Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for only two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children love it when predictable elements occur, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you have 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!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, children are already being 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 can easily become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to play, run about, talk and laugh with one another 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, however I have attended many parties that 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement 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. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with 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 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!