Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade with more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately two-three hours. Being in the children’s party industry for 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. Here are some sure-fire pointers 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 won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you’ve got at least these three things, you’ve got a 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. The Golden Rule is: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children are already being expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children may easily become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having a chance to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, laugh and talk with one another 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, but 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 excitement had seriously 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. When you are holding a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Relax! When planning your party, plan with 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 lastly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!