Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children 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 have at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, children are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing 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, 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 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 know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are putting on 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. Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the 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!
All the best!