Parties for children 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 2-3 hours. Working in the kids 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.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you have a party.
2. What games to provide. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children 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, the kids may quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring 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 idea 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 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 who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini paper list so you don’t forget anything, like when to get 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!