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 2-3 hours. Being in the children’s party industry for over 15 years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a veritable carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
But don’t be daunted! A children’s party doesn’t require a big budget or an event planner to be wonderful. I have some sure-fire pointers to get the party started and the kids having a ball.
1. Keep it traditional. Children love 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 provide at least these three things, you have a party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable options: Party games; hire an entertainer or activity or have the party somewhere that will entertain the kids for you. Rule of thumb: DON’T OVER-DO IT!
Just one or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. Remember, children are already being commanded to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. If you throw in entertainers, activities and games, the kids may easily become overwhelmed, and time whizzes by without the children having the chance to actually play with abandonment.
3. Play time: This element should be the number one party essential. Allowing time for the kids to play, run around, talk and laugh 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 directive 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 kids 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 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, listen to your child and use your instincts – you know what they’ll enjoy most. On the day have a mini run-sheet so that you don’t forget anything, like when to put 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!