Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, and if they’re overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run about, 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 tip 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 kids 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 children too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are putting on 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. Try to Relax! When planning your 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 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!