My youngest son recently celebrated his 6th birthday. We had been planning a trip to Legoland, California to celebrate but COVID-19 disrupted that plan. I felt bad for my little boy who had been looking forward to his big birthday celebration for months. He took the news really well, but my mama heart still felt bad that he didn’t get the trip we were planning on.
Since our plans had to be changed, I decided to get on board with the Zoom birthday idea. I thought it would be fun for him to see some friends sing “Happy Birthday” along with us at home. Having never hosted a Zoom birthday or Zoom group meeting for that matter, I googled it for tips and ideas. Most of the ideas I found were for adults. After researching and consulting with my husband (who leads Zoom meetings at work almost daily) I came up with the following plan for a Zoom birthday for young children.
- Create a free Zoom account
- Set up a meeting (party) – we made ours password protected with a waiting room for security purposes
- Send the meeting (party) invitation & password to guests via email
- Send a reminder email with a meeting (party) agenda to guests the day before the meeting (party)
- Decorate the space for our family and see where to place the laptop and cake (see feature image)
- Practice how it might go with our family and kiddos
Below is the meeting (party) agenda that I sent the day beforehand. It’s really long and I felt a little silly doing it but E insisted that if I didn’t set a very specific agenda it could easily dissolve into chaos.
We are looking forward to seeing your faces tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm Pacific Time to celebrate B’s 6th birthday via Zoom. The idea of a group Zoom birthday is new to me. In an attempt to make things flow as smoothly as possible I wanted to let you all know what our plan is…
When everyone arrives at the meeting we will take a few minutes to “go around the room” and I will introduce everyone one at a time. I read that if you’ll kindly “mute” your microphone 🎤 when it’s not your turn that may be helpful.
When I introduce you, please wave 👋 for a little bit so everyone can find you and knows who you are!
After I introduce you, I’ll let B say “hi” and you can wish him a “happy birthday” 🎂. B has requested a penguin themed birthday, so if you happen to have anything that falls into that theme please have it ready for “show & tell”. If you don’t have anything penguin-ish you can briefly tell us about something fun you did this week. The goal is to let everyone who wants to talk (especially little ones) say something before I move on to the next guest. Depending on how many guests are able to attend, we will go faster or slower for this part. I will try and keep the “meeting” to about 30 minutes.
Once everyone has been introduced & had an opportunity to show & tell something penguin-y, we will count down and sing 🎶 “happy birthday”. Make sure your microphones 🎤 are on! There may be a slight delay as we light the candles on the cake so please bear with us.
I read that singing on Zoom can be tricky so we’ll try singing the song more slowly than it’s traditionally done. Fingers crossed 🤞🏻
I know it’s going to be close to bedtime for some of you, so after we sing I’ll let B say “bye” and “thank you” to everyone before we end the “meeting”.
Thank you again for helping us celebrate!
We are blessed to have amazing friends from coast to coast across America. We had Zoom birthday guests from California, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Tennessee and North Carolina. A total of 7 families joined our meeting. The youngest guest was 2 years old, the oldest guest was 13 (not including adults). Most kiddos were ages 3-10.
Our agenda went pretty well. I started by thanking everyone for coming and then went one by one introducing each guest. I started at the box at the top of the screen and worked my way down. For those of you unfamiliar with Zoom group meetings, the gallery view screen looks like the intro to The Brady Bunch tv show. Each family/device has a box on the screen, the more participants, the smaller the boxes. The screen looks something like the gallery of photos below.
B helped facilitate by saying “hi [insert name]” to each guest individually and asking if they had something for show & tell. Our awesome friends showed us cool penguin stuffies, books and clothes! The meeting lasted about 15 minutes from start to finish. I probably could’ve spent a bit more time with each guest but I was super nervous (which always makes me rush) and the guests at the end had been waiting for 10 minutes to say anything. So in the end, even though it was short, it was probably the best we could manage with a Zoom party. It definitely made me miss all our friends and wish I could’ve seen them all at our house! B was super excited to see his friends and have them all participate in his special day and sing to him!
We forgot to take a screenshot of everyone at the meeting before we ended it so that is our biggest faux pas with the whole thing. That and I completely forgot to introduce my parents who were physically in the room with us but not in a box on the screen! Did I mention that I was really nervous 😬!?! Aye Yai Yai!
I hope our Zoom birthday party experience helps you in planning your own Zoom party! Thank you for following us or stopping by for a visit!
🎈Have you hosted or attended a Zoom party during this pandemic? How was your experience?