Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids love it when predictable elements appear, 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 have the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, the kids will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, plus 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 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, 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the excitement had definitely 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. If you are hosting a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so 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!