Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for only two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy 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 these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity 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 will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly become overwhelmed, plus time whizzes by without the kids having a chance 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, talk and laugh with one another 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, but 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 novelty had absolutely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-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!