Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for 2-3 hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every kind 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 require an event planner or a big budget to be a success. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children love it when predictable elements occur, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. What games to provide. 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. Remember, the kids are already being directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children 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. Factoring time for children to run around, play, 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 directive 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 kids had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting 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, listen to 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 get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!