Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for two-three hours. Involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children enjoy it when predictable elements occur, 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 at least these three things, you’ve got 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 the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games 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 throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids may easily become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run about, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. 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, however 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement had seriously 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. When 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. 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 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!
Best of luck!