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 only two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I want to give you some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
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 have these three things, you have a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable 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 sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, children 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 can easily become 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 play, run around, 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 suggestion 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!