Kid’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 for 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over fifteen 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 a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements occur, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you provide at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of options: Party games; hire an activity or entertainer or have it 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. The fact is, children are already being commanded 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 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. 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 idea 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after several bowls, the novelty had definitely 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 having a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. 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 paper list so that 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!