Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. two-three hours. Working in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites 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 innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it 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, the kids are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having the chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run about, play, laugh and talk with each other is golden. 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 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 excitement had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that appeals, 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’ll enjoy 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.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!