Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games 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 quickly become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to run about, play, talk and laugh with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your 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 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!