Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. 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. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly 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. Factoring time for children to run about, play, talk and laugh with one another 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 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 just a few bowls, the excitement 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. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that 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!
All the best!