Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for two-three hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children love 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 have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being commanded 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, plus the party whizzes by without the children 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 about, 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 tip may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 several bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. 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. If you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as 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’ll enjoy 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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!