Social distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 pandemic may have canceled kids’ birthday parties, but parents are finding new ways to take the celebrations online. While video chat apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts or FaceTime are an option for gathering kids together in the virtual space, there’s still the challenge of what to do once there. A few companies are working to solve this challenge for parents who are looking for ideas to make their child’s birthday special in the time of COVID-19.
One business that’s been heavily impacted by government-mandated retail closures is Sky Zone, the indoor trampoline park that’s home to dozens of kids’ birthday parties per day. The company operates Sky Zone parks in more than 160 locations across the U.S. and Canada, mainly to franchisees, which have now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
To help give back to families who still want a party while staying at home, Sky Zone has shifted its current focus to virtual birthday parties. The move not only offers parents the benefit of the hassle-free party planning that a typical events space provides, it also gives Sky Zone a way to keep employees working during the business closures.
The party, however, is not a new source to replace the business’s lost revenue or a way to make payroll. Instead, Sky Zone is offering to host the party for free to parents for up to 10 guests. Parents will have the option to tip the party host at the end of the event to support Sky Zone team members.
To request a party, parents fill out an online form with their information, then wait to hear from the Sky Zone representative who will schedule the party and create a digital invitation with a link to join the party room. Parents forward the digital invite to their friends and family however they choose. Then, on the day of the event, everyone joins the virtual party, which is hosted via Zoom.
The party itself is a 20 to 25-minute experience with the party host leading the kids through games and activities to get kids moving, like Simon Says, Dance Battles, Trivia and even teaching the kids a TikTok dance. They’ll also lead the group in singing Happy Birthday to the Guest of Honor while parents bring in the cake.
The offering was first launched on March 26, 2020 and already Sky Zone has hosted 30 parties and has more than 100 others scheduled.
The benefit of this party over a DIY group chat is that the staff hosting the party are already used to working with kids. Plus, it’s an easy way for overworked parents to get the party handled when they don’t have time to organize more time-consuming events, like a drive-by birthday parade, in-home scavenger hunt or the other alternative birthday party options some parents have turned to in this time of crisis.
via Sarah Perez for techcrunch.com