Children’s parties 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 in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What games to provide. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer 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, children are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run about, play, talk and laugh 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, however 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 kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad 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’ll enjoy the 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!