Parties for children have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs for 2-3 hours. Working 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 a great variety of entertainment hired.
A child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, 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 a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it 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. The fact is, the kids will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run about, laugh and talk with each other 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, however 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 just a few bowls, the novelty 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. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with 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 get 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!