Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children feel comfortable 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’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 it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may easily become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to run about, play, laugh and talk with one another 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 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies 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, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so you don’t forget anything, like when to put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!