Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for 2-3 hours. Working in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run about, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that can have children feeling 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 absolutely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!