Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable 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 wonderful. I want to give you some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children enjoy it 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 so many options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games 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, the kids may easily become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. 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 paper 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!
Best of luck!