Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s 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 children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy 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 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!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, children 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 quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. 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 directive may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. 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. If you are holding 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 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!