Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approx. two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you have a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two structured games are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for children to play, run around, talk and laugh with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And 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. When you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles 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 the most. On the day have a mini run-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!