Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I want to give you some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it 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, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having a 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 around, talk and laugh with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had definitely 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. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a 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 that 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!