HILL CENTER AT THE OLD NAVAL HOSPITALProgram Manager Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital…
My 3-year-old was very disappointed to hear her Spirit themed birthday party was canceled. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t celebrate with all of her friends and it broke my heart. Like so many of us, Covid-19 has impacted not only our everyday living but the things we love to celebrate such as weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, etc. So, I had to get creative and figure out a way to make my little one feel celebrated and special.
I teamed up with our Program Partner, Mad Science of DC, to host a virtual birthday party and this is what it looked like!
We worked with Mad Science to select the best virtual show for our age group. We could select from 3 choices: Pre-K Shows, Grades K-2 OR 3-6, or Grades K-6 which vary in time and meeting size. Since our age group ranged from 2-6 years, we decided to go with the Pre-K 123s, which was 35 minutes and allowed up to 25 people on a Zoom call.
After creating our guest list, we sent out an Evite which allows you to create virtual event invitations. The information requested is the same (event title & type, host name, date and time, etc.). The main difference is the option to add the virtual event link. This gives guests direct access into the event. We also included detailed instructions, Zoom link, password and information on the theme in the event notes.
We made sure to decorate our space with balloons, a birthday poster and some party music to make the environment festive and energetic. Everyone got dressed (yes, from head to toe) in their best party clothes which made my daughter super excited! She kept talking about going to the party!
We sat back and allowed Dr. T from Mad Science to lead the party. He had a laboratory display and backdrop which was a great visual for the kids. Guest participation was highly encouraged, but since Dr.T had control over the volume, we could always hear what was being said. He had dual screens set-up so we were able to see the experiments from different viewpoints. We were able to celebrate some of the other kids’ birthdays and Mad Science sent us a video of the entire event!
Overall, this was the easiest celebration that I have thrown with amazing results. My daughter was ecstatic to see and talk to her friends, all of the parents were happy to have the distraction for 35 minutes and the kids were engaged for a majority of the time. Hands down I believe Mad Science did a great job converting their party package into a virtual one.
My final thoughts on virtual parties; they are a great alternative at the moment if you are looking to celebrate and connect with family and friends. We were able to include long distance relatives who otherwise wouldn’t have made it to the in-person party. Not to mention the clean-up was minimal. What the virtual party didn’t capture were the emotions of physically connecting with our friends and loved ones in-person. We missed being able to greet our guests with open arms or our daughter being able to play with her friends. Plus, science is such a hands-on experience that the kids would have LOVED this in-person. Definitely something to keep in mind for our next birthday celebration!
Do you have a birthday coming up? Tag us @HillCenterDC on Instagram or send us an email at SpecialEvents@HillCenterDC.org for a special birthday shout out!