We’ve gotten pretty good at creating virtual versions of celebrations over the last year. And we’ve learned that a virtual baby shower can be its own kind of fun: Distant friends and family can participate online, caravans of cars can parade by with gifts and well-wishes, and we can gather with a few close friends on patios and porches.
Now that we know what works, we’ve gathered ideas for baby shower games, gifts and decorations, along with a few tips for hosting a baby shower that’s fun for everyone—whether it’s virtual or in person.
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First decision: What kind of shower are you hosting? If you’re not comfortable with getting together indoors, chat with the parents-to-be about other options. There are benefits to each kind:
- Online: As much as we love gathering in person, there’s something sweet about including everyone in a video conference call. A college friend who moved cross-country and the great aunt who lives in an assisted living community can join neighbors, friends and coworkers in wishing the new family well.
- Car parades: If you’re craving in-person contact with some built-in distance, pick a time to have participants drive by the baby-to-be’s house in decorated cars. It’s a choice if guests live close by and want to drop off gifts—and especially fun for kiddos about to become older siblings.
- Outdoor parties: If you’ve got access to an outside space with plenty of room for guests to sit and stay at least six feet apart, you can take advantage of warm, sunny weather to celebrate together.
Gathering the guests for a baby shower hasn’t changed—you can send paper invitations or go the digital route. Here are a few tips for taking advantage of your invitations to build excitement for the shower and get guests ready for games and activities.
- Include the basics: Day and date and time (with the time zone, if you’re gathering online), online link (if applicable) or address (for car parades and in-person showers), who’s hosting, who can answer technical questions, information about the family (parents’ and siblings’ names, baby’s due date, gender and name—if they’ve been announced), and where they’re registered.
- Add some helpful info about the baby shower: For online gatherings, include simple step-by-step instructions and the “call for help” name and number. Provide links to a map and let people know where to meet up, if you want your car parade to be a continuous line of well-wishers, or give them a longer window of time to swing by. Remind guests to wear masks for outdoor parties—and let them know what kind of safety guidelines will be in place when they get there.
- Create an agenda: Tell guests what you’re doing, when and for how long. And remember: Virtual baby showers are typically shorter than the old-school in-person versions, topping out at about 90 minutes.
A little bit of preparation helps you make the most of your time together. Here are three of our favorite ways to involve guests in the shower.
Download our “Once Upon a Good Time” PDF—a story about Baby’s future created by adding random words from the guests.
- Fill in the blanks. The host will need a printed copy for this activity. To get started, read out the prompts below the blanks in order—don’t read the story yet. (You can skip the first one and just fill in the baby-to-be’s last name.) Start by asking for three nouns—any person, place or thing—and add them to the first three blanks labeled noun. (You’ll repeat the first two as noted.) Continue down the page, writing different words in the labeled blanks. Tip: The host can ask guests to shout out the words and write them down or ask guests to type words in the chat and then pick and choose favorites.
- Read the story out loud. Once all the blanks are filled in, the host reads it to the group—with plenty of emotion and dramatic pauses.
Want as many versions of the story as you have guests? Include the PDF with your online invite or print it and tuck it into your paper invitation. Encourage guests to fill the blanks without reading the story first. They can return their copy by emailing the PDF, printing it and returning it to the hostess, or add it to their shower gifts.
Of course we have more baby shower game ideas.
Download our free Prompts for Party Guests to use as conversation starters when the shower is in full swing. You can use these a few different ways. For example:
- Host a Q&A with the guests for the benefit of the new family. The host can ask the questions—in any order, at any time—and let guests give their answers. Let the new mom ask follow-up questions as needed.
- Answer questions in the chat. For large showers, the host can paste questions in the chat and let guests reply. Afterwards, the host (or digital helper) can copy and paste all the answers in a document to save and send to the guest of honor.
- Send questions with the invitation. Send 1-3 different questions to each guest and ask them to answer in a card or letter to the new mom, write on a 3×5 card and tuck in the gift, or send to the host to compile. (Tip: Punch a hole in the top left corner of each card and put them on a binder ring to present.)
