Parties for children have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have 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 it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
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, children can easily be overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring 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 directive 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 absolutely 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. For a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide 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-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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!