Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs for only two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run about, talk and laugh with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, however many parties result in children being bored or bewildered. For example, hiring a magician-clown for two-year olds left most of the children terrified. Another example is a bowling party for four-year olds. The children had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!