Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I want to give you some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children love it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many 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 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 add entertainers, activities and games, children can easily become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for children to run about, 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 idea 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 several bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know 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 broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini paper list so that 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!