WHEN you turn four, there's plenty to celebrate.
For little Alice Rees of Port Macquarie, nothing was going to stop her and her friends from marking the event - or missing out on cake.
Local resident Dr Emma Rees has set the bar high after holding a virtual fourth birthday for her daughter, Alice, on March 26.
Non-essential indoor gatherings are banned and members of the public are advised to apply social distancing of 1.5 metres as tough restrictions roll out amid the coronavirus pandemic.
READ MORE: Covid-19 cases on Mid North Coast rise to 16
The Port Macquarie medical director used her own experience with remote conferencing to create games including online musical statues, international pass-the-parcel and screens featuring relatives singing happy birthday.
"Obviously it wasn't how we had originally planned it to be. We had booked to have the party at Kids Crazy Maze originally. We had invited all of her (Columba Cottage) school friends to that and unfortunately had to cancel it," Dr Rees said.
"When we cancelled the original plan we thought we just can't put people at risk and we wouldn't ask people to do that.
"We then switched over to a family party in the house but family couldn't actually come because of the coronavirus restrictions. So we did it all online.
"We sent out an invite to join us on Zoom teleconferencing and we made a plan to sing happy birthday, play musical statues, play pass-the-parcel and blow out the birthday cake together."
The family organised relatives living overseas to go online at a confirmed time to say happy birthday and watch presents being opened.
"Alice knew that this wasn't the same as what her friends have had and it wasn't Kids Crazy Maze. But she really liked it and it was a special party for her with James, me and her in the house," Dr Rees said.
"Musical statues was quite fun because everyone was dancing randomly in front of a screen. Although you had to be quite honest whether you were moving when the music stopped.
"We asked Alice what she wanted to do as a birthday activity and she wanted to colour in Disney characters. So I emailed out Disney characters for everyone to colour in and show her on the screen.
"My mum is 73 and she wouldn't have been able to make it anyway. So her and I both wrapped a pass-the-parcel in the same wrapping paper and it looked like everyone was being handed the present online. Funnily enough Alice would often end up opening the final layer."
Dr Rees said parents will have to think up new ways of celebrating big occasions now that self-isolating is in effect.
"I think people will have to start thinking outside the box for birthdays and prior to this there has been sleepovers and parties which will need to be rethought. This feels a lot more personal," she said.
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