Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, 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’ve got the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. 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!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to run around, play, talk and laugh 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 I have attended many parties that 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!