Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expectations and more expense placed on an annual event that runs approximately 2-3 hours. Involved in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every type of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with everything imaginable hired.
However, a child’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be a success. I have some great pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids enjoy it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Must-haves are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least these three things, you have the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are literally thousands of 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!
One or two sessions of entertainment 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 throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids can easily be overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the kids having a chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the top party essential. Allowing time for the kids to run about, play, talk and laugh with one another is golden. 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 many parties 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 several bowls, the novelty had definitely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with kiddies who are too young to realise they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. When you are having a party with mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, such as jumping castles 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-list so that you don’t forget anything, like when to get the party pies in the oven or to hand out the party bags.
Then, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
All the best!