Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids love it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many 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. The fact is, the kids are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run about, talk and laugh with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip may seem like a no-brainer, however I have attended many parties that 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide 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 will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini paper list 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!