How To Host a Summer Birthday Party with Social Distancing

Kids can play with water guns at a birthday party while social distancing, image by ariesa66 at Pixabay by ariesa66
Kids can play with water guns, image by ariesa66 at Pixabay by ariesa66

The coronavirus has brought us many challenges, the most difficult of which is not being able to see our family and friends. In Ontario, we have moved into Stage 2 and we are allowed to have up to 10 people in our social bubble. This means that you could invite nine people over if you were planning on hosting a summer birthday party with social distancing. Your social bubble might include your sister, her husband, and their one child; your mom and dad; and your brother and his wife and their two kids. If you are planning a summer birthday party, be sure to hold it outside where the novel coronavirus is less likely to spread.

Kids can play with water guns at a birthday party while social distancing, image by ariesa66 at Pixabay by ariesa66
Kids can play with water guns, image by ariesa66 at Pixabay by ariesa66


When inviting your guests, ensure that your guests agree to wear a face mask at your party before they accept your invitation. You should have extra masks on hand for guests who may not have their own. To lighten the mood, you could purchase stickers from your local dollar store for your guests to apply to their masks.

Tables and Chairs for Social Distancing

If you have a large enough backyard, set up several sets of patio or card tables, use beautiful fabrics to cover chair and set them up at least two metres apart and have each family sit at each table.

That way, social distancing can be maintained between families. You could also set up a circle of chairs that are two metres apart where family members can talk, as long as they wear their masks.

Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Salad
Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Salad

Food and Drinks

At my uncle’s annual family barbecue, there is usually a large table set up in the backyard where everyone serves themselves buffet style. Nowadays, you want to avoid everyone congregating together at the buffet table. Here are a few suggestions to avoid this:

  1. Have each individual family go up to the buffet table at one time.
  2. Use disposable plates, cutlery, cups, napkins and straws and place enough of each item at each “household” table.
  3. Place beer, water, juice, and/or soft drinks in a large, ice-filled tub in your backyard or garage so that guests can individually help themselves to refreshments.
  4. Decide to have a potluck where each guest brings a side dish or salad with a cover. Check out this Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing. Designate one person to be in charge of putting the dishes and serving spoons on the backyard table to avoid several people touching the utensils and dishes. Your designated server should wear food-handler gloves.
  5. If you decide to have a barbecue, place a plate of tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles, as well as bowls of mustard, ketchup and mayo on each individual table in the backyard so that people don’t have to get these items at the buffet table.


  1. Guests will have to go inside to use your washroom. Make sure that you have liquid hand soap, paper towels, and Lysol wipes on your bathroom counter so that guests wash their hands thoroughly and don’t have to use your towels, which can spread germs. Actually, it’s probably best if you put your towels away so that guests aren’t tempted to use them.

Party Games

Trivial Pursuit

Some party games are easy to organize for social distancing. For instance, if you are playing a trivial pursuit type of guessing game, you can have cards with questions already placed on each household table.

Water Games

If young children will be attending, give each kid a water gun already filled with water so they can spray each other at a distance, preferably in a section of the backyard far away from the adults lol.


This is the year that giving an online gift card will be very much appreciated. You could also order a gift online to have it delivered to your recipient. Some ideas include gift certificates for meal delivery, books, clothes or beauty products. Avoid giving wrapped gifts that have to be opened and avoid giving cash this year.

With the pandemic, it is still possible to host a summer birthday party with social distancing. It will take a little more effort in the planning and implementation stages, but at least you’ll get to see your family and friends.



  1. Ay! What a full year it’s been and it’s just July. I rarely go out beyond my apartment complex courtyard and neighbourhood and have only met up with 1 friend for outdoor dining. NYC enters phase 3 on July 6 and indoor dining has been suspended indefinitely. Thing is, one doesn’t know the other bubbles the people you invite are/have been a part of.

    • I agree with you completely. Even if you have only 9 other people in your bubble, you don’t know how many people they have in their bubble! In Toronto, we’re not sure when we’re entering Phase 3 yet. Cheers, Lori

  2. This year is really a nightmare for all. My 2 neices had birthday’s during these lockdown days. Your ideas are great and truly kids would love it. We family members just gave gifts and played board games, cooked their favourite food and watched their favorite cartoon movies. No guests because we also had a curfew…

  3. Great tips on hosting a summer birthday party with social distancing! We have two kiddos with summer birthdays, with one to come in July. These ideas will be helpful for us. Thank you.

  4. Since the quarantine started in our area last March 16, we’ve had 6 family members who had lockdown birthdays. It was tough, can’t get what we needed to at least cook something special. We tried to make do with what we could get. No specialty cakes though. We just made a simple chocolate cake. No guests other than immediate family. We’ll just have to wait for next year to celebrate their birthdays the usual way.

  5. Omg I just threw a birthday party this weekend and it was so hard! I tried to keep people outside as much as possible, but the worst part was the communal bathroom! I had to keep bleaching in between each use!

  6. So tricky having gatherings right now so these are great tips. Especially everyone keeping their social distance, so important even if we want to get close,

  7. I love these ideas! My daughter and youngest son have their birthdays coming up in a few days and I’ll definitely keep these ideas in mind.

  8. There are some really useful ideas here for sure and with birthdays coming up is perfect x

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