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 approx. two-three hours. Being involved 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 everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be a success. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, 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. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, children will be 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, plus time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, 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 several bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. 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. When you are putting on a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so you don’t forget anything, like when to put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!