Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t need 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. Children enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you have the basics of 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 commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the kids having a chance 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 each other 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, however 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 novelty had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies 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’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, 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’ll enjoy the 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!