This year we had to adjust the birthday party to fit the times aka Coronavirus social distancing and living life on Zoom! My older son turned 8, and since his favorite pastime during the stay at home orders has been playing Roblox with his friends online, it made perfect sense to center the celebration on his favorite game.
I actually did an interview for work with Roblox and so I got some tips about hosting a virtual shin dig on their platform, things like signing up for a private VIP server and carry out that theme for the online party.
If you’re a parent to an elementary aged or middle school aged child, chances are you know all about Roblox. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the best way for me to explain it is that it’s the YouTube of online games. Just like how YouTube is a world filled with millions of user-generated videos, Roblox is filled with countless user generated games, and in my son’s case, his favorite is called Jailbreak.
Once the theme was in place, I created an invite to let all our friends know to save the date. Then, I doubled checked on securing the private VIP server, so that for the “party,” he would be able to play with just his friends. The other thing the kids love to do is also be on some type of video chat while they play the game so they can keep talking and find each other and strategize, while they play. So, I decided to use Google Meet (no time limit), as the link where we would gather to say hello and have cake. Then, I sent out his username for Roblox, asked the guests who would participate for their usernames and also sent the link to the private server!
One thing I wish I would’ve thought more out prior to the virtual party, was some group activities we could’ve done before he blew out his candles. We have now attended a few other birthdays online and the kids love some organized activities like scavenger hunts, trivia and games like pictionary or bingo! Also, if all your guests live nearby, you could put together goodie bags and distribute with “materials” for the virtual call – like balloons + decor, game pieces and cupcakes, etc… so everyone has what they need ready to go. One family dropped off a personal pizza for my son to enjoy for a virtual party! However, I do believe I scored by collecting short video greetings from our family and friends to edit together and show during the call.
All in all, it turned out great. Do be sure to decorate at home, it adds to the atmosphere and makes it more festive. I grabbed so items from the dollar store and it made for a great birthday backdrop. When it came to party time, he was all smiles and it was very heartwarming to see the greta turnout. It was super chaotic with all those kids on the virtual call, but it was all love, and I think it bothers me as an adult more than it does the kids…they are so unbothered! Hopefully next year we can get back to “normal” gatherings.