Kid’s parties have come a long way in the last decade due to more options, more expense and more expectation placed on an event that runs approx. two-three hours. Being involved in the kids party industry for over fifteen years, I’ve seen every kind of party from the informal backyard gathering to a virtual carnival with a great variety of entertainment hired.
However, a kid’s party doesn’t require an event planner or a big budget to be wonderful. Here are some great tips to get the party started and the kids really enjoying themselves.
1. Keep it traditional. Children love it when predictable elements appear, and if they are overlooked, it won’t go unnoticed! Definites are: Food, birthday cake, and the all important Party Bag! If you have these three things, you’ve got the basics of party.
2. What to provide for the kids. There are innumerable 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!
One or two sessions of entertainment are more than enough. The fact is, children will be expected to eat now, cut the cake now, watch the gifts being opened now, etc etc.. When you add entertainers, activities and games, the kids may quickly be overwhelmed, and time 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 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 several bowls, the novelty had seriously 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. For a party for mixed ages and genders, there is a broad range of entertainment that will appeal, such as face-painting 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 the most. On the day have a mini paper list so 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!