Parties for kids 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 kids 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 children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I want to give you some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements appear, 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’ve got the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. 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. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just 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 throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can easily become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, however many parties 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the novelty 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. When you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. 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-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!