Parties for kids have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for only two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, the kids will be commanded 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 can easily be overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to play, run about, 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 tip 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. And 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 appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will 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.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!