Parties for children have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Working 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 a great variety of entertainment hired.
A children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you have a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable 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 entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being 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 quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for children to play, run about, talk and laugh with one another is valuable. 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 several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are putting on a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper 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!