Children’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 for 2-3 hours. Being involved in the children’s party industry for over fifteen years, I have 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. I have some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children enjoy it when predictable elements are present, and if they are overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got a party.
2. Things for the kids to do. There are literally thousands of 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!
Just one or two entertainment events are more than enough. Remember, children will be directed to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, children can quickly become overwhelmed, plus the party whizzes by without the children 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 play, run around, laugh and talk 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, but many parties 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 just a few bowls, the excitement had absolutely worn off. And even Pass-the-Parcel can cause distress when played with children who are too young to know they haven’t missed out, they just have to wait their turn. If you are hosting a party with mixed ages and genders, there’s a broad range of entertainment that appeals, such as jumping castles and balloon-twisting.
5. Try to Relax! When planning a 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 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!