Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Being in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many 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 add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for children to play, run around, 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 suggestion 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are putting on a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to 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 get 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!