Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. 2-3 hours. Being in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
A children’s party doesn’t require 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. Kids love it when predictable elements occur, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide these three things, you have a party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable 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 structured games are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being 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 may quickly be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run about, play, laugh and talk with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This directive 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the excitement had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies 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 wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, 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 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!