Parties for kids have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs for 2-3 hours. Being 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 everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to run about, play, talk and laugh with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party with 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, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!