Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 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 veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. Here are some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re 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 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!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, the kids will be commanded 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 easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to play, run around, talk and laugh with one another is golden. 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 I have attended many parties that 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!