Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, 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 quickly be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for children to play, run around, laugh and talk 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 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement 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. When you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the 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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!