Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to 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’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of 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 structured games are more than enough. The fact is, the kids 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 may easily become overwhelmed, and 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 run around, play, talk and laugh with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties can have children feeling 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. 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 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, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!