A person holding a slice of birthday cake while chatting with other people through their laptop.

Making birthdays special in social distancing

social scienceKarilyn Robinson, Marketing & Public Relations SpecialistJun 12, 2020

Spring and summer birthdays can be a bummer when we’re following social distancing guidelines. Below are five ideas to make sure your celebrations are safe but still special!

1. Skip the box, add the science of baking!
Make a cake from scratch instead of buying a ready-made cake or a mix. There are recipes from beginner to expert all over the internet, and you can use ratio and proportion math skills to scale the recipe up or down depending on how many people are in your house. Use food coloring to mix new colors, like chartreuse or magenta. If you want to learn even more about the chemistry involved in baking, the American Chemical Society has great resources here.

2. Science, live!
Send out the instructions for an activity and do them at the same time over a video calling app while sharing your observations with each other. You could also have your guests complete the activity ahead of time and present their finished products to compare, science-fair style. Browse the activities at smm.org/learn, or try this set of related activities from our education staff.

3. Who’s got talent?
Instead of gifts, ask your guests to bring something to share in a digital talent show. Sing a song, juggle, play an instrument, do an impression, perform an optical illusion, let your creativity guide you! Practice or learn new audio/visual media skills to record the show and share with your guests. Bonus points for adding in music, title screens, or transitions!

4. Yard cards, from the car.
If your friends are nearby, ask them to put their birthday cards up as yard signs! Drive or walk by and take pictures of your cards while eating a piece of your homemade cake (just don’t walk with a lit birthday candle!).

5. Say cheese and click.
Even if you aren’t in the same room, your guests can still pose for a picture together! Take a screenshot of everyone’s smiling faces. You could even send everyone a copy as a thank-you for attending your party, or add the photo to your talent show video.