Kid’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual 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 great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run about, 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, but 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. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as 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 the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!