Parties for kids have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t need 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. Children enjoy it 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 have these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of 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!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run around, play, talk and laugh 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 idea 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-list 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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!