Lately, it seems like the news has been more and more terrible. With in-person events indefinitely postponed, sports seasons called off, the curtains drawn on school plays and dance recitals, and many schools staying closed for the rest of the school year, some might feel like canceling all celebrations, period—including those that mark personal milestones and achievements. But in a way, celebrations are needed now more than ever to lift kids’ spirits and give them hope for a brighter tomorrow.
And when we take the time to focus on family, friendship, love, and accomplishments—even when we can’t be together in all the ways we’d like to be or can’t celebrate with the same activities we might have planned on—we’re showing our kids how to make their own fun and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So you’re not just creating special memories with your girl, you’re teaching her life skills that will help her through ups and downs for years to come.
Here are a few ideas to get you in the party spirit, whether it’s your kid’s birthday or your own, graduation, or an anniversary.
Get Out of Town (Even When You Can’t)
With a little imagination and the help of a printer or a few simple art supplies, you and your family can transform your home into just about anywhere you might like to have your party. Wish you could be at your girl’s favorite theme park? Post pictures of her favorite characters around the house, prepare amusement-park-type food and play music or movies that go with the theme. Hoped to visit another country for your celebration? Use construction paper or cut up old boxes to create miniature versions of famous landmarks (think Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, etc.), try a recipe from that part of the world, and practice a few phrases in the language spoken there if you’re not already fluent.
Help Her Find the Love
If your girl is celebrating a milestone or achievement while you’re at home, ask friends and family members to write cards and letters to her and send them to you in advance. Then, the night before her big day, hide them around the house and give her a “treasure map” in the morning that helps her find all the messages of love and support. It’s a special way to include loved ones outside your household, and the notes and cards will make a wonderful keepsake she’ll look back on for years to come.
Host a Photo Scavenger Hunt
Get everybody outside, and spark some healthy competition while you’re at it. Make a list of 10-20 things you might see on any neighborhood walk (like a blue car, a pigeon, a fire hydrant, etc.), and then send it to a few other families, challenging them to a photo scavenger hunt. Everyone will go for a walk in their neighborhoods at the same time, and whoever sends photos of the items from the list to the group first wins bragging rights.
Spread the Good Will
If your friends and loved ones have the means, you may want to consider asking them to celebrate with you by donating to a cause that you or your girl feels passionate about. But money isn’t the only way to make a difference. Suggesting they write to or call government officials in support of that same cause is a powerful, free way to join forces for good and celebrate a big day.