Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs for only two-three hours. Working in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A kid’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Children enjoy it when predictable elements are present, 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 the basics of party.
2. What games to provide. There are so many 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 structured games are more than enough. Remember, the kids are already being commanded 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, and the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to run about, play, laugh and talk with each other 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, 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 children had no interest in being competitive and after just a few bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. 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. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as 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 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!