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My daughter’s 5th birthday was last month. My husband and I wanted to make this one really special given the shitty circumstances that Covid has brought upon the whole world. She had such a wonderful 4th birthday party last year with all her friends from school, and this year she really wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese! She was so disappointed that she couldn’t have the birthday she wanted this year, but was so gracious and accepted the reason. “When I turn six and there are no germs going around I will have a BIG birthday party!” she said.
Covid has really screwed us all over. Actors have no work and birthday parties as we know them are non-existent.
BUT I have solved both problems!
If you are a mom looking for a fun birthday party idea, or an actor looking for a way to make some money during this difficult time, look no further!
MOMS – Below, I have a complete Zoom birthday party outline that will last on or around 30 minutes!
ACTORS – Use this party outline to create your own Zoom birthday party packages that you can sell on Fiverr. I recommend using a gig management site to keep everything on the up and up.
SIGN UP HERE for a FREE Quickstart Guide on HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS A BIRTHDAY PARTY PERFORMER ON ZOOM.
SO, Zoom party it is. But how to make it entertaining for kids? These months in virtual pre-school were both eye opening and inspiring. Watching her teachers interact with her class, I knew the kids needed to be engaged. As an actor, you lose the audience real quick if they have time to look anywhere else but the stage. I kept that in mind as I put together the birthday outline.
My daughter was INSISTENT that she did not want Anna or Elsa or Olaf or Moana at her party. She wanted a PUPPY. Dear lord, she’s too much like me, haha!
Singer-Actor Sarah Sutliff
I knew for sure that I did NOT want to be the Zoom birthday party performer. I’m on hiatus, AND I wanted to enjoy the party! After a desperate search on FB and beyond, a dear friend of mine recommended professional actor Sarah Sutliff, who ALSO has extensive experience as both a birthday party performer and in children’s theatre. PERFECT.
I sent Sarah a quick party outline (found below so go ahead and copy!), and let her work her magic. One thing about actors who perform for children, they truly and deeply love what they do, so they will do anything to make the experience as magical as can be.
Sarah and I took care of the logistics, so now it was time to send the invitations. EVITE. Easy. Luckily they had a lot of cute puppy themed invites for FREE! Call me old school, but EVITE has been around since I was in college, so it’s what I’m comfortable using. I can’t confirm when, but they have added a section where you can cut and paste a Zoom link for virtual gatherings!
Here’s the PARTY OUTLINE that I made.
Feel free to adapt it for your own party!
There are lots of online games to choose from. I chose BINGO (or as Sparky the Puppy called it, BARKO, lol clever!). We played it just once in the beginning, but looking back we had enough time to play it maybe 2 or 3 times. Good Housekeeping has a great list of Zoom appropriate games (some for kids, some not so just make sure!) that you could play or adapt for the littles.
Sparky read a lovely little book called Barkley by Syd Hoff and to encourage the kids to participate, every time the name “Barkley” was said, all the kids were instructed to bark! It was SO cute!
3. Sing a Song
Sparky taught all the kids a puppy themed call and response song, and the kids loved it! I could hear them all participating! That little chorus of tiny voices was too adorable!
After they finished singing, Sparky suggested they sing one last song, which of course was “Happy Birthday” during which I brought out the cake pops and candle. We had a real cake that we were saving for her actual birthday but for the purposes of the Zoom party, the cake pops would do. All the kids howled at the end!! Too cute, I could barf, LOL.
Things to keep in mind:
30 minutes can either be a long time to fill, OR can be too little. It is important to keep track of the time or hire a professional performer who can think on their feet just in case it goes faster than you think.
WILL YOU WANT A VIDEO RECORDING?
Zoom meetings are FREE up to 40 minutes, which is another reason you want to be on top of the time. Ideally you want to be singing “Happy Birthday” on or around the 30 minute mark to give enough time for a proper birthday party conclusion instead of getting cut off abruptly at the end of the free 40 minutes.
However, there is a good reason to pay for one month of Zoom. A month-to-month subscription to Zoom is $14.99, which includes the ability to RECORD! You cannot record Zoom meetings with the free version. I paid for a month-to-month subscription and then cancelled it right after the party was over. And I now have a recording of this very unique birthday party experience!
Here are more theme ideas!
- Princess Party
- Zoo Party
- Superhero Party
- Circus Party
- Sports Party
- Dinosaur Party
- Rainbow Party
- Adventure Party
- Pirate Party
- Fairy Party
- Mermaid Party
- Train Party
Now I can’t end this blog post without singing the praise of actor and singer Sarah Sutliff who was the magical genius behind Sparky the Puppy! Sarah nailed this job down with less than a week’s notice! She communicated with me throughout the week as needed but mostly, I let her have creative control within the outline I provided. She delivered and more! The kids loved her, and she was hilarious and adorable and all the kids were engaged and enthralled.
Her information is on the flier, so definitely consider her for all your virtual birthday party (and in the future, LIVE birthday party) needs!