Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. 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. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, the kids are already being 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 easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for the kids to run around, play, 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 suggestion 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a 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.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!