Parties for children have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs for two-three hours. Working in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. 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 entertainment events 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.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly be overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to run about, play, 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 suggestion 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 a few bowls, the novelty had seriously worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad 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 will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!