Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an annual event that runs approx. two-three 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 veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’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 really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Children feel comfortable when predictable elements appear, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are so many 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, children are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, children may quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Factoring time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with one another is golden. It suits children of all ages and capabilities, and -, it’s free!
4. Age-appropriate entertainment. This suggestion may seem like a no-brainer, but I have attended many parties that 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 a few bowls, the excitement had definitely worn off. And 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. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide 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 will enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that 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!