Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for over fifteen 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 kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements appear, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you have the basics of 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 sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be directed 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 quickly be overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run about, talk and laugh with each other 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 a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children 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 is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so 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!