Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable 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 really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children love 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 provide at least these three things, you have a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it 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. Remember, the kids will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. 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 directive may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that 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 excitement had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, 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 you don’t forget anything, like when to get 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!