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10+ Ideas to Celebrate a Birthday at Home or with Family

Birthday Social Distancing

Birthdays are my favorite! I love the idea that for one specific day the birthday boy or birthday girl gets to feel like they are the center of attention. While the “traditional” kids birthday celebration is a party with friends, throwing a birthday party definitely isn’t the only way to celebrate a birthday. In fact, some of my boys’ favorite birthday memories are the things we’ve done as a family.

Maybe you just moved somewhere new and don’t know many people. Maybe your child isn’t interested in having a party. Maybe a full blown birthday bash is out of your budget. Maybe you’re still social distancing or have a child with medical needs. Maybe you just don’t do kids birthday parties. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of ways you can plan a special day(s) and make it a birthday to remember.

🎉 If you ARE having a party, don’t miss our full Birthday Party Guide to help you plan the best birthday in Lakeland and Polk County including Birthday Party Venues, Birthday Entertainment, Free Birthday Locations, and more! 🎉

Check out this list of ideas to create a great day for the birthday girl or boy. Themed birthday party ideas at home, virtual party options, and more. While we wrote this with kids in mind {and back when we were doing social distancing birthdays}, many of the ideas below also work for celebrating an adult’s birthday at home.

Birthday Ideas at Home

1. Host your own Themed Party

Throw a birthday party at home just for the family, complete with a birthday cake, party favors and party decorations. A few fun themes:

  • Movie Theater – Close all curtains to make the room dark, make popcorn for everyone, provide everyone a box of candy. Pick a favorite movie OR find something new to watch.
  • Slumber Party – Make a fort in the family room, camp in a tent in the backyard, or just a traditional slumber party on the floor, with parents and siblings as the guests.
  • Craft-o-rama – Get out ALL of the crafting and coloring supplies and have everyone make their own creation.
  • Day Spa – Treat the birthday child to a wash and blow dry, pedicure, manicure, massage, or facial during their very own spa day at home.
  • Arcade – If you have a WiiU or other gaming system set up for multi-player, get everyone involved in a video game competition.
  • Dance Party – Bust out the Christmas lights, turn off the overhead lights, find or create an upbeat playlist, put on a costume or crazy outfit (hello 80’s!) and bust a move. Use YouTube to come up with new moves.
  • Board Games – Let the birthday child pick the games OR have everyone in the family pick out their favorite game and set aside a few hours for family fun and a marathon game night.
  • Outdoor Fun – Play a family game of basketball / soccer / baseball / kickball, have a family water balloon fight, or pull out those random yard toys you might not use on a regular basis (hello bocce ball set). Rent a bounce house or water slide – fun the whole family can enjoy! Use our Birthday Party Directory to find a local rental company.

2. Decorate like crazy!

  • Once the birthday child is asleep the night before their birthday, start the decorating!
  • Decorate their Bedroom Door – Streamers, pictures, posterboard, post it notes, use whatever you can find at home or pick up at the store.
  • Use paper or posterboard to make signs to spread around the house
  • Cover their bedroom floor with balloons – One of our birthday traditions for many years was to cover the birthday boy’s bedroom floor with balloons. {This did require my husband and I to spend a bit of time blowing them up… } They always have fun playing balloon volleyball and other games with them.

3. Do all of their favorite things

  • Favorite breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Favorite indoor activity
  • Favorite outdoor activity
  • Favorite movie
  • Favorite family game

4. Have a YES day

Ice cream for breakfast? Yes!
Pajamas all day? Yes!
Spend the day building LEGOs? Yes!
Say yes to everything you can today (within reason)

5. Go somewhere fun as a family or just one-on-one

This is my favorite birthday activity – we’ve spent more than one birthday at Universal Studios in lieu of a birthday party. There are also plenty of places you can go locally as a family to have a memorable day together – Family Fun Center, mini golf, ice skating, bowling, ax throwing, airboat rides, etc. Your kids will love it when you do all the “kid” things with them! Check out the full list in our Indoor Fun Guide and Outdoor Fun Guide.

6. Plan a Special Birthday Dinner

Do you usually go out to eat for a birthday dinner? We do! Find a themed restaurant or new dining adventure to celebrate a birthday. Growing up I loved to go to the hibachi grill and watch them cook right in front of me.

For an extra special birthday, readers recommend driving up towards Orlando to go to Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex Cafe in the Disney area.

7. Chalk + Yard Messages

Create chalk artwork or messages along the sidewalk or in the driveway. Put up birthday signs all over the yard letting everyone know there is a birthday at your house! Sign Gypsies Lakeland can also help with the birthday decorations – order a huge personalized Happy Birthday sign to be displayed in your yard! See photos, get details and pricing on their website.

8. Neighborhood Birthday Wishes

If you live in a neighborhood that would participate, ask your neighbors to leave chalk messages on the sidewalk or driveway, or create a sign for their front window. Then you can take a walk and see all of the birthday wishes!

9. Make a Present Scavenger Hunt

  • Create a scavenger hunt to find presents hidden around the house.
  • Need gift ideas that are also boredom busters? Check our list of 100+ things to do at home for plenty of ideas and links to gift ideas on Amazon.

10. Zoom / Facetime / Videos

  • Have family that lives far away? Plan a virtual birthday party! Set up a Zoom call with family and friends so they can sing Happy Birthday all at once.
  • Schedule video calls throughout the day with friends, family, classmates, neighbors, etc.
  • Ask friends and family to record a short birthday message or singing Happy Birthday and send it to you.

Whatever you do to celebrate, we wish you a great birthday!

Birthdays + Special Events Guide

Check out our Special Events Guide for Lakeland + Polk County to find Birthday Party Venues, Rental Spaces, Banquet Halls, Restaurants with Private Party Rooms, Park + Playground Rentals, Birthday Freebies, and more.