Kid’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 for only two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. Here are some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it 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, children will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly 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 top party essential. 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 -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive may seem like a no-brainer, but 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 several bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know 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 jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to 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-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.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!