Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. two-three hours. Being in the kids party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. 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. Remember, 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 may easily become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for children to run around, play, talk and laugh 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 directive may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that 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 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 appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper 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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!