Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Being in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every type 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. I want to give you some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party 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. The fact is, the kids will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, talk and laugh 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 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 definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet 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!
Best of luck!