Parties for kids 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 for only 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not 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 games to provide. There are so many 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!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to play, run about, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, 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 kids 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 kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the 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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!