Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. Here are 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 appear, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 several bowls, the excitement had definitely 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 hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles 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 get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!