Kid’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs for 2-3 hours. Being in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be successful. I have some sure-fire tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with tradition. Kids love it 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’ve got 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 the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
One or two entertainment events are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly be overwhelmed, and the party 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 the kids to run around, play, talk and laugh with each other is valuable. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and what’s more , it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This tip 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 several bowls, the novelty had absolutely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to realise 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 appeals, such as face-painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the 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 most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!