Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Involved 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 a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I want to give you some great tips 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! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got 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. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can quickly be 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. Time for the kids to play, run around, 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 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. For a party with 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 a party, listen to 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 put the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!