Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Working in the children’s 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.
A child’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements occur, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many 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 entertainment events 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, the kids may quickly be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run about, talk and laugh with each other 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 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely 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. When you are putting on a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper 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!