Parties for children have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs for only 2-3 hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I want to give you some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids 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 provide these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are so many options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have it somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two structured games are more than enough. Remember, children are already being expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly be overwhelmed, and the party 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 play, run about, talk and laugh with one another is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This idea may seem like a no-brainer, but many parties 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 excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning a party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they will enjoy most. On the day have a mini paper list 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!