Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, children will be commanded 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 quickly be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run about, play, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 definitely worn off. 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 having a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper list so you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!