Kid’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. Here are some great pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy 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 have these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable 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, the kids will be commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to run around, 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 suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, however many parties 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 several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children 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’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles 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 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!