For this one, you’ll need as many notecards as you have guests (or you can ask guests to provide their own cards). To prepare, you’ll write “Read when,” followed by common new-parent situations, on each envelope (or assign a topic to each guest in their invitation).
Here are some to get you started:
- Open when you need a laugh
- Open when the baby is sleeping
- Open when you feel alone
- Open when you’re up at 3 a.m.
- Open when it seems like Baby will never stop crying
- Open when you need a pep talk
- Open when you have so many questions
- Open when you’re so very, very tired
- Open when you know you’ve got this
- Open when you’ve had a dreamy day
- Open after a “Baby’s First”
- Open after a perfectly ordinary day
- Open when you leave Baby with a sitter for the first time
- Ask each guest to write an encouraging note to the new mom, dad or both parents based on their “open when” situation.
- Provide instructions for guests to return the envelopes with cards inside to you—or tuck them inside their gifts or drop them off at an outdoor shower or car parade.
- If you’re gathering the notecards, tie them up with twine or a ribbon or put them in a pretty box, and give them to the mom-to-be. Tell her (or both parents) to open as needed.
Now it’s time to make sure your guest of honor has everything she needs for the shower. That might include:
- Dropping off or arranging delivery of mocktails and a meal, snacks or treats for Mom and/or her family on the day of the party.
- Mailing or delivering anything activity-related you’ve prepared in advance.
- Delivering or setting up a backdrop for her online shower, comfy seating for the car parade, or decorations for the outdoor festivities.
DIY shower decoration
A simple wall hanging is the perfect backdrop for a virtual shower or decoration for a front porch or patio. This one is easy to make with just a few simple supplies—you’ve probably got almost everything you need at home.
- Wooden dowel, copper pipe or pretty stick (2-3’ long)
- Paperboard (several cereal or cracker boxes will work just fine)
- Wrapping paper (we used a colorful watercolor dot pattern, buttery yellow and a roll of kraft paper—you can pick two or three gift wrap designs that fit your colors or theme, or use acrylic paint)
- Jute or cotton twine
- Spray adhesive
- Scissors or a craft knife
- Hole punch
- Tape (optional)
- Carefully cut the boxes apart and press them flat.
- Divide the boxes into three piles. Use spray adhesive to cover each pile of the paperboard with a different wrapping paper design. (Use the side of a bone folder, a brayer or burnisher, or the edge of a credit card to smooth the paper and push out bubbles.) Tips: You can leave one stack as is—paperboard and kraft paper aren’t much different. Or you can add acrylic paint to the mix. The main thing is to create three different looks.
- Use scissors or a craft knife to cut different shapes in a variety of sizes out of the paperboard. Try circles and ovals (cut some of them in half), squares, triangles, arches, skinny rectangles and diamonds. (Tip: Check out our photos for size and scale.)
- Cut an odd number of pieces of twine, as long or longer than the dowel/pipe/pretty stick. Tie one end of each to the dowel, spacing the pieces evenly. (Tip: Easiest way to do this—tie one piece to each end and one in the middle, and then center the others between those.)
- Lay out the paperboard shapes on the twine, alternating patterns and shapes, until you like the way it looks. (See our photo for inspiration.)
- Punch holes in the top and bottom of each shape, and string them onto the twine.
- If they slide around, tape the twine to the back of each shape.
- Display your creation, either by resting it on two spaced-out nails or tacks or by tying a piece of twine to each end as a hanger.
Tip: You could drop the dowel and use all the same tricks to make garlands for vertical hanging or horizontal draping—just make the shapes a little smaller.
We love a good care package or gift basket—it’s the perfect way to make a gift feel super personal. You can put one together yourself or gather gifts with others. Here’s how we put ours together:
- Start with a useful container. It can be a cute bin, laundry basket, even a handy crate or storage box.
- Add soft stuff for padding and filler. Think diapers, swaddlers, bath towels or blankets. And, of course, a stuffed animal for the little one.
- Include memory-keepers. Help her hold on to the first year with a photo album or frame, baby card keeper and new baby ornament.
- Finish it off with cards to keep her connected. Top the basket off with the notecards from shower guests and a box of cute thank-you notes.
- Pretty it up with accessories. Tie on a colorful ribbon, fill in empty spots with tissue paper and tuck in some flowers.