Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for 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 veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. 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. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games 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, children may quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, 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 tip 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for 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 run-list so that 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!
Best of luck!