Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I want to give you some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids love it when predictable elements occur, 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 these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may easily be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for children to run around, play, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. 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 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 several bowls, the novelty had absolutely 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. When you are putting on a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!