Kid’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids love it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least 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 the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
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.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, and the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Factoring time for children to play, run about, talk and laugh with each other is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea 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 several bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. And 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. When you are having a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s 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 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!