The excitement of your upcoming birthday as a kid is a feeling many of us will be able to remember – the balloons, the friends, the cake, the party bags!
So finding out that birthday party can no longer go ahead is gutting, to say the least. But parents are coming up with creative ways to make sure their kids still get a day to remember.
We asked HuffPost UK readers to share photos of their birthdays in lockdown – and they delivered.
The Digger Treasure Hunt
Mum Becky George, from Harpenden, says her son Daniel was due to have a disco party this year for his fifth birthday. “It was going to be his first whole class party and he’d been counting down the sleeps,” she says. “When I had to cancel it, he was so disappointed.”
Instead, George wrote him a digger treasure trail around the streets. He had to follow the map, find picture clues, read information from signs, count how many sand bags he could see, and spot solar panels on particular houses.
“The route deliberately took him past several houses having building works, as Daniel loves diggers,” she says.
She then asked if his friends who lived along the route would put a picture of a digger in their windows for him to spot. “Daniel was delighted to spot 100 diggers, many beautifully drawn by kids! People also hung birthday banners and balloons, chatted to him through open windows and left him gifts and cards it their gardens for him to collect. One garden even played ‘Happy Birthday Daniel’ from a hidden sound system!”
The trail took 90 minutes to complete. “Daniel thought it was his best birthday ever,” she says.
The Grandparents’ Surprise
Will Hobson, from Sheffield, says it was his niece’s birthday this week – she turned four. As she couldn’t see her grandparents, they surprised her with a banner at the end of the drive and had a distant tea party.
The Sixth Birthday Street Parade
Mum Lisa Wood says it was her daughter Sienna’s sixth birthday last week. “I was sad she couldn’t have her planned party or any friends over for tea, so I put a message on the street WhatsApp to see if anyone would come out to sing to her.”
Everyone pulled through. Lisa, from Cheshire, said the street came out in full force. “All ages from the young to the old and everyone obeyed the social distancing,” she says. “It was very emotional and she loved it. We have a great community spirit.”
Turning One In Lockdown
Joanna Drake had her daughter’s first birthday last week. “It was really weird but tried to find the positives in it: we were all together when usually daddy would have been at work and brother Ted would be at school,” she tells HuffPost UK.
The family had a picnic in the garden in the sunshine and spaced presents out throughout the day. “A bittersweet moment when my parents came and stood at the end of the drive to sing happy birthday and left presents for us to collect later,” she adds. “But Zara was happy all day and loved the fuss.”
The FaceTime Fiesta
Hannah O Donoghue Hobbs, from Manchester, celebrated her daughter’s third birthday in lockdown. “I was really worried about it, having to cancel her party and not see friends or family,” she says, “but she declared herself the birthday boss and the sun was shining so we had a lovely day!”
The family also had a picnic outside and they bought lots of garden toys for her, had a full FaceTime party with 10 of their family members and received lots of video messages and gifts on their doorstep.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.