can be done over Zoom! Hide clues around the house (and get Zoom players to hide clues in their houses) and solve the clues together to win a treat.
Laser Quest at home: Convert your hallway into the ultimate Laser quest by pinning “lasers” across the room – by lasers I mean ribbon or tape! Then time the kids as they make their way through – adding a few extra seconds for every time they hit a laser!
Pass the Parcel: A golden oldie. Play it at home with family members or even with all your child’s dolls and teddy bears. Pass the Parcel via Zoom even works well! Each household needs a parcel, then it’s passed from one household to the other (ie hidden by the adults till its their turn again!). Everyone can get a chance to open a layer with a little sweet – with a special birthday treat at the end.
Make your own Piñata: Another art lesson come party prep and will also keep the kids entertained for a good while! Paper mâché a ballon, pop balloon, paint the paper mâché then fill with sweets – simple! Then fun for all the family trying to bash it open!
Spot the difference: Another golden oldie we used to play when I was little. This is a great one to play at home or easily done over Zoom. Lay out a tray with 10 or so household objects. Blindfold the child then remove one. If they remember which one is missing then they get a treat.
The chocolate bar game: One to play at home with the family – but could also be very easily done over Zoom! So you all line up in row, first child gets to roll a dice – once they roll a 6 they then have to put on a hat and gloves and attempt to open and eat as much chocolate (think large bar of choc) as possible, BUT you can’t use your fingers – you have to use a knife and fork – and you can only eat one piece at a time. And whilst you’re taking your turn, the next person in line is rolling the dice until they get a 6 for their turn.
Play Doh modelling: We did this last night on a virtual quiz with some of our friends and it was brilliant fun! Really simple, describe an object – then everyone not only has to guess what the object is but then make it out of play doh! Great fun, coming from someone who HATES Play Doh!
🥳Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a wonderful celebration!
Thanks so much to our guest bloggers, Charlotte-Calderdale Mumbler and the team at Harrogate Mumbler. If you have family or friends in the area be sure to let them know about the Calderdale Mumbler site and the Harrogate Mumbler site.