Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children are already being commanded 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 the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to run about, play, 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 suggestion 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 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. If you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a 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 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!