Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. Here are some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children 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 have these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many 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 entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring 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 suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that 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!