Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Working in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I want to give you some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids love it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party 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 are already being 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 quickly be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run about, laugh and talk with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. 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. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, 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 most. On the day have a mini run-list so that 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!
All the best!