Kid’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some great pointers 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 provide at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being 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 become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to run about, play, laugh and talk with each other is golden. 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, but many parties 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 several bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And 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 for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. 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-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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!