Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I want to give you some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children enjoy it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable 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 structured games are more than enough. Remember, children are already being 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 quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This suggestion 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting 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. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-list so 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!
Best of luck!