Children’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for two-three hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I want to give you 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 occur, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable 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!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, children will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run around, play, laugh and talk with one another is valuable. 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper 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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!