Parties for children 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 for only 2-3 hours. Involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every kind 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 a success. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
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 provide at least 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 it 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. Remember, children are already being directed 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 become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run about, laugh and talk 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 suggestion 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to 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-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!
Best of luck!