If someone had told me earlier this year that I would be writing a post on how to plan a virtual baby shower because of a viral outbreak, I probably would have thought that they were joking.
And yet, here we are!
With the coronavirus pandemic, mamas from all over the world have had to cancel any preexisting plans and are eagerly looking for the best virtual baby shower ideas that will follow the social distancing rules yet still be fun at the same time.
Luckily for you (and the rest of the world!) modern technology is so advanced that you can throw an amazing virtual shower with all your family and friends and still get to do most of the activities you were originally planning on doing.
From sending the perfect virtual baby shower invitation to the guest book, everything can be done online these days, you just got to know how to do it!
Of course, this will need a little bit of tweaking, which is why I’ve prepared plenty of fun ideas and useful tips (including baby shower games!) for you to consider as you make your virtual plans.
I know that canceling your traditional baby shower must have been a very difficult decision, and the best way to get over what could have been is to throw yourself into a new project, don’t you think?
Create a schedule
Even if you’re the type who doesn’t like to plan everything to a T, video calls can get pretty hectic, pretty fast.
This is why it’s important to decide how long the party is going to last, create a timetable of activities, and stick to the plan.
For example, you can set aside half an hour to chat and catch up at the beginning of the call, and then you can move onto the games you’ve prepared. If you’re planning on opening gifts during the shower as well, then you should factor that time into the schedule.
Make sure to leave enough time towards the end to thank everyone and let them know how much you appreciate them!
Sending an electronic “Thank You” note is also a lovely way to express your gratitude.
Pick a venue for your online baby shower
If your current job allows you the privilege of working from home, you’ve probably had dozens of video calls and online meetings by now!
Thankfully, the same kind of technology that allows your boss to hold a virtual meeting (even though it could have been just an email) will enable you to throw a baby shower.
Just like you need to pick a venue in the physical world, you also need to do so in the virtual world.
Since there are many video conferencing tools available, I’ll go over some of the most popular ones and what their advantages are.
But before we dive into this, I would like to make a small digression first.
As many of your guests will probably differ in age (and therefore their tech abilities) it’s always great to check in with some of your older relatives and ask which software they’re most comfortable using.
Alternatively, you can use Google Forms to put together a small poll and whichever tool gets the most votes, gets picked.
Now, let’s get to the tech!
1. Google Hangouts or Google Meet
These days, pretty much everyone is signed up for a Google account which means that they can take part in a Google Hangouts meeting.
But like many other platforms, Google has a limit on how many people can participate in a video conference at the same time.
With “regular” accounts (meaning Gmail), up to 10 people can video chat at once. But with a GSuite account, the limit is 25 participants.
If you think that’s too low, I’ve got some great news for you! For years, Google has had a premium meeting tool called Google Meet, and it has now made it free to all users.
The best part is, Meet allows up to 250 people to participate at once!
Although Google has put a 60-minute limit on video calls, this rule won’t be in force until September 30th, so you have plenty of time until then.
But no matter how many people are with you on the call, only 16 will be shown on the screen at a time, so keep this in mind.
Google Meet can be accessed through a smartphone app, or through a laptop or desktop computer, so it’s definitely a great option to consider, especially because it’s free (for the time being, at least).
Skype is another hugely popular video conferencing platform that’s available both as a mobile app and for your laptop or desktop computer.
It has a limit of 50 participants per video call, so you can throw a really giant party! But keep in mind that Skype has a fair usage policy when it comes to video calling.
This means that you can spend 4 hours in a video call at a time, but you can’t spend more than 10 hours video chatting per day.
Another really cool feature of Skype is that you can upload a custom background for your call, but in order for this to work, you will need the latest version installed on your computer. So make sure to update it if you haven’t already.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, everyone and their mother has been using Zoom to either have work meetings, stay in touch with family members or friends, or take their school classes.
In fact, if you have already been doing some Googling for a good video calling platform, I bet that Zoom was probably at the top of your results.
When it comes to the features of this platform, it has several user tiers that range from free users to premium subscriptions for large companies that need to have meetings with hundreds of employees at once.
The free plan only allows you to have video meetings for up to 40 minutes, so this is quite short for a virtual shower – unless you would really like to get it over with as quickly as possible!
If not, you can purchase a pro subscription that will allow you to have almost unlimited video calling (24 hours) with hundreds of participants.
It comes at a pretty reasonable price, too, so you won’t break the bank. Like Skype, Zoom also allows you to pick custom backgrounds for your call.
Plus, it even has a feature where it can touch up how you look, meaning that if anyone feels like the web camera isn’t hitting all of their best angles, they can click on this option and instantly look like they just came out of a beauty salon.
Zoom is also available on both computers and smartphones, but as it was mostly used in office settings until now, there’s a chance that not every one of your attendees will be 100 percent sure how to use it.
Apart from these three platforms, there are plenty of others you can use, such as Facetime, but this will only work if everyone has an Apple device.
Here’s another tip: Have a practice call with some of the guests prior to the shower, just so you can test out how the platform works (in case you haven’t used it before), and see if there are any bugs or issues you should be aware of beforehand.
After you settle on a platform, you can start working on what you want your virtual baby shower invite to look like.
What about the gifts?
The whole point of a baby shower is to shower the mom-to-be and her new baby with attention, love, and baby items such as onesies and other baby products.
Depending on how many guests are expected and whether you’re aiming for an intimate shower with a few loved ones or a big splash, you might decide to completely skip opening baby gifts altogether and leave that for later.
Then again, if you would still like to open gifts during your virtual baby shower, there are a few ways to do so.
For example, your guests could send the gifts to your house prior to the shower and you can open them on camera.
