Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, the kids will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to play, run about, laugh and talk with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive may seem like a no-brainer, however I have attended many parties that 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had absolutely 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. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so 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!
Best of luck!