Parties for children have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approx. two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games 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.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can easily become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for the kids to run around, play, laugh and talk with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, 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 a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And 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 hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. 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 run-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!