(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness?
BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART
For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)
Quarantine Birthday Party Ideas – Ways to Celebrate Virtually
By Donna Boock
About a month ago, I went out like everybody else and stocked up on supplies to get us through a few weeks in quarantine. Canned soup – check. Frozen pizza – check. Extra chocolate – check and double check. We were ready, we thought. However, I never imagined we would still be quarantining more than a month later. And it certainly didn’t occur to me that we might be celebrating birthdays in quarantine.
But both of my kids were born in April, and as it came onto the horizon, and no end to social distancing was in sight, it became clear we’d be home alone celebrating. It was time to get ‘virtually’ creative.
My son Matt’s birthday was first on the calendar. I wanted to find a way to make this birthday spent in isolation feel somehow less isolated. I came up with the Flatt Matt project. If you’re familiar with Flat Stanley, this idea springboards from that. I found a picture of Matt, blew it up and removed the background using Canva.com, then printed and cut out copies (If the people you are sending to have printers, you could just text or email as well). Then I wrote a letter to friends and family who I thought would have fun with the idea and asked them to make a short video using the Flatt Matt action figure as I called it, and either tell a favorite memory, or what they can’t wait to do with him when this is over or simply sing Happy Birthday. I asked them to please text it to him on his birthday. I was in awe of all of the creativity people put into it, and he loved getting all those fun videos as they trickled in throughout the day. It was like an all-day video celebration!
Riley, my daughter, was up next. Having been recently thrust into online school, I knew all of her friends would have Zoom downloaded so we planned a Zoom meeting birthday celebration. I masked up, grabbed my hand sanitizer and dashed in & out of the grocery store to buy individual cupcakes to drop off to her local friends and family (doorstep delivery only, with a text to let them know their cupcakes were outside). Before we lit the candles and sang, we asked everybody to share one favorite story or memory of Riley. She loved that her friends got to share in her special day, and I loved the stories they shared. You can even download certain apps that allow you to interact and play games through Zoom!
Some other ideas on my brainstorming list were:
- Camping out in the backyard (Pitch a tent indoors if it’s too cold where you live)
- Video game “party” using a system that allows kids to interact virtually & schedule a time with parents so kids all can game together
- Zoom, Skype or Houseparty call (with cupcakes or pizza delivery optional)
- Create an Escape Room at home (search on Pinterest) or reserve a virtual one with friends here https://lokeysescaperooms.com/
So, if you or someone you love has a birthday coming up, and you are looking for ways to make it special even if you can’t be together, I hope these ideas inspire you and allow the distance to melt away.
The whole class is going on a field trip to the zoo!
But too bad for classroom rivals Kinzie and Ben. Neither of them can go thanks to getting—and sharing—pink eye. To make it even worse, Ben’s mom can’t take off from work, which means Ben has to come to Kinzie’s house for the day. And there’s no time to make a Kinvention to stop that.
Kinzie and Ben decide if they can’t go on the field trip, maybe they can create their own backyard zoo instead. What could possibly go wrong with that great idea?
Available on Amazon and other online retailers.
I am a children’s book author originally from the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. There I lived on a lovely lake where there were no fish, bears or snakes. (wink, wink)
I now live in Venice, Florida which is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World and is named for the abundance of sharks’ teeth found on the shores. But that doesn’t scare me at all. Why should it? The sharks here obviously don’t have any teeth! As an extra boost of luck, there are no alligators or snakes here either. (wink, wink)
In case you can’t tell, I write funny fiction. That means I make up a lot of things and people laugh at me – often.