Children’s parties have come a long way in recent times with more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approximately two-three hours. Working 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 everything imaginable hired.
A child’s party doesn’t need a big budget or an event planner to be successful. Here are some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Kids feel comfortable when predictable elements occur, and if they’re overlooked, it will not go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have at least 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 it 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, the kids are already being 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, and time whizzes by without the children having time to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Time for the kids to play, run around, 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 idea may seem like a no-brainer, but 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 seriously worn off. 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 holding a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a wide range of entertainment that will appeal, 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’ll enjoy 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.
And most importantly, enjoy YOURSELF too…after all -it’s a party!
Best of luck!