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 for 2-3 hours. Being in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What games to provide. There are literally thousands of 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 are already being expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring 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 directive may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 several bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children 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’s a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!