Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, children are already being expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run about, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, however 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. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide 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’ll 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!