The Happy Glamper is a family business. Eliza Rose (5) and Emmerson (2) often help their parents with tent setups for local parties.

As all parents know, life flies by with kids. Milestones are met, semesters come to a close and birthdays always seem to be right around the corner.

Celebrating these events are still hallmarks of childhood — even during a pandemic.

But slowing the spread of COVID-19 means recognizing these events will, yes, look a little different. To help with your 2021 party-planning needs, we’re here to offer smart guidelines, creative solutions and local options to make your next gathering one to remember.

ADH Guidelines

While the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) hasn’t issued official guidelines for kids’ birthday parties, we’ve compiled our state’s most commonly repeated recommendations for gathering safety smarts. Take these guidelines into account when planning your child’s next party.

• Limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people, preferably people from your immediate family.

If you gather with people outside of your household:

• Wear a mask.
• Observe social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from people outside of your immediate family).
• Avoid crowded areas.
• Wash your hands often.
• Eliminate self-service buffets and condiment stations.

Distanced Activities

Parents: there are plenty of options for real fun with a virtual party.

Take it easy by hosting a watch party through Teleparty, or stay active with a Keyfit Life Kids’ virtual program.

Create a magical moment with a video or virtual call from a Fancyful Parties character, or encourage science exploration with a Zoom party through the Museum of Discovery.

Budding artists can add a creative touch by leading a craft. Check out projects from local favorites like CALS or The Painted Pig.

Outdoor Options

Families should still follow all ADH guidelines for parties held outside, but gathering outdoors helps make social distancing — and burning energy — easier.

Alfresco Dining
You can still treat the birthday kid to their favorite food with an alfresco meal at one of Little Rock’s many family-friendly patios, outdoor dining rooms and food trucks.

Mini Golf
Mini golf is a hole-in-one when it comes to combining social distancing and a little friendly competition.

Amusement Parks
You don’t need to leave the metro to enjoy amusement park fun with North Little Rock’s Funland, nestled in Burns Park. This venue is perfect for parties from April-October.

Our cover shoot says it all! Combine the time-honored party fun of slumber parties with camping in one decadent package.

S'more please! The Happy Glamper's packages come with a S'mores Kit from Loblolly and a fire pit for delicious party fun.

Thanks to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program, Little Rock is home to excellent fishing for families. What a natural choice for a Natural State celebration.

Drive-In Movies
Back by popular demand, drive-in theaters are making a solid comeback in the age of social distancing. Check out the selection at the North Little Rock Drive-In and MP Outdoor Cinema for their weekly kid-geared screenings.

Scavenger Hunts
Outdoor parties can be as simple as sending kids on a scavenger hunt. Craft your list by season, look for flowers in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall. You can also take your search on the road and spot landmarks in one of Little Rock’s downtown sculpture gardens.

Drive-By Parties and Parades
And, of course, you can host a COVID-19 classic, the drive-by party. This parade of friends and family makes the birthday kid feel extra special and keeps guests safe. Enhance the event by decking out your yard. Try Little Rock favorites Yardazzles, Card My Yard and Just Peachy to make a jaw-dropping impression.

Food and Favors
If you are serving food at your event, skip the communal spread and think individually portioned and wrapped. We love Dempsey Bakery for any guests who have dietary restrictions. They have delicious options free of gluten, dairy, egg and sugar.