Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over fifteen 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 need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites 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 literally thousands of 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 structured games are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may easily become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run about, 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 suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, 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 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!