Parties for kids have come a long way in recent times due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Being in the kids party industry for over 15 years, I have seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a children’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Stick with the familiar. Kids enjoy it 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 have these three things, you have a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity 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, the kids will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you add entertainers, activities and games, children can easily become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Time for children to run around, play, laugh and talk 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, 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 just a few bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. Even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there’s a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles, face painting and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning your party, plan with your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy the most. On the day have a mini run-sheet 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!