Alternatively, the guests can hold onto them and open them while you watch in real-time, and then send them over to your house later.
Virtual Baby Shower Games
The whole point of organizing any kind of party is to have fun! And fun can’t be had without games, right?
Just because the shower now has to be moved to a virtual venue, doesn’t mean that new moms can’t play games at their virtual party.
In fact, there are plenty of games that work perfectly well in this setting!
1. Psych! Outwit Your Friends
“Psych!” is a hilarious and super fun party game that has grown extremely popular during the coronavirus outbreak, as the individual players can play from anywhere, as long as they have the code to enter the host’s game.
To play, everyone needs to download the free app to their phone. Once you start the game, you need to share your unique code with your guests to join and the fun can begin!
You have a choice between many different decks, such as “Animals” or “Movie Bluff,” for example.
During the game, every player has to come up with a fake answer to a real question.
The more players you trick into picking your answer, as opposed to the correct one, the more points you get!
But hands down, my favorite deck is “And The Truth Comes Out” where you and your guests answer questions about each other.
For instance, I might get a question such as “What was the last thing Ivana looked up on Google?” and then everyone would have to come up with an answer.
Since the player with the funniest answer wins, all the players try really hard to come up with witty one-liners, which often results in everyone laughing themselves to tears.
It’s also a lovely bonding activity, as you can really see how well your family and friends know you!
If you decide that “Psych!” will be your virtual baby shower game, remember to come up with a backup game just in case, because many people have been playing it recently due to the lockdown, causing it to crash from time to time.
2. Guess the baby
This is another fun game that’s usually played at regular baby showers, but it can be tweaked to fit a virtual venue as well.
The point of the game is for every guest to send a picture of themselves when they were a kid or a baby and then everyone tries to guess who is who.
To adapt it to your online baby shower, you can ask the guests to send you their pictures via email and then you can upload them to a shared Google Drive folder that everyone will be able to access during the game.
Another great guessing game is baby shower jeopardy! All you need to do is prepare fun questions (on paper or upload them to Drive), have the answers ready and voila!
3. The price is right
I’ve played (and won!) “The price is right” at many baby showers and I think it can work just as well if you’re playing it on Zoom, for example. Just make sure that no one is cheating!
For this game, you need to put together a list of baby items (10 is a good number, but you can go over if you’d like) along with their prices.
Then, you can share the list (but not the prices) with your guests and they need to guess the price of each item.
Finally, the players need to add the prices of all the items together and share the total amount they got with everyone. The player who is the closest to the actual amount wins!
Obviously, parents will have an advantage over non-parents in this game, but it’s definitely a fun way to get the guests talking about how insanely expensive some baby products can be!
4. Famous babies and their moms
Apple, North, Kulture… These are all some of the very unique celebrity baby names!
And in this game, you can put together a list of famous moms and their kids and then ask your guests to match the right baby with the right mom.
Those who are more pop-culture savvy will definitely have an easier time with this game, but I guarantee it will create a lot of laughs, especially if some of your loved ones are completely clueless when it comes to celebrities!
With this game and “The price is right,” you can share the lists in different ways.
If you would like to keep it simple and hassle-free for the guests, you can read the list out to your guests and they can write it down on a piece of paper.
Lucky for you, we have our own version of Celebrity Baby Names (and two more baby shower games!) you can download if you head on over to Fun & Free Printable Baby Shower Games.
Another option is to share a Google document with everyone – you can make it as fun and creative as you would like!
Don’t forget the guest book
A guest book is a wonderful keepsake of your baby shower, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include it in your virtual shower!
While there are a number of websites that offer virtual guest books for a fee, I’m here to tell you how you can create your own at no extra cost.
One way is to create a Google Drive folder where you will invite all your guests to leave a special message for you and the baby – it can be a simple message, a picture, or even a video, so your guests can get as creative as they would like.
Another way is to ask your loved ones to put their message in writing (whether it be a letter or a small note) and send it to you via good old fashioned snail mail.
Later, you can glue all the messages in a cute scrapbook for your little one to have when they’re all grown up!
Getting the decorations right
Baby showers are the perfect opportunity to go all out with party decor – balloons, flowers, candles, you name it.
Luckily, a virtual baby shower still provides some room to decorate for the happy occasion.
Prior to the video call, pick a corner in your house or apartment where you will set up your laptop.
Make it a well-lit area so that everyone can see you clearly.
Then, blow up some colorful balloons, add flowers and lights to make your call background really special, and don’t forget to take a screenshot!
While it might be too much to ask your guests to do the same at their homes, there are still things to do to make the event feel special.
For example, if you use a video chatting platform that allows you to change the background, your guests can use baby-themed ones during their call.
Sending them a selection of your favorites is a good idea, too.
You will find that there are so many free backgrounds available online, it will almost be too difficult to choose!
Even though everyone will be celebrating at home, it won’t hurt to ask your guests to dress up for the party – at least from the waist up.
Besides, I’m sure most of us would appreciate having an excuse to get all glamorous, even if it’s for an online party!
To wrap up
I know that when you discovered you were going to become a mom, you probably never thought that you would be moving your baby shower to the online world!
Even though virtual baby showers are by no means a brand new concept, they weren’t exactly the norm prior to this year.
So, if you’re feeling a bit frustrated, that’s totally okay – you have a lot on your plate right now.
Before you send out your virtual baby shower invitations, it’s important to decide on several key factors, such as the video chat platform, games, gift-opening, and so on.
Afterward, you can focus on other details, such as getting the right decor and figuring out all the different Zoom backgrounds you want to use!
I hope you found my tips helpful – I’ve got my fingers crossed for you to have the most magical online baby shower yet!
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