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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Party Like It’s 2021

By Natalie Dal Pra

Birthday parties in 2021 may look a little different, but there are still plenty of ways to make the day special for your child. Whether your kiddo requests an epic outdoor bash or a chill night with the family, these creative ideas will help make it a milestone to remember. 

Movie Night Bring the magic of the theater into your home by setting up a portable movie projector and screen (a sheet works well in a pinch!), creating a cozy place to lounge, and loading up on lots of snacks. Cake pops or a candy station are easy options instead of a traditional birthday cake, and don’t forget the popcorn!

If your little one has a summer birthday, bring the fun outdoors with a movie night under the stars. 

Unicorn Soiree Unicorns have been a party staple for the last few years and continue to maintain their popularity with the younger set. A whimsical unicorn soiree doesn’t have to be complicated, either. You can often find decor featuring the magical creatures at the dollar store and Target. Add in a glittery backdrop and pastel-colored cups and plates to complete the look. Party games could include pin-the-tail-on-the-unicorn, unicorn ring toss, or build-your-own unicorn headbands.

Drive-Thru Birthday Parade You may think drive-by birthday parties are so 2020, but parades are still popular this year, especially for those who want to maintain social distance. The concept is simple: Friends and family take turns driving by your house with signs, balloons, gifts, and other surprises to help celebrate your child’s big day. Make the occasion even more fun by blasting kid-friendly tunes and decorating your yard. Considering how exciting a birthday parade is, this is one trend that could last way beyond the pandemic. 

Camp Out Night Sure, you could drag the family out into the wilderness for the weekend, but a camp-out at home can be just as fun (and the access to indoor plumbing is a huge plus!). Keep the birthday dinner easy by roasting hot dogs over a fire pit, passing out individual bags of chips, and enjoying everyone’s favorite camping treat, s’mores. Play backyard games like cornhole and badminton, and end the evening with a round of spooky stories. Sleeping all night in a tent is optional.

Trampoline Park A low-maintenance party that also gets your child’s wiggles out? Win-win. Head to the local trampoline park for the ultimate sky-high celebration. Kids can bounce around for hours, then enjoy pizza and cake after they’re all tuckered out.

Super Hero Extravaganza With new action-packed superhero movies hitting the big screen every few months, it’s easy to see why kids still love all things Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, the Incredibles, and more. To make the occasion ultra-special, buy or rent costumes of your children’s favorite characters. Guests can also get into the spirit by dressing up as their favorite hero or heroine. Pinterest is full of awesome themed snacks, like Hulk Jello Cups, Superman cupcakes, and Captain America pretzel “shields.” As for activities, have children change into swimsuits, hand them squirt guns, and host an epic superhero showdown. 

Art Party Budding artists will love a chance to express themselves with an art-themed celebration. Keep the activities informal by setting up art stations, providing protective smocks, and letting the kids go wild with different supplies. Crafting areas could include canvases and finger paints, sculpting clay, and glitter and glue. Colorful cupcakes are the perfect dessert for the occasion, and guests can take home goody bags containing crayons and stickers. 

Pirate Palooza Ahoy, mateys! A pirate party is unique and gender neutral—plus there are so many ways to make the occasion special. Party stores have plenty of cool pirate-themed invites available, like treasure maps or a message in a bottle. Pirate flags make the perfect decoration, along with overflowing “treasure box” centerpieces (think beaded necklaces and gold coins from the dollar store). Take the tots on an adventure-filled scavenger hunt or have a foam sword “fight,” then enjoy grub like Pirate’s Booty, “golden” chicken nuggets, Goldfish crackers, and fruit “sword” kabobs.  

Natalie Dal Pra is a freelance writer and mom of one.