Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy it when predictable elements occur, 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 a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one 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 directive may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the novelty had absolutely 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. When you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad 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 the 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!