Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. 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 kid’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run around, play, laugh and talk with each other 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 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 a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. 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. If you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a 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 you don’t forget anything, like when to get 